How The Resolution Framework™ Works

TCM’s groundbreaking Resolution Policy™ offers an alternative to the traditional grievance policy whilst the The Resolution Framework™ offers a fully integrated approach for handling grievance and discipline issues. This section explains how the Resolution Framework™ works and how to begin the process of integrating it into your own organisation. For more details, please contact TCM using the button below.

The role of The Resolution Centre (aka Unit)

Organisations which integrate The Resolution Framework™ work with TCM to develop a series of checks and balances which ensure that it meets and exceeds all statutory and best practice guidance. This section explains the role and purpose of the resolution unit, the request for resolution process, the role of the resolution champions and how the Resolution Index (RI)™ works.

The Resolution Centre

The Resolution Centre (also known as the Resolution Unit) are the custodians of the Resolution Framework™. The Resolution Centre sits within HR but includes representatives from trade unions, employee reps and managers. In that respect, this is a cross functional team and it offers a modern and highly effective model of partnership working.

Request for Resolution

The Request for Resolution (RfR) is the new name for the form which is used to lodge a complaint or a concern. The RfR draws heavily on positive psychology and appreciative inquiry. It is written in such as way as to engender a positive, solution focused mindset in the parties.

The RfR is submitted to the Resolution Unit who will then undertake a triage (assessment) of the case using the agreed Resolution Index.

The triage (assessment) process ensures that each case is assessed on it merits and the appropriate route to resolution is applied in each case. Out with three step processes and in with  a tailored and robust solution designed around the needs of the parties and the organisation.

Local Resolution

In most situations, the simplest and most effective way to resolve a complaint, a concern or a conflict is to sit down and have a prompt, informal conversation with the other person. Under the Resolution Framework™, it is the role and responsibility of well-trained managers to spot the warning signs and to engage their team members in a confident and productive conversation. In this way, an outcome can be found that is acceptable to all parties. Some coaching or mentoring may also be requested to support with the outcome of the meeting.
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Act Quickly

Conflict can be complex and confusing. However, most issues follow a similar journey. In simple terms, conflict tends to get worse, the longer that it is left unaddressed. The more that can be done to resolve conflict at source, the less of a negative impact it will have. This is commonly referred to as ‘Nipping conflict in the bud’.

5 Top Tips

These 5 useful tips can help ensure that the manager or supervisor responsible for chairing the early resolution meeting does all that they can to facilitate effective resolution:

  1. Create a psychologically safe space by developing appropriate boundaries and ground rules.
  2. Understand the importance of empathy, self-awareness and active listening, and display these qualities during the session.
  3. Role model the behaviours that you expect from the parties, for example, responding to criticism in a non-defensive manner.
  4. Produce an agreement or Resolution Action Plan, with clearly defined objectives.
  5. Outline the consequences of not achieving an objective, in a way which avoids sounding threatening or confrontational.

Facilitated Conversations.

The facilitated conversation is a confidential discussion between all parties facilitated by an independent third party. It is shorter than a full mediation and is typically used to resolve less serious cases or at an earlier stage of a conflict or a complaint. The facilitator provides all parties with a safe environment to discuss concerns in a supportive way. It will be led by one of the members of the Resolution Hub or a trained manager. Click each box to find out more.

Initial Private Meetings

The facilitator will meet with each party individually before the main face to face session. This allows the opportunity for each party to establish their framing of the issues, build some rapport with the facilitator and become clear on what they hope to achieve from the process. Parties also have the chance to ask any questions they may have about the process.

The Facilitated Conversation

During the face to face meeting, the facilitator will create the opportunity for dialogue between the parties. They will ensure that each party has the opportunity to speak and feel heard. They will then guide the process towards a mutually acceptable outcome.

After the meeting, notes from the meeting are destroyed at the end of the session. The only document that will be retained is the final agreement, and both parties will keep a copy. The facilitator may check in with the parties at a later date to check progress with the agreements and offer a little extra support if needed.


Mediation is a more in-depth restorative process, that should be carried out by a specially trained staff member, It can also be provided by external professional mediators from The TCM Group. Mediation can typically be completed within one full day, but may take longer if more than two people are involved. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process.

Mediation works!

