Most operators would, as part of your Complaints management or Dispute resolution policy, have the referral to a mediator as a step in your organisations process.
Seeking the support of a mediator can often assist to diffuse or resolve a complaint or dispute that can simply not be resolved by the previous steps of the process.
Regardless of whether the issue is between the operator and resident or between two different resident parties’, mediation can be a very positive and extremely beneficial path to explore.
However, many Village professionals see the referral to a mediator as a failure in their complaint management or dispute resolution process. In my own experience it’s quite the opposite; I have found mediation can often save time, provide clarity, obtain a faster resolution, be a positive experience and strengthen the relationship between the parties.
Community mediation services are free, confidential, and an impartial service, provided to support community members to resolve conflict.
Last month in our Village Management professional development program we welcomed guest speaker Ippei Okazaki, Community Mediator, from the Uniting Communities Law Centre to discuss with our participants the role of the mediator and what to expect.
“mediation as a process in which an impartial third party facilitates communication, negotiation and promotes voluntary decision-making by the parties” to reach agreement and often resolve the dispute”.
It typically does require the willingness of both parties to attend; however the mediator can often assist if one party is not immediately agreeable.
Essentially the mediator provides an environment where both parties can voice their concerns, work on solutions together and walk away with an agreement to move forward.
If you find yourself as a Village professional not able to move forward with a particular complaint, then consider the role of a meditator to assist in resolving the issue. Particularly if the complaint is based on differing opinions, values or perceptions, personal prejudices, loss or fear and/or misunderstandings.
Every state has a Community Mediation service that can be found by contacting:
- Community Justice Centre (NSW)
- Dispute Resolution Branch (Qld)
- Conflict Solvers (ACT)
- Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria
- Uniting Communities Law Centre (SA)
- Community Justice Centre (NT)
- Citizens Advice Bureau (WA)