9. Facilitated discussion
Facilitated discussion as a means of complaint resolution may be sought at any point in this Procedure. Facilitated discussion in the context of complaint resolution is a structured joint attempt to clarify and resolve an incident or problem through dialogue and negotiation, undertaken by a trained facilitator with no connection to the complaint or the other individuals involved. This is a confidential process which, if successful, leads to a written agreement which is binding on all parties. Facilitated discussion can often bring about an early resolution where both parties understand the other’s point of view and co-operate to produce a mutually agreed, workable outcome. If however agreement is not reached, the parties are not bound by any concessions made during the discussions and can return to the relevant stage in the Procedure. Facilitated discussion may be used at any stage of the Procedure and is offered free of charge to participants.
The aim of facilitated discussion would be to recognise the problem, address its impact upon the parties, look for means to enable the student to proceed with their studies at Warwick, and ideally agree on an outcome that will put the student back in the position they were before the problem occurred, with relationships undiminished. The University encourages the use of facilitated discussion to resolve disputes at all stages of the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure, and a complainant will usually be offered facilitated discussion if it is felt that it could help resolve the problems raised.
All complaints submitted through this Procedure will be considered for suitability for facilitated discussion by a University Complaints Resolution Officer. Where it is felt that facilitated discussion would be beneficial in bringing about a satisfactory resolution for a particular complaint, all parties involved in the complaint will be contacted and offered the option of undertaking facilitated discussion. All parties must be in agreement to take part in the facilitated discussion for it to go ahead. In addition, any person involved in a complaint may propose facilitated discussion at any time.
Examples of cases that may benefit from facilitated discussion include: the level or quality of academic support, a breakdown in supervisory relationships, resources provided to support student’s individual learning needs, and disputes over accommodation. Facilitated discussion will not be used in cases which challenge academic judgement or the University’s Regulations and conventions.
Where parties involved in a complaint agree to discussion a trained facilitator, typically a member of Warwick staff, will be allocated to the case and an “agreement to discuss” form will be signed by parties involved. The facilitator will then manage the process of facilitated discussion, arranging and enabling dialogue between the two parties to aid mutual understanding and resolution. In most cases this will involve initial individual meetings or conversations with the facilitator, before a joint meeting between all parties takes place. Where a joint meeting is not possible the facilitator would typically continue to enable discussion between parties in individual meetings throughout the process. It is not the responsibility of the facilitator to suggest resolutions; instead the facilitator will help parties work towards their own agreed resolution, giving advice and guidance where appropriate. A facilitator would typically continue to work with parties until a suitable and agreed resolution is reached, or until it is felt that facilitated discussion is no longer beneficial to the case.
At the end of the facilitated discussion process, a “Memorandum of Agreement“ will be signed by all parties, outlining the agreed outcome of the process, whether the complaint is fully, partially or not resolved, and the next steps for all parties involved.
Go to Section 10 of the Procedure.