The new Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures will come into force in April this year and with it comes a lot more focus on using mediation to resolve matters of dispute.  This means we are likely to see much more need for mediation in all areas of business, as well as family matters.

Mediation has been used in the workplace more and more often in the last few years, however, has not taken off as much as had been expected.  The new focus that the new Acas code is putting on mediation is likely to change all that and HR departments everywhere will be looking to bear this in mind when potential personality clashes between employees might arise.

It involves using a neutral third party to mediate between two parties in a dispute. Both parties must be willing to take part.  Although the new Acas code does not demand that mediation be used, the code puts great emphasis on the company intervening as early as possible and informally where appropriate.  Mediation is best used as early as possible and, although HR departments can be good at intervening, they are never seen as neutral because they represent the interests of an employer. An employed mediator, however, is neutral and is trained skilfully to help individuals to forget their own interests and focus instead on an intended goal and how the two parties can best achieve that goal.