Mediation is a process by which people who are in conflict can be helped to communicate with each other about what is important for them and how to make decisions about resolving their dispute. Mediators provide a supportive atmosphere and method of talking to one another, to assist in sorting out the issues, coming up with acceptable solutions and making mutually satisfactory agreements.
Part C2 outlines the general procedure of mediation that will be followed by the ABF.
The people involved in a formal complaint (the Complainant and the Respondent) may work out their own resolution of the complaint, or seek the assistance of a neutral third person or a mediator.
Mediation may occur either before or after an investigation of the complaint.
Mediation (getting those involved to come to a joint agreement about how the complaint should be resolved) will only be recommended:
· after the Complainant and Respondent have had their chance to tell their version of events to the Chief Executive Officer on their own; and
· the Chief Executive Officer does not believe that any of the allegations warrant any form of disciplinary action; (Proven serious allegations will not be mediated no matter what the Complainant desires.); and
· mediation looks like it will work (ie, the versions given by the Complainant and the Respondent tally, or almost tally and / or at the very least, it looks as though it will be possible for each party to understand the other party’s point of view).
Mediation will not be recommended if:
· the respondent has a completely different version of events and they won’t deviate from these;
· the Complainant or the Respondent is unwilling to attempt mediation; or
· due to the nature of the complaint, the relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent and any other relevant factors, the complaint is not suitable for mediation.
If mediation is chosen to try and resolve the complaint, the Chief Executive Officer will, in consultation with the Complainant and the Respondent, arrange for a mediator to mediate the complaint.
The Chief Executive Officer will notify the Respondent that a formal complaint has been made, provide them with details of the complaint and notify them the ABF has decided to refer the matter to mediation to resolve the complaint.
The mediator’s role is to assist the Complainant and the Respondent reach an agreement on how to resolve the problem. The mediator, in consultation with the Complainant and the Respondent, will choose the procedures to be followed during the mediation. At a minimum, an agenda of issues for discussion will be prepared by the mediator.
The mediation will be conducted confidentially and without prejudice to the rights of the Complainant and the Respondent to pursue an alternative process if the complaint is not resolved.
At the end of a successful mediation, the mediator will prepare a document that sets out the agreement reached between the Complainant and the Respondent and it will be signed by them as their agreement.
If the formal complaint is not resolved by mediation, the Complainant may:
· write to the Chief Executive Officer to request that he / she reconsider the complaint in accordance with Step 5 Part C1; or
· approach an external agency, such as an anti-discrimination commission.