25 and Counting: Our Clients

Posted on: April 29th, 2024

To celebrate our 25th Anniversary this year, we sit down with Founder, Dr Mike Talbot, to look back at some of the key moments in UK Mediation's history.

In the fourth entry of this series, we take a look at some of the clients that we have worked with, including those who have been there from the very start.

1. You started UK Mediation all the way back in 1999. Can you remember the very first organisation that you worked with?

Dr Mike Talbot:
I had been doing some consultancy work with two companies in the West Midlands: British Steel and Rolls Royce. Both of these were curious about how we might more positively address grievance-type issues and workplace fall-outs. So, around the time of setting up UK Mediation, these two companies were some of the first organisations to use what UK Mediation began to offer.

2. Are there any organisations that you worked with back then that you're still working with today?

Yes, plenty! One great thing about mediation and conflict resolution work is that there is a high rate of repeat business. So customers who use our services will often come back to us again and again, knowing that we can be trusted.

Some examples are Liverpool John Moores University, Sandwell Health Authority, and several homelessness and young people’s organisations, like Barnardo’s, Depaul, and CAYSH. We are still working with all of these to this day.

3. Over the past 25 years, have there been certain sectors that UKM has worked with more frequently?

Unsurprisingly, larger employers get more workplace conflict. So NHS Trusts, Universities, and Local Authorities, all of whom employ thousands upon thousands of people, use our services very frequently. We get more and more from the private sector these days, and those companies with an overseas base are now also becoming customers of our sister organisation, EU Mediation, which offers mediation and training to multinationals in mainland Europe.

But one aspect of our early work that we always want to keep up is with homelessness organisations, which is a particular interest of mine. We make a real investment of time and effort in this part of our work, and we continue to develop what we are able to offer the sector.

4. What has been the biggest project that UKM has undertaken, either in terms of scope or sheer volume?

Phew, well there have been quite a few. We did a programme of work with Great Ormond Street Hospital around medical mediation, especially in the light of some high-profile ‘best interests’ cases. That took about two years. There was also a project that I led on in Jordan, where we were working with the judiciary in Amman to get mediation built into their court processes: that was a big one. And then there have been several instances where we have trained groups within an organisation and then, seeing the benefits, they have then asked us to return to train all of their managers.

So, yes: plenty of big projects, and I am sure plenty more yet to come!