On this page you can find out about the community mediation services we provide for neighbours and residents experiencing difficulties in their community. (If you are looking for information about our mediation services for businesses and employers, these are set out on our Workplace Mediation page. )
Community mediation is a way of resolving disputes between people who live in the same area or neighbourhood. Disputes may involve issues such as noise, communication breakdown, anti-social behaviour, pets, boundary problems and lifestyle differences.
Mediation is not about deciding who is right or wrong, or what should or should not have happened in the past. The aim is to support people to communicate safely to find a way of improving things from now on.
There are four important things you need to know about mediation:
- It is Voluntary. There is no pressure to agree to mediation and you can opt out at any time
- It is Confidential. We do not share information about you, or what you do, with anyone else. The only exception to this is if we feel that someone may be at risk of harm.
- It is Impartial. Mediators to not take sides. They support both sides equally to reach a resolution.
- No advice is given. Mediators do not tell you what they think you should do. They support you and the other person involved to find a way forward that works for both sides.
How it works
This is how the process of mediation works in normal times – and how we hope it will again once the COVID-19 crisis is over (details on how we are operating during the crisis are set out further down the page under heading COVID-19 Arrangements) :
- Firstly, we talk on the phone with each of the people in the dispute to explain the mediation process and to see if they would like to have an individual meeting with mediators.
- We then organise individual meetings with each person or household. Our mediators work in pairs a will listen to what has been happening for each person. This is so they can understand how the situation has been affecting people. The mediators will explain possible next steps in mediation and support everyone to decide whether to take part.
- If both sides agree, we arrange a joint mediation in a neutral place. At the meeting, some ground rules for the conversation are agreed. Then each person is given space to explain what they have been experiencing and feeling. After this, the mediators will support everyone involved to have a discussion to see if they can find a way forward that they can both accept.
- Over 80% of these meetings lead to an agreement that helps improve the situation.
At the top of the page there is a short video about the process of Community Mediation. This was made before the COVID-19 crisis and so does not reflect how we are working right now.
Mediation is our preferred approach to supporting neighbours in dispute. For it to work, the people on each side of the dispute need to be willing to engage in the process. Sometimes this is not the case. If it is not possible in your situation, we will talk you through other ways in which we may be able to help.
At present, please be aware that we are unable to provide face-to-face services due to the COVID-19 crisis. We are able to offer telephone support and in some cases mediation support via video link. Please be aware that our service is very busy at the moment, so there will be a wait before we can provide support in new cases.
Cost of our services and Self-referrals
At present we are funded by Brighton and Hove and Lewes District Councils, Clarion and Southern Housing Associations and the Police to provide a free service to people that they refer to us for mediation. If you have been in contact with one of these organisations, you can ask them to refer you case to us.
If this does not apply to you, we do accept self-referrals. At present we are asking people who are considering making a self-referral, to contact us first (see link to the left) to arrange a telephone call to discuss their situation. There may be a delay of up to 10 days before we are able to get back to you. This is because we are experiencing a high number of referrals and are adapting our services to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
For people making self-referrals, our commitment is to provide an accessible service and never to refuse service to individuals for financial reasons. Below is an outline of our suggested donation for the different stages of mediation.
Costs of Self-Referrals
|Assessment of case and engagement with parties||Individual meetings and telephone support||Joint mediation meetings or further individual meetings|
Unwaged or on benefits
|£0.00 to £10.00||£10.00 to £30.00||£30.00 to £75.00|
|Low waged or part time employment||£10.00 to £20.00||£30.00 to £75.00||
£75.00 to £125.00
|Full time employment||£20.00 to £50.00||£75.00 to £200.00||
£125.00 to £250.00