“When the Acas code came into effect, we implemented a small scale internal mediation function at M&S. Nine of us qualified as mediators with Acas at first. When we wanted to enlarge the team, we felt using TCM was a lot more cost effective. Also we couldn’t tweak the programme with Acas, it’s just a standard course.
We spoke to the Arcadia group who had used TCM and were very positive about them. It’s one of those marketplaces where there’s quite a lot of people that provide mediation, so a recommendation is always positive – and getting a recommendation from Arcadia was a very good thing. And at the CIPD conference two years ago the TCM stand stood out – it was upbeat, positive, engaging, I got to chat to the guys there – their enthusiasm for mediation was clear, and to my mind they are in it for the right reasons. They’ve got a lot of experience and a real passion for it.
We sent through about 15 people for 2-3 days of training. They then had the option of doing the coursework afterwards to get their qualification. All of our team chose to do that in their own time. It was very practical – the TCM trainer was really able to bring one-to-one mediation to life. There was a really pragmatic approach to the way the course was delivered and its content – it was always a two-way discussion.
Whereas before we felt mediation was very much for a conflict between two individuals, we’ve also now tried it in other circumstances, for example when somebody has raised a claim against the company and we think it can be resolved. We try and use it as an early, informal resolution to issues across the whole business of 75,000 employees.”