Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Mediator

Impartiality is the fundamental requirement of a mediator; whose role consists of resolving a conflict between two parties who disagree. Their role is not to take sides but to reach a fair conclusion that both parties are happy with. Mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) involve much more than appears on the surface so we’ve put together an outline of a typical day in the life of a mediator to show what happens behind the scenes.

A Typical Day as a Mediator

For a mediator working in the home improvement sector, their typical day begins early at 8.30 am and their daily schedule will usually include the following activities:

  • Setting realistic expectations – if a consumer has been left disadvantaged, their first point of call is often asking for compensation. Although this might provide an instant benefit to the consumer, it is not always the most appropriate solution. A mediator needs to find out the details from both parties and dig deeper to find out what the real problem is, not just what would provide instant gratification.
  • Communicating with opposing parties – communication is key in mediation and ultimately what the service is based upon. Mediators will spend many hours per day speaking with consumers that have made a complaint and the trader they are complaining about. Often a trader might not realise the stress that they have caused one of their customers and so mediators can communicate about the complaint calmly and factually.
  • Investigation – mediators need to investigate the claims being made to ensure that they fully understand the situation the consumer and the tradesperson are in so that they can begin the mediation process courteously, professionally and above all, quickly.
  • Resolving – the purpose of mediation is to resolve conflict and agree on a resolution with both parties and therefore a mediator will spend a lot of time reaching the right resolution. This is arguably one of the most satisfying parts of the role of a mediator, as they are often able to present a resolution that will satisfy both parties and eradicate the stress and strong emotions they may have been feeling before and during the process.

A Human Approach

Much like in other job roles, incorporating a human element into your work remains an important element. Although mediation isn’t based on relationship building between the mediator and the separate parties, it does help those involved to know they are being listened to, heard and respected in a human manner. If mediators approached conflicts robotically, mediation wouldn’t be as successful as it is.

A human element in conflict helps to create a safe environment for those involved and allows them to feel at ease, knowing that their complaint will be handled fairly and with compassion. Approaches like these are what help to create a speedy and successful resolution.

The proof is in the pudding – QASSS’s recent statistics boast a 98.4% complaint resolution rate with these being resolved in a matter of 3.59 days. [1]

QASSS’s Mediators

The mediation team at QASSS is made up of three dispute resolution officers who work hard to reach a fair resolution for all parties involved. They are a reliable, friendly and positive team. When asked what they love the most about being a mediator:

“The resolution stage is my favourite. Both parties can move on with their lives and forget about the issues that once caused them a huge burden. We never stop until we resolve their complaints (unless they go to the Ombudsman) but resolving them ourselves really is a great feeling.” – Cathryn Wolfenden, Dispute Resolution Officer.

“When you work in mediation, every day brings a new and exciting challenge. I love the satisfaction that I feel when I have resolved a complaint. It makes me ecstatic and want to do a little dance around the office!” – Tracy Dilworth, Dispute Resolution Officer.

“Resolving complaints is so rewarding because you know that you have lifted that huge burden from someone, allowing them to move forward with their life. We know that every case we receive is resolvable, so we aim to instil our passion and positivity into both parties and give them the peace of mind knowing that there is no stone left unturned.” – Charlotte Pilkington, Dispute Resolution Manager.

Find out more

If you want to find out more about mediation or QASSS’s expert mediators, please get in touch by calling us on 0330 335 3354 or by filling out our contact form.

 

[1] Based on data from July 2019 – September 2019 for the DGCOS, HIES and HICS consumer protection schemes.

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Back to Basics with ADR

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a service that is used to resolve disputes between consumers and tradesmen, preventing the need to go to court.

When undertaking a home improvement project, the last thing an installer and homeowner wants to think about is what to do if something goes wrong.

Here’s a typical scenario, looking at it from both sides.

First off, put yourself in an installer’s shoes;

  • You’ve scheduled in approximately 12 weeks for a conservatory job.
  • Planned in a lot of time and resources for the project.
  • Conservatory project is completed and you’re happy with the final product.
  • Within days, weeks or months, you find out that your customer is unhappy.
  • The customer wants money to rectify what they are unhappy with and compensation.
  • As an installer, your reputation both off and online, profit and potentially the company’s stability is now on the line.

Now, put yourself in a homeowner’s shoes;

  • Thought about your conservatory for months or years.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time saving up or are now paying a sizeable amount a month out in finance.
  • You’re finally ready to make the big splash to improve your home living and have given up to a 25% deposit.
  • You’ve scheduled in approximately 12 weeks to have your conservatory built, your home will be a mess, and the upheaval is usually stressful.
  • Conservatory project is complete.
  • Within days, weeks or months, you find a problem with the conservatory or it simply just isn’t what you expected.
  • You now want to seek justice as you realise how much it has cost you and you’re not happy with the result.
  • The installer disagrees and is happy with the job.

