On 21 June 2012 the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced that Consensio, a member of the Civil Mediation Council (CMC), will conduct training in mediation for employees from a group of 24 small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambridge and Manchester. 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.

It is anticipated that the mediation pilot will help resolve workplace disputes at the earliest possible opportunity, before they reach the employment tribunal stage. 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 pilots will run for 12 months and, if successful, the Government will consider introducing them into other areas of England, Scotland and Wales.

The Government response to the ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ consultation can be found at http://www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/resolving-workplace-disputes.