Project Confidentiality Policy

The Tower Hamlets Mediation Project (THMP) recognises its duty to protect the confidentiality of information given to its mediators as a keystone for successful mediation. Our policy, set out here, is intended to ensure proper confidentiality of information and a clear procedure for disclosure if that is necessary in exceptional or extreme circumstances.

Implementation of Policy

Ownership of information

It is in the nature of the process of mediation that sensitive and sometimes inflammatory statements and views are made to the mediators. Information disclosed to volunteers of THMP during mediation remains the property of the person disclosing it. No person connected with THMP has the right to pass on such information outside the envelope of confidentiality (described below) without the express permission of the person disclosing it. Very limited paperwork is kept by THMP. Paperwork retained by THMP includes the referral form received from the client and a visit report form completed by the mediators after a visit. These are kept private and only shared within the project.

The envelope of confidentiality

No volunteer of THMP may accept any information in such confidence that it may not be disclosed to co-mediators involved in that case, or THMP managers and coordinators. In practice, only those few people who “need to know” will be allowed access to information necessary for the mediation process. Clients who refer parties to THMP will not be entitled to learn the content or detail of the mediation, but may be notified of the outcome of the mediation, such as if the party met with the mediators and are keen to engage with the process or not and whether or not the mediation led to a resolution. No party will have access to THMP records. The records are stored only electronically in a password protected safe place.

Breaches of confidentiality

The only person involved with THMP entitled to authorise any breach of confidentiality is the Project Manager, Irene Grindell, following full consultation with the volunteer mediators involved.

Outside advice may be taken if appropriate, e.g. from a peer in an established community mediation organisation, a member of the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) or The College of Mediators (COM) or an external law firm.

When a decision to authorise a breach of confidentiality is made, full responsibility is accepted by the Project Manager and none remains with the volunteer mediators involved.

The reasons for breaching confidentiality are extreme and unlikely to arise. They are as follows:

  • Prevention of Terrorism.
  • Evidence of miscarriage of justice- evidence relating to a criminal activity which has led or appears to be leading to somebody being wrongly charged or convicted of an offence may be disclosed.
  • Abuse of children – Guidance requires evidence or suspicion of abuse to be reported to the social services department of the local authority.
  • Abuse of Vulnerable people – Guidance requires evidence or suspicion of abuse to be reported to the social services department of the local authority.
  • In cases of actual or threatened violence, where it might be necessary to inform other clients, the police, or other agencies.
  • If a manager of THMP is legally bound to give information e.g. in the course of an investigation into an alleged serious offence.
  • Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 – Under this Act any person becoming aware of a terrorist activity or plans is required to report it to the police.

THMP’s policy is not to breach confidentiality for any other reason.

Court order

THMP will not voluntarily give any evidence relating to any mediation to a court of law, unless it is required to do so by law. Although THMP knowledge of a referral would mostly be hearsay and inadmissible in Court, the possibility remains and should be borne in mind when making records of a work.

Written records

Written records of referrals, including visit reports and file notes, will be limited to brief information relevant to the referral, which would be necessary to allow another mediator to take over the case if required. No inferences shall be included such as the mental state or reliability of the party to mediation.

Reports to referral agencies

Reports to referral agencies will be brief and will not disclose detail of the content of the mediation process.

The following information will be included.

  • Name and address of the parties.
  • The main outcome of the mediation.
  • The level of work carried out by the mediators.
  • Summary of any work outside the scope of mediation carried out by the volunteer mediators.

This Policy will be reviewed annually in the 12th month of any year.

Data Protection

THMP has policies in place that are designed to  ensure that it complies with the principles contained within the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. They must make sure the personal data is:

  • Used fairly and lawfully
  • Used for limited, specifically stated purposes
  • Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate
  • Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
  • Handled according to people’s data protection rights
  • Kept safe and secure
  • Not transferred outside the UK or the European Economic Area without adequate protection


All mediators and support staff will be trained in the use of the THMP Confidentiality Policy and THMP Privacy Policy. For further information, please read the THMP Confidentiality Policy available here and the THMP Privacy Policy available here. Clients and parties to a conflict have the right to see these policies on request.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Mediation gives you a safe space for difficult conversations.

It is a voluntary process where independent, impartial mediators help people recognise and acknowledge their position in a dispute and work towards resolving the conflict. 

Community mediation is confidential and flexible to the specific needs of all participants. THMP mediators facilitate the process without giving advice or expressing opinions. They work in an empathic and non-judgemental way in an informal setting which puts all parties at ease. 

The process

  • All sessions are currently conducted online using video conferencing. 
  • Mediators initially meet up separately.
  • If both parties agree, a joint online mediation session is arranged. 
  • Parties are encouraged to talk openly and respectfully and acknowledge their differences and recognise common grounds and shared needs. 
  • Mediators explore options with the parties, affirm steps made and encourage new ideas for getting their needs met. 
  • Mediators help the parties to discover their own solution and make choices based on realistic expectations. 

Mediation can help you to sort out in your mind what is ‘your’ best way forward, a bit like coaching. We can help you to talk to your neighbour in a safe way after we have coached you both. 

You can stop the process at absolutely any point. It’s always your call – the ball is in your court. 

If mediation doesn’t work, you have lost nothing as it’s free, but more importantly you will gain confidence in deciding what you want to do next as we help you to make a plan moving forward.

There are no costs involved to anyone at any stage of the mediation process.