Consensio, a member of the Civil Mediation Council, is to develop and provide a comprehensive mediation training package for a selected group of SMEs in both Cambridge and Manchester over the coming months.
It was announced earlier this year that these are the first regions where the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will fund mediation training for employees from a group of 24 SMEs to set up pilot networks of trained mediators. These mediators will be available to provide mediation to other organisations in their respective network. It is anticipated that this will help resolve workplace disputes, at the earliest possible opportunity, before they reach the employment tribunal stage.
Employment Relations Minister Norman Lamb said
“We know that sometimes workplace disputes are unavoidable and that those involved see no alternative to the employment tribunal to resolve the issue. We want to promote alternative resolution options, and we are committed to encouraging parties to find other ways of resolving their problems. The use of mediation is one such way and this is why in January we announced the BIS Regional Mediation initiative.
“This initiative will give small businesses in Manchester and Cambridge the opportunity to experience mediation and discover the benefits it can bring for the first time. I am pleased to announce that Consensio will work with BIS to take forward this work, delivering accredited workplace mediation training to the members of each network.”
Co-founder of Consensio, Anna Shields said:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Government to deliver these pioneering pilot schemes. This will be an intensive programme across two commercially significant regions. We will work hand-in-hand with BIS from the outset on all aspects of the scheme to ensure this is a successful pilot.”
Businesses can get involved in the pilot by attending one of the awareness raising seminars in Manchester on 26 June (Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel) and Cambridge on 2 July (Møller Centre).
The intention to pilot two regional mediation networks was published in the Government response to the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation in November 2011. The pilots will run for 12 months and, if successful, the Government will consider introducing them into other areas of England, Scotland and Wales.
**Notes to editors:
**1. The Government response to the ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ consultation can be found at [http://www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/resolving-workplace-disputes](http://www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/resolving-workplace-disputes). The ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ consultation was launched on the 27 January and closed on 20 April 2011.
Please contact Nicola Cullen (email@example.com) for more information on the awareness raising seminars.
Based on Local Enterprise Partnership and Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, BIS has determined that both Manchester and Cambridge have a suitable concentration of SMEs and comparable levels of economic activity against their pre-defined control regions, to support the pilot networks.
Responses to the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation suggested that the use of workplace mediation is growing, but at a slow pace. A significant proportion of respondents said they don’t use, rarely use or have never experienced mediation.
The 24 businesses in each region will be identified and selected later in 2012, once the mediation training contract has been awarded.
There were 218,000 tribunal claims in 2010-11, a rise of 44% since 2008-09, with each business spending nearly £4,000 per claim on average defending itself. There is an additional average cost of a £1,900 to the taxpayer per claim.
Business owners need to access business information quickly and easily, and a radically improved www.businesslink.gov.uk website is providing online business help and information, tailored for each user. On the advice side, we have launched a new national mentoring network - www.mentorsme.co.uk - which provides a single, online portal to allow those with a business, or thinking of starting a business, to get useful, practical advice from people who have done it and succeeded before.
BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See [http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom](http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom) for more information.**
Notes to Editors
BIS Press Office
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
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