The Mediation Service

A service for all students and staff and members of the public who are connected to the University who want to resolve disagreement informally. The service is also available for groups or teams seeking a collaborative, inclusive framework for problem solving issues.

The Mediation Service is registered as a fully accredited training provider by Scottish Mediation. We train mediators from both within the university and external organisations.

What is Mediation?

Video transcript

>> REBECCA: Hello, I am Rebecca Swarbrick, Project Officer of the Mediation Service and I’m going to introduce the Mediation Service and look at situations when it might be useful to you.

The Mediation Service provides space, time and support to people within the University community, to transform difficult relationships.  The mediation process aims to help participants engage in conversations that could be too problematic to hold constructively without a trained, impartial mediator. It is confidential and quite separate from other university processes. We work with groups and with people experiencing one to one conflict.

There are 27 Mediators throughout the University. They are a diverse group including 19 PG students. All have completed training accredited by Scottish Mediation and adhere to their code of practice.

Conflict is inevitable and disagreement is something everyone has to deal with. We all have experience of using negotiating skills in our lives., I expect we can think of times when we had to navigate opposing views, manage a limited number of resources, or communicate disappointing messages.

David Liddle, author of Managing Conflict, divides conflict into Dysfunctional conflict when differences become personalised and wellbeing and working together is negatively affected… and functional conflict, which is useful for uncovering new approaches and understanding (Liddle, 2017) Conflict can be destructive, but it can also be a driving force for finding solutions and positive change.

Mediation is a new service, launched in November 2020. It is an independent, impartial, informal service for everyone.  You can be reassured that notes from mediation will not appear on student records.  Within the limits of the law, everything discussed throughout the mediation is confidential. It is an additional option to existing formal processes which can still be invoked if a mutually agreeable outcome is not found, although the Mediators themselves do not participate in any subsequent formal processes. The beauty of Mediation is that it is the only process where those in conflict get to decide how to resolve the issues.  

Mediation usually has 2 stages- we meet each participant separately, to listen to their individual perspectives and consider what might be gained from a joint meeting.  The aims of the joint meeting are to open dialogue, for everyone to listen to understand the different perspectives, arrive at a joint understanding of the problem, explore all possible options and to seek a mutually agreeable outcome.  

Mediation cannot succeed if it is used to try to silence a less powerful party or achieve a temporary peace by suppressing someone’s desire for justice. Mediation needs participants to leave their hierarchical status at the door so that we can have a sincere and honest conversation human to human.  

The Mediation Service is available for a variety of disagreements and concerns, including those between peers or colleagues, disputes within or between teams, concerns about allocation or distribution of resources, and concerns about actions or inactions of the University.

Mediation is not appropriate for alleged criminal activities, such as gender-based violence, or for addressing breaches of Health and Safety when dangerous working practices are alleged.

It can be hard to talk about being trapped within a conflict, but it is forward thinking people, committed to building resilience that will chose to acknowledge the reality they are in and look to find constructive solutions so that they can learn more about themselves and others and seek positive win-win outcomes.

Please get in touch if you would like a confidential conversation about a situation, even if you’re unsure if mediation would be right at this time, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to learn more about conflict resolution and the role of mediation, we provide a variety or workshops and courses across the university. Find out more and book your place by searching “conflict” on PDMS. Thanks for listening.


Mediation helps people to address their differences and disagreements. It might be a work relationship, or a disagreement over a decision or strategy. Whatever it is, mediation helps people to talk collaboratively.

Mediation is a confidential, impartial and voluntary process in which trained mediators help people in dispute work out an agreement.

Benefits of Mediation

  • Resolution can often be achieved in a relatively short time frame.
  • Mediation seeks to understand what people want and need and looks for any common ground and shared interests.
  • Options are explored and agreements are developed together.
  • Mediation builds dialogue between people to help to resolve disputes, conflicts and complaints.
  • Mediators do not impose a judgement or favour sides.

Key Aspects of Mediation

Confidential

Within the limits of the law, everything discussed throughout the mediation is kept private.

The Mediation Service operates independently and is separate to any other University service or procedure. In line with other mediation services, The Mediation Service does not store notes. Notes made during sessions will be destroyed.

The mediation process is without prejudice, i.e. the details of the mediation cannot be used in any future procedures (for example, a grievance or harassment case).

Impartial and Voluntary

Mediators will not mediate in situations if their previous involvement indicates there may be a conflict of interest. The Mediation Service will find another mediator.

If you have concerns regarding the allocated mediator, please contact the Mediation Service who will be responsive.

If you do not want to take part in mediation, there is no obligation to do so and no mediation will take place.

Respectful and Collaborative

Mediators recognize that disputes and conflicts can be challenging.

Mediators promote respectful and considerate approaches throughout the process.

Mediation actively encourage participants to work together to identify, agree and implement a shared solution.

Mediation gives staff and students access to a fair and dignified approach for managing conflict.