Mediation Service Procedures

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HIISTORIC DOCUMENT - this Procedure was replaced by the Advisory Panel Procedure on 3rd June 2022.

We recognise that working in physical isolation to each other, due to the nature of our online community, sometimes produces some difficult situations. The Mediation Service has been made available to offer some help in these situations.

1. Remit

The mediation service will consider:

1.1 Freegle Volunteers or Members or ex-Freegle Volunteers or Members who request mediation on a Freegle local or central group decision or situation.

1.2. Elected role holders who request mediation for situations relating to their role

1.3 In exceptional circumstances, mediation for Freegle group members relating to issues about Freegle groups, e.g. when the actions of a single group have significant implications for Freegle as a whole.

To initiate mediation, an email should be sent to the Ombudsman giving a brief outline of reasons for wanting mediation. A mediation team will be convened at the request of the Ombudsman, who will consider whether less formal avenues have been exhausted.

2. Principles of Mediation

All parties must be willing to participate in the mediation in good faith. Mediators do not adjudicate, have no decision-making authority and do not judge the fairness of the settlement reached. The purpose of mediation is to facilitate a communication and resolution process, assisting the disputing parties’ search for a joint solution to meet their needs and satisfy their interests. When entering mediation, all parties must agree to uphold the confidentiality of the process and there is no forfeit of other rights if mediation is unsuccessful.

3. Mediation Team

3.1 Freegle Volunteers or Members willing to be part of a Mediation Team should submit their details and relevant experience to the Ombudsman, who will add their names to the Mediation Team pool. Mediators will generally consist of some experienced and some less experienced Freegle Volunteers or Members.

3.2 The Ombudsman will ensure that the Mediation and Appeals Team pool has sufficient numbers to deal with requests for the Panel to convene by actively recruiting from members of Central if necessary. The Ombudsman may take appropriate action to encourage Volunteers or Members to participate including (but not limited to) direct invitations.

3.3 The Mediation Team will consist of 1 to 3 Freegle Volunteers or Members chosen by the Ombudsman who have no detailed knowledge of the particular incident(s) and circumstances relating to the decisions and/or actions leading to the reason for mediation.

3.4 Mediators are required to declare any conflict of interests in the case under discussion and withdraw themselves from the process, if necessary.

4. Mediation Procedure

4.1 The Mediation Team will be assembled as soon as practicable after the mediation request has been received by the Ombudsman and will start work promptly when the team has been chosen by the parties involved.

4.2 The Ombudsman will lead the team and set up the opening of a one-off closed discussion group on Yahoo or similar.

4.3 The Mediator(s) will first communicate with the disputing parties individually. Each party in the process should have the opportunity to present their view of the situation in full.

4.4 The Mediator(s) will assist the parties in identifying the issues by asking clarifying questions or helping to focus the discussion. The aim will be to help both parties explore their needs, and try to find a mutually satisfactory solution.

4.5 Once the interests and needs of each party have been explored, the negotiation searches for common ground; problem-solving options are explored and eventually possible resolutions are discussed.

4.6 When general agreement has been reached, and if the parties agree that a written statement of the settlement is helpful or appropriate, a statement of understanding can be drafted. Copies to be held by the parties concerned, the Ombudsman and the Mediator(s) and will not be circulated more widely without the consent of all parties involved. Where implementation of the agreement requires limited disclosure to other parties, that will be taken as implied by the agreement, and not require separate consent.

4.7 If upon reflection any party wishes to modify the agreement, revisions can be negotiated through shuttle diplomacy or subsequent communication. The parties themselves agree on a date after which the agreement will take effect, usually as soon as possible after the end of the mediation process. Adherence to the agreement depends on the good faith of the signatories.

4.8 Any party is free at any time to withdraw from the mediation process. If a settlement is not achieved, the parties may pursue involving the Freegle Appeals Panel Procedure.

4.9 The Board will be informed that a Mediation process has been convened, although details of the proceedings will remain confidential to the parties involved. It is the joint responsibility of the lead mediator (preparation) and the Ombudsman (review and publishing) to prepare any such statements.

5. Complaints Procedure

Any complaints about the process of mediation will be made to and reviewed by the Ombudsman, who shall be empowered to direct or replace any mediator if the complaint is upheld.


  • Glossary
  • Amendments: Document Approval Policy
  • Previous Freegle UK document: Mediation Service
  • Previous Freegle Ltd document:Mediation Service Procedure]]