Over 90% of TCM’s mediations result in favourable agreements being reached for all parties involved. Not only this, but as the process can be completed in just one day. Workplace mediation offers huge savings in comparison to traditional formal processes. Most parties will find the process less stressful and less damaging and they describe higher levels of confidence in the mediation process and the outcome. Achieving a speedy resolution, closer to source, can greatly reduce the costs posed to your organisation.

The TCM Group are a leading provider of workplace mediation services and mediation training.  TCM were awarded Mediation Provider of the Year at the 2018 National Mediation Awards, and HR consultancy of the year at the 2020 Personnel Today Awards

A better conversation

Dialogue is so effective at resolving issues at work. However, speaking to someone we are in conflict takes real courage. It is the mediator’s role to make the process of building dialogue much more comfortable. They are specially trained with an in-depth knowledge of the psychology of conflict. They are also skilled in the communication and negotiation skills needed to make parties feel safe, at ease and guided through an effective dialogue. All mediators working for, or trained by The TCM Group, use the highly acclaimed Fair Mediation Model™.

The mediator will guide the conversation to ensure that discussions do not get too heated, whilst ensuring that important issues are openly aired. As the process is confidential, parties can feel safe in the knowledge that what they say will not have any unexpected impact on their future work.

Team Facilitation or Team Building

Team facilitation builds upon the principles of mediation, but applied to situations where a dispute or breakdown has occurred amongst a wider team. It is a very useful process to help move a team from toxic to transformational. Team disputes can be very complex. For this reason, the process should be led by a highly skilled and expert facilitator.

Understanding the root cause of the problem

The initial aim of the team facilitation is to gain an insight and understanding of the underlying problems and issues affecting the team. These may include behavioural, cultural, systemic, structural, environmental or political factors. Information will be gathered from a variety of means, including:

  • Interviewing a sample of key stakeholders
  • Performing a root cause analysis
  • Review of the key policies, reports and documents relating to the chronology of the case.
Rebuilding the team

This part of the process consists of a session with all the key team members, to allow for a consensus to be formed on the unsatisfactory nature of the situation, develop specific requirements and an action plan. The expert facilitator will undertake a deep dive into the team and help identify a series of shared solutions to the challenges identified by the team members.

Problem areas may include poor communication, hidden agendas, unclear roles or goals and ambiguous reporting lines.

Formal Resolution

The Resolution Framework™ is designed to divert the majority of issues away from formal processes and procedures. However, in serious or complex cases, or cases where previous attempts at early resolution have been unsuccessful, a formal resolution meeting may be required. This section explains how formal resolution works.

How it works

A formal approach should be considered as an option for the most complex and serious issues ie situations which achieve a high score high on the resolution index (RI). In traditional policy terms, the formal resolution meeting is equivalent to a formal hearing or a determination.

The Resolution Centre will appoint a chair for the formal resolution meeting. They should be from outside of the team where the issue has presented, and be at an appropriate management level. In line with the Acas code, the parties have the right to appeal the outcome of the formal resolution meeting.

The aim of the formal resolution meeting is, wherever possible to seek a restorative approach for addressing the issues. In this case the chair may refer the situation for further mediation or a restorative justice process. However in more serious cases the chair has the authority to issue a range of sanctions should these be required.

What to expect

For more sensitive/complex issues, an investigation may be needed prior to the formal resolution meeting. The investigation will be conducted by a trained, unbiased member of staff. (internal or external). The purpose of this process is to discover all the facts, which are analysed objectively and presented in a fair and reasonable manner.

Following the investigation an dthe submission of the report, all relevant parties will be invited, in writing, to attend the investigation and/ or formal resolution meeting.

During the formal resolution meeting, the chair will meet with each party, for the opportunity to talk about their concerns and how they could be resolved. A note-taker may also attend the meeting, and notes of the meeting will be shared without unreasonable delay. The chair may also arrange for all parties to meet at a pre arranged meeting. This is a chance to explore all issues and to consider next steps

Following the meeting, the chair will review the facts, decide the outcome and their recommendations for resolution. The outcome of the formal resolution meeting will be confirmed to the parties in writing without unreasonable delay.

Right to be accompanied: All parties have the right to bring a trade union representative or colleague to the formal resolution meeting.