Introducing our latest member benefit...

Micro Mediation Project

A new initiative from The Wheel. Find out about this new service below...

The Micro Mediation Project

This is a pilot project set up to help resolve conflict in small charities and community/voluntary organisations that are full members of The Wheel. In these organisations there may not be sufficient resources available to access professional help in resolving such matters.

The project makes available professional, trained mediation expertise as a voluntary initiative, somewhat similar to free legal aid.

To be considered, applicant organisations must complete a simple application form. The applicant must be a person in authority in the organisation such as a Board member, or Chairperson. Once the application is accepted by the project, a mediator will be assigned who will deal directly and confidentially with the applicant to set up the mediation.

Confidential research on the effectiveness of the project will be undertaken on an on-going basis, and changes or improvements may be made. It is expected that the project will run initially on a nine month pilot basis before the first full review is completed. It is essential that participating organisations engage fully with the research element of the programme as this will inform further developments.

Mediation is a process whereby an impartial third party assists those in conflict to reach a resolution which they find acceptable. Some basic principles underlie mediation and these are:
  • it is confidential
  • the parties are always in control of the outcome
  • the mediator is in charge of the process
  • the mediator must act and remain impartial i.e. the mediator should not take sides while aspects of the past may be discussed, the focus is clearly on the future
  • it aims for mutual understanding and resolution
  • it is respectful and is normally covered by simple ground rules
  • it is voluntary for the participants.
Any outcome may be written down and signed as an agreement though sometimes participants may prefer a verbal agreement.
Initially the mediator meets both participants separately, to explain the process, to get agreement to ground rules and to hear about what has been happening from each.
The participants are then brought into a joint meeting and the mediator will guide discussion to ensure full understanding, from each perspective, of the issues. The focus is then on what options can be developed to resolve matters and these are then distilled down to an agreement which is drafted by the mediator and agreed by the parties.
Normally a written agreement is signed by both and this signals the end of the process. The referrer is usually provided with a confidential copy of any written agreement.
There are many benefits in using this approach.
For the organisation:
  • it is fast and brings a focus, 
  • it does not involve others in the organisation (such as would happen in an investigation), 
  • it brings closure, it is an alternative to a legal approach.
For the participants:
  • it gets to the root of the problem and directly deals with it, 
  • it is over quickly, 
  • it helps to foster better working relationships, it is a respectful process, participants are always in control of the outcome.
The process is very successful in reaching an acceptable outcome and there is great learning for everyone.
The scope of the pilot project is workplace-related conflict in organisations of five or less employees who are full members of The Wheel. This may be expanded after the initial pilot phase. While the mediator will give his/her time for free, depending on location there may be a small amount to be paid to cover travel – this will be agreed with the mediator prior to commencement.
In order to make an application to the project, please fill out this short application form (Word doc, 80.22KB) giving as much detail as possible. The application will be dealt with in confidence.
Please send the completed form to The Wheel’s Training and Advice Coordinator, Mairead O’Connor,
Applications from qualifying organisations that fulfil the project criteria will then be forwarded to Brendan Schutte, the coordinator of the project. Requests for more information can be directed to
With a background in human resource management and development across manufacturing, healthcare, education and not-for- profit sectors, Brendan became an independent consultant and trainer in 2000.
Having achieved 1st place in the very first postgraduate Diploma in Mediation Studies in UCD he qualified as a Practitioner Member in the Mediators Institute of Ireland, becoming the first Registrar for the Workplace Mediation sector, overseeing assessment and accreditation for mediators wishing to work in this area.
He has mediated in numerous two-party and multi-party workplace situations and is one of the most experienced workplace mediators in Ireland and the UK. He has also developed and run numerous mediation skills courses, and is author of “Fixing the Fighting” (Oak Tree Press, 2005).
More information on Brendan Schutte can be found on the website: