At the recent Civil Mediation Council (CMC) annual conference, we tried something very different. The conference was opened up to all fields of mediation in the UK, all mediators, interested organisations, as well as the government and the public.

Across all fields of mediation, a strong common theme emerged – that there is a big cultural shift taking place around the use of mediation. For so long, the culture of litigation has been deeply ingrained in work, as in society. Now, however, something has clearly changed. It was so heartening to hear stories across all walks of life – the NHS, as the UK’s largest employer, was one of several examples – where resolution of disputes through mediation is increasingly sanctioned as a first resort, an obvious first step and an instinctive reflex.

Of course, mediation still needs to be used selectively and appropriately in some cases …Acas recently revealed that bullying and harassment in the workplace is costing employers up to £18bn per year and impacts on workplace morale and productivity among nearly 75% of workers.  How would you handle sensitive complaints of this nature? We have another CMC conference on June 28th to help you explore the options when bullying and harassment becomes a concern.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions