What is Mediation?

Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes by enabling people to make their own decisions about how to move forward. It is a flexible process and can be used in a wide variety of situations.


In the Third Sector it can be used when disputes have arisen or there are relationship difficulties between board members, committee members, employees or volunteers. It can also be useful in resolving some of the difficult and sensitive issues that arise through partnership, collaborative working and mergers.


Mediation involves an independent third party, the mediator, assisting people to have a discussion to help them find a solution. The mediator helps people work out and express what their issues are and then consider what the options are for moving forward. These options are then discussed and used to work out an agreement.


What are the benefits of mediation?



  • helps people to solve problems that they are facing
  • is confidential, unbiased and voluntary
  • encourages early resolution of disagreements
  • puts the people involved in control of the outcome
  • is less formal than grievance and complaints procedures or employment tribunals
  • is less stressful
  • can be cheaper
  • can resolve disputes quicker
  • shows willingness to resolve disputes amicably

Is mediation successful?


Yes – most mediations are successful in reaching agreements. The parties are in control of finding a solution and this makes it more likely that agreements will be adhered to and that ongoing relationships can continue and develop. People are more likely to stick to agreements made in mediation than when decisions are decided more formally or imposed. 


How much does mediation cost?


The costs of mediation vary and depend on the type of mediation involved, the type of dispute and who is providing the mediation. Scottish Mediation, in partnership with ACOSVO, has arranged for special mediation rates to be offered to most organisations in the Third Sector.


Charity or voluntary organisation with an income up to £50,000

Free for up to one day’s mediation

Charity or voluntary organisation with income between £50,000 and £250,000

£300 (plus VAT if applicable) for up to one day’s mediation

All other Third Sector organisations

£100 per hour (plus VAT if applicable)


In addition any accommodation or mediator’s travel expenses will be agreed in advance and charged. Fees are payable regardless of the outcome of the mediation.   

The length of time the mediation will take is likely to depend on the complexity of the dispute. Before you agree to go ahead, a mediator will be able to give you a more accurate idea of time and costs for the mediation.


How do I arrange a mediation or find out more?

Please click here for some FAQs about Mediation

Please see below for some examples of third sector mediation case studies


Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Case Study 3

Case Study 4

Case Study 5

Case Study 6


Call the Scottish Mediation Helpline on 0131 556 8118

Or see their website at