Buddy Policy for AMS Mediators

The Ashford Mediation Service acknowledges the need for new mediators who are joining the service to be able, on a short-term basis, to have in place a ‘buddy’, or a more experienced mediator with whom they can chat, discuss any issues and find guidance and advice.

What is a buddy and why have one?

The purpose of a new volunteer being associated with a buddy is to help welcome a new volunteer and to reaffirm their decision to join AMS. It provides the new volunteer with a reliable, motivated single point of contact for their basic questions regarding their work experiences of AMS.  It also helps to establish a more formal on-boarding process.

A buddy is someone who partners with a new volunteer mediator during his first six months of service. While primarily responsible for offering advice and guidance regarding the day-to-day aspects of volunteering for the service, the buddy may also act as a sounding board and offer encouragement and signpost the new volunteer to knowledge and other resources as they begin their service.

Buddy Responsibilities

AMS asks that buddies:

  • Contact and meet the new volunteer within the first week of their appointment
  • Exchange contact details with the new volunteer and make time to be accessible in the first six months of the appointment (recommended time commitments are below)
  • Act as an information resource about the AMS when required
  • Refer the new volunteer to the Chair if there are queries which cannot be answered locally
  • Respect confidentiality where appropriate
  • Maintain a good and positive attitude

New volunteer responsibilites

AMS asks that new volunteers:

  • Understand that their buddy is a volunteer like they are and respect their time e.g. if they agree to meet or speak with their buddy, do so. If a meeting or conversation needs to be cancelled, do this in advance as far as possible.
  • Exchange contact details with their buddy
  • Feel free to ask for advice and guidance or ask to be signposted to the necessary resources to perform your role
  • Respect confidentiality
  • Maintain a good and positive attitude
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Timeline

Week 1

  • Meet new volunteer face to face
  • Learn about each other’s background and experience
  • Respond to any immediate questions
  • Agree on the frequence and method of communication
  • Exchange contact details

Months 1 and 4

  • Meet or speak/email to ‘touch base’ on a bi-weekly basis
  • Be available for phone conversations and email as required

Months 5 and 6

  • Meet or speak/email to ‘touch base’ on a monthly basis
  • Be available for phone conversations and email as available.

What a buddy doesn’t do

  • Act as a HR Manager and ‘develop’ the new volunteer professionally
  • Take responsibility for the new volunteer’s performance
  • Resolve professional mediator issues for the new volunteer. The Buddy can offer an opinion, but any issues concerning the new volunteer is not the buddies to resolve.

Benefits of the buddy system

Buddy Benefits

  • Develop leadership and motivational skills
  • Opportunity to expand personal network
  • Share experiences

New Volunteer Benefits

  • Single point of contact
  • Personal assistance
  • A smoother on-boarding experience

AMS Benefits

  • Increased volunteer motivation and retention
  • Increased AMS communication channels
  • Shared quality work processes

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