So, where do both parties go from here? Each party wants to avoid costly court proceedings and save time and resources and that’s exactly where ADR comes in.

What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a complaint handling service. The service helps the consumer and installer resolve a dispute outside of court. ADR is impartial and looks to find a fair resolution to the dispute and agrees this with both parties.

Three advantages of QASSS ADR mediation services

1. It’s Financially Advantageous

QASSS resolve 98.4% [1] of complaints within the mediation process, thus preventing the need for any court proceedings and hefty legal fees.

2. It’s Fast

Court cases are notorious for being long-winded and can often take months before a final decision is made. The ADR service provided by QASSS cuts down lengthy delays. The average closure time for disputes is only 3.59 days [1], compared to the UK average ADR resolution of 80 days (CTSI ADR Report, 2018). That’s 3.59 days from the receipt of the complaint to reaching a resolution between both parties, saving everyone a lot of time, money and stress.

3. It’s Fair

ADR is impartial and looks for a solution that satisfies both parties. Mediators are completely neutral and trained to see and hear both sides of the dispute. They look for the fairest and most reasonable outcome and propose that situation to both parties. Negotiations can take place if either party disagrees, but mediators will offer several options that are beneficial for all involved.

The risks in using an ADR mediation service

There are some risks to consider when using ADR, including:

  • There is the chance that ADR will be unsuccessful, albeit looking at QASSS’ resolution success rates, the chances are slim. However, should mediation prove unsuccessful, the complainant has the option to refer the complaint to the Ombudsman for a decision to be made.
  • A reluctant opponent. Just as you and the opposing party may fail to come to an agreement together without mediation, there is also the possibility that the opposing party is not willing to try mediation at all.

The ADR team at QASSS

Our Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) are friendly and approachable. They have many years’ experience in successfully resolving numerous disputes. They are trained to listen and to provide a fair helping hand to both installers and consumers.

The team also works closely with companies to provide one-to-one support and industry-wide advice, helping to improve the way services are delivered and complaints are handled.
If you’d like to find more about our ADR services, call our specialist team on 0330 335 3354. They are always there to help, even if you just want a bit of advice.

[1] Based on data from July 2019 – September 2019 for the DGCOS, HIES, and HICS consumer protection schemes.

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Busting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Myths

Despite Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) being an important consideration when undertaking a home improvement project, many people have never heard of it or misunderstand how it can help. That’s why there are plenty of myths surrounding ADR. But don’t panic, using ADR won’t break the bank nor is it just arbitration. Knowing the facts will help you feel more positive about using Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Myth #1: ADR is Arbitration

Fact: Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. There are three common types of ADR which include mediation, conciliation, and arbitration.

So, what is Arbitration and what is ADR?

Arbitration is a process where a dispute is brought before a third party (an arbitrator) for resolution. The arbitrator hears the evidence and then makes a decision.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a procedure for settling disputes between two parties without litigation.

Myth #2: ADR is costly

Fact: ADR is a much quicker process than taking a dispute to court, instantly meaning that there are fewer costs. Consumer protection schemes such as The Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), The Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES) and Home Improvement Consumer Protection Scheme (HICS) offer ADR free of charge to customers that are using one of the schemes’ members.

For Finance Lenders, Insurers and Manufacturers, QASSS offers bespoke ADR packages depending on their needs. To enquire about our industry-leading ADR services, contact our team.

Myth #3: Fair and negotiated outcomes can be reached without a mediator

Fact: Oftentimes, those involved in a dispute fail to view the situation objectively. Mediators are trained to factually assess the dispute and resolve the dispute with an outcome that satisfies both parties. Mediators do not have full control of the outcome and therefore enable the parties to reach a mutually agreed and fair outcome together.

Myth #4: Mediation is a waste of time and delays the settlement of a case

Fact: The time taken to reach a resolution is one of the largest benefits of mediation. Each company has different average resolution times, so it’s important to inquire about this before choosing a mediator to handle your dispute/s.

For example, QASSS resolves disputes in an average of 3.59 days [1] whereas the UK average ADR resolution time is currently 80 days. (CTSI ADR Report, 2018).

For more information on ADR and the services we can help with, please contact us today: 0330 335 3354 or email us on info@qasss.co.uk

 [1] An average time from the DGCOS, HIES & HICS Schemes dated July 2019 – September 2019.

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