How effective is mediation?
We are often asked this question by people who are thinking of using our services, either as clients (wanting help with a dispute that they are involved in) or as referrers (agencies referring other people to us for help).
The simple answer is "it works more often than not", but as always the full picture is much more complicated. And unfortunately there is very little empirical research on the effectiveness of community mediation in practice, though there is a helpful study of the implementation of community mediation in Scotland, and a much more limited review of its use in noise disputes between tenants in England.
Although the question is complex, it is still possible to provide some clear factual answers about own own casework. In the most recent financial year, 2009-10, we took on 90 new cases, and closed 98 old ones. In 24 of these cases one of the parties was unwilling to work with us to find solutions.
Of the remaining 74 cases, 72% (53 cases) had a positive outcome of some kind, ranging from full agreement to cases where one of the parties moved away. These 53 cases involved at least 170 people, including many children and young people, and 12 were specifically about family conflicts. We believe these figures indicate that mediation (at least the kind we practice) does work.
How to refer a dispute
You can contact us by phone or in person if you would like our help with a dispute of any kind, whether it's with a neighbour, or between family members, or within an organisation.
If you are referring a dispute on behalf of a housing association or similar agency, you are welcome to contact us by phone on 020 8552 2050 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also wish to complete and send us the attached agency referral form.