Consortium Membership

The North East Consortium of Mediation Practitioners is a group of Mediators from a range of backgrounds, including private sector industries, public sector organisations and the not-for-profit sector.  All Members have undergone a recognised Mediation Skills training programme and work to the Consortium’s Code of Practice and Basic Service Delivery Standards.  See our Quality and Service Standards page for more information.

Membership of the Consortium enables each Practitioner to call on other members for support, e.g. for cover during periods of absence, or for a co-worker on cases where solo working is not appropriate.  Regular and ongoing supervision within the group offers personal support and ensures that practice standards are upheld.  External supervision is also available to members.

Founder Members of the Consortium

Clare Butterfield, Rachel Lofthouse, Michelle Smith and Melanie Baker are the four founder members of the North East Consortium of Mediation Practitioners (the Consortium).  They established the Consortium to take forward the mediation, training and associated alternative dispute resolution (ADR) work of Unite Ltd.

Unite was highly respected for its ADR and training services.  All its Mediators were trained in-house and received regular top-up training and supervision.  Unite operated across the North East from 1993 until 2017, when its Board of Trustees and Helen Lowrie, the CEO, made the decision to manage Unite’s closure due to a reduction in funding.  Unite’s legacy was a sizeable donation of surplus funds to other charities in the region.

Clare Butterfield, You Choose Mediation

Clare

My background is in Public Sector senior management roles.  I joined Unite Ltd in 1996 when I trained as a Volunteer Community Mediator and I have practised as a mediator continuously since then, working as a Volunteer and as a Bank Practitioner.  My experience of working in the public sector has given me a good understanding of how public sector organisations operate and I brought my experience and knowledge of good governance to Unite Ltd when I served as an Associate Director on Unite’s Board between 2014 and 2016, working with Unite’s Trustees in an advisory capacity.

With over 20 years of mediation experience, I offer community and workplace mediation.  Currently, I manage a contract for Yorkshire Coast Homes Housing, delivering their mediation services and drawing on my project management, budget management and planning skills to ensure that contractual service level agreement (SLA) outcomes and targets are met.  My role also involves providing mediation awareness sessions, promoting the service to referrers and service users.

Following my public sector career, in 2011 I established a local business on a self-employed basis which I still run.  My experience in this area helped the Consortium to swiftly establish our current business model.

Since 2012 I have provided support for a North East housing association tenant scrutiny group as an independent mentor.  This involves offering one-to-one support to the tenant members.  I carry out their annual personal development reviews, helping individuals to set personal goals and targets and implement personal development plans.

More recently I have developed my advocacy skills and knowledge by working with a local advocacy charity.

Contact me: mobile: 07958 734304 or email: youchoosemediation@gmail.com  

Rachel Lofthouse, RAL Consulting

Rachel

I worked for Unite Ltd from 1996 – 2017, starting as a Volunteer Community Mediator.  I joined the staff to work full time from October 1996 to November 2013, when I joined the team of bank and sessional workers.

I have over 20 years of mediation experience, which includes community, workplace, RJ and SEN mediation.  I have been a Supervisor and a Trainer since 1998 and was a member of the workplace Staff Support Team since 2006.  I led on Policy work for Unite and was a member of the Senior Management Team, deputising for the CEO when required and working with the SMT on annual Business Planning and three-yearly Strategic Planning activities.  I also delivered Staff Support sessions in-house and to external customers.

Between 2015 and 2017, I served as an Associate Director on Unite’s Board, working with Unite’s Trustees in an advisory capacity.  As a member of the team working towards the ISO Quality Mark, which Unite achieved in 2016, I used my practice experience and knowledge of policy and procedure implementation to ensure policies and procedures met ISO standards.

I draw on my mediation, supervision and management experience to design, deliver and evaluate training programmes and conference workshops.  All courses can be tailored to the customers’ requirements and I am very happy to develop new courses for customers.

Contact me: mobile: 07785 187502 or email: ralenquiries@gmail.com

Michelle Smith, Together North East

Michelle

After graduating in Law, I worked in both the Voluntary and Private Sectors, where I gained extensive experience of project management, planning and managing budgets, notably from my time when I worked for Tees Valley Community Foundation (2001-20011) where I was responsible for managing a portfolio of annual grants budget totalling £2m.

I joined Unite Ltd in 2015, where alongside my Community Mediator and Family Group Conference Practitioner roles, I held a leadership role and was part of the Operational Management Team.

Currently I manage a contract for Sunderland Council, delivering their free at source mediation service and drawing on my project management and planning skills to ensure that contractual SLA outcomes and targets are met.  My role also involves promoting the service to referrers and service users.

Contact me: mobile: 07880 710221 or email: togethernortheast@gmail.com

Secure email: michelle.smith@tne.cjsm.net