The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The T C M Group is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
The T C M Group
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
14 | THE TCM GROUP
Founder and CEO
David Liddle is founder and CEO of The TCM Group, a leading
mediation, conflict management and leadership consultancy.
He is a published author and is currently working on a new
book examining the benefits of a person-centred, values-based
organisational culture. Over the years, he has worked with business
leaders, public servants and politicians across the world to develop
progressive systems for preventing and resolving conflict at work.
He specialises in designing systems and strategies that resolve
serious and complex workplace issues. David challenges traditional
models of conflict resolution, which he explains are inherently
adversarial, divisive and confrontational. He tells
about TCM’s work, and his contribution to the changing
perceptions of mediation and conflict management worldwide.
I established TCM to help organisations integrate collaborative and compassionate
approaches for managing change, mergers and acquisitions and employee or
I first began working in conflict management in the early 1990s. I set up one of the
first community mediation schemes to help neighbours and gangs resolve issues
without resorting to violence. I witnessed the real impact of mediation to resolve
seemingly intractable disputes through dialogue and co-operation. I set up an award-
winning school mediation scheme called CRISP – the Conflict Resolution In Schools
Programme – and I supported work with victims and offenders through an incredibly
powerful and transformative process known as restorative justice.
I recall one case in an inner-city estate in Leicester, where my team and I managed to
resolve some serious tensions between two families in the aftermath of a murder. In the
years that have followed, I have used this case as something of a benchmark – if those two
families can come into a room together to reconcile their differences, then anyone can.
From the streets to the boardroom
During the late 1990s, the local authority in Leicester underwent substantial change,
and I was brought in to resolve disputes on an organisational level. I found that
the mediation and restorative justice techniques that I’d developed in the local
community worked rather well in this context. It struck me that many of the issues
that people were raising in response to these organisational changes were the same
ones that I’d experienced in local estates: sleeplessness, anxiety, trauma and stress.
The same conflicts were arising in offices just as much as they were on the streets,
and the models I’d created translated almost perfectly to a workplace setting.
It was while I was studying for my MBA and learning more about Total Quality
Management that I recognised that several principles it outlined could be applied to
organisational conflict management. These concepts – whole organisational change,
regularly reviewing and adapting processes and multiple stakeholder engagement,
AT A GLANCE
THE TCM GROUP
»Founder and CEO: David Liddle
»Established in 2001
»Based in London
»Services: Mediation, training
»No. of employees: 10
»Awarded Mediation Provider
of the Year 2018 by the Civil
The TCM Group
15THE TCM GROUP |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
to name a few – translated almost
perfectly. In 2001, I established
Total Conflict Management on the
foundation of these principles, and it
became one of the first companies in
the UK which was entirely dedicated to
mediating and managing conflict in the
From conflict to consensus
At TCM, we now train over 1,000
people every year – including managers,
HR professionals, business leaders and
politicians – to manage conflict and
develop their leadership skills. We offer
open-access courses at our headquarters
in London or in-house courses which
are tailored for specific workforces
and groups. Our provision is externally
recognised and accredited by both the
Open College Network and The Institute
of Leadership & Management.
We also offer external professional
mediation services for a wide variety
of disputes, which typically arise when
an HR director or manager is really
running out of options. Alongside
these, we provide consultancy,
diagnostic tests and services to establish
conflict management systems where
necessary across the board. We have
developed in-house mediation schemes
for a diverse array of organisations,
including Royal Mail, BT, Aviva, Lloyds
Bank, British Airways, the Metropolitan
Police, the Home Office and the
Department for Work and Pensions, as
well as numerous councils, hospitals,
universities and police forces. Many of
these programmes have won awards for
their efforts to embed mediation.
We have also won numerous awards
and accolades for our work and we
have had research undertaken on the
impact of our approach by globally
acclaimed academics. As a result of
this success, I have set about both
professionalising and formalising
mediation and conflict management
as an industry. In 2007, I established
the Professional Mediators’ Association
to share best practice, provide CPD
and deliver standards for workplace
mediation both in the UK and globally.
In October 2017, the PMA merged with
the Civil Mediation Council to create a
trade body for the profession.
Inappropriately managed conflicts cost
an estimated annual figure of £33 billion
for UK businesses according to the CBI,
taking up 20 per cent of all leadership
time and thus resulting in 370 million
work days lost. The CIPD believe that
almost 60 per cent of companies using
mediation see a significant reduction
in formal grievances, and a reduction
in tribunal claims of almost 50 per
cent. These figures don’t lie. The cost
of going to court or an employment
tribunal is significant for any business,
large or small. The time lost, the stress
caused and the reputational harm are
Mediation isn’t the easy option. It is a
tough process and it requires courage
from all parties involved. It’s also not
just for the easy cases; recent high-
profile sexual harassment and bullying
cases have highlighted the issue that
serious and complex conflict poses in
Mediation and restorative justice play an
important part in an organisation’s overall
strategy for dealing with these issues.
They sit within the overall ecosystem of
any given organisation, serving as an
additional tool for conflict resolution.
After all, if the only tool in the box is a
hammer, every problem becomes a nail.
Conflict is more nuanced than that, and
it requires a more nuanced response
in kind. Dialogue, empathy and
collaboration are central to mediation,
and they are central to the success of an
effective organisation. For organisations
who are serious about managing
conflict, in all forms, there has never
been a better time to mediate thannow.
David’s first book,
received rave reviews
are central to
and they are
central to the
success of an
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.