Institutions and French companies the objective of which is to offer a better sound quality(listening skill) and of service(department) to the public took the initiative to set up for the last ten years the mediators. These mediators are persons who have a key-role not only in the dispute settlement between the institution and his(her) public but also the preventive role and the catalyst of change within institutions or companies. They created the April 1st(Fools’s Day) 2002 the Club of the Mediators.
THE CHARTER OF THE MEDIATORS OF the PUBLIC SERVICE
The Club of the Mediators of the Public service
The signatories of this charter are mediators of administrations, companies, institutions and communities in charge of a service to the public. They will be called ” the Mediators of the public service “.
They have in common a conception of the service to the citizens, to the customers and to the users which favors the listening, the dialogue and the amicable settlement of the disputes.
The mediators of the public service decided to draft this charter which will be used as reference frame for their action, in the respect for the current rules for each of them.
They make widely known and with full transparency their values with the institutions and with the public : their preventive role, the guarantees of impartiality and efficiency attached to their status and the procedures which they make a commitment to respect.
The mediators of the public service meet regularly to exchange on their experiences and their best practice. This text is the result of their reflections
« Statement of the Ombudman »
The Ombudsman is an Independent Authority created in 1973.
Irremovable, irrevocable, following the example of his foreign colleagues, he has authority to make recommendations, in particular on the foundation of the equity, to settle amicably the disputes arising between any natural or legal entity and any body invested with a mission of public service
The evolution of our society, the concern of every public service to improve its relations with its users led to the creation of the authorities of mediation in several sectors.
The Ombudsman and the mediators of the various public services assert their will to work together, to increase the efficiency and the reactivity with which it is advisable to answer the demands of our fellow countrymen. The Ombudsman approves the principles of the present Charter to specify the best practice of the institutional mediation to avoid the trivialization of this term.
The institutional mediation
Institutional mediation is an “Alternative Dispute Resolution” As conventional mediation, it can be implemented in an attempt to avoid legal action and to settle specific and individual disputes between natural or legal persons and institutions or businesses: consumer disputes, commercial, government and between users, or personal disputes.
It’s free, fast, free access – direct or indirect- and occurs when other internal recourses are exhausted.
It is implemented by mediators with various statutes but sharing common ethics and values : listening and respect for others
Large institutions and french companies whose goal is to provide better listening quality and public service have taken the initiative to set up mediators for the last ten years. These mediators are people who have a key-role not only in the dispute between the institution and the public but also a preventive and catalyst role for change within institutions or companies.
This has led to set up mediators such as mediators for the Caisse des Dépôts, Electricity of France, national Education, France 2, France 3, Gaz de France, the Post office, the City hall of Paris, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry, the RATP (Paris Public Transport System), the mail universal Service, the SNCF (French National Railway Company), the French Federation of insurance companies. …
These mediators facilitate the dispute settlement in a spirit and with the practices of the mediation: listening and explanation, equity, impartiality with the respect to the institution and the user or the customer, complete ré-instruction of the dispute, even conciliation between the parties.
By positioning their experience, their moral and professional authority , and the independence they have in the institution, these mediators are required to go further than a customer service, a claims claims or an internal authority of appeal.
They also have a global vision of the detected problems which helps them to better understand the dysfunctions of the institution and allows them to propose changes.
Institutional mediators have a singular role : not only they favor the dispute settlement between institutions and their public but they also contribute to prevent them. This preventive role distinguishes them clearly from conventional mediators involved occasionally in dispute settlement.
1. THE SERVICE TO CITIZENS, USERS and TO CUSTOMERS
Mediation is a new way of dialogue between the administration and users (but also sometimes with its staff) and between public companies and their customers
It is a place of listening to all the partners of the institution or company. Its purpose is to improve the quality of service and user or customers satisfaction or customers
The mediators of the public service offer to the users or customers a service facilitating the dispute settlement:
- Easily access,
- Undifferentiated whatever is the financial importance of the dispute,
- Efficient, in particular because of the good knowledge of institutions or companies and professions : the disputes instruction is facilitated as well as the identification of the interlocutors and the dysfunctions at the origin of the problems
The mediator’s role goes well beyond dispute settlement, it plays an important role which places him in the buckle of improvement of the service to the customer or the user:
- He proposes reforms of texts, procedures and practices in line with an improvement of the service provided,
- It educates the institution or company on claims processing and especially the customers or consumers who are key partners for mediators,
- It has an educational role to develop the spirit of mediation and listening to the customer or user,
- It is careful to respect the commitments made by the institution to external partners,
- It is also a neutral observatory by its listening of all the partners and by its role of detector of problems and weak signals of the institution.
Good knowledge of the institution, its men and its practices as welle as positioning in the institution or company allow institutional mediators to play this preventive role and create links.
Customizing the function and its position in the heart of the institution allows the mediator to reduce the distance between citizens and the institution, between a customer and a company and thus place the parties on an equal plan to establish a balanced dialogue
2. VALUES AND ETHICS
Mediators of the public service watch at first the respect for the legal rules and they lean on the intrinsic values of the mediation :
- The well-balanced, available and attentive listening of the parties: the mediator makes listening a duty,
- The scrupulous respect for the persons (users, citizens, customers), of their opinions and positions,
- The will to facilitate the search for amicable settlement to disputes,
- Equity: the mediator may make recommendations in equity, if a rule or practice can be adapted to the great mass of users, it can be unbearable for a particular case
- Impartiality with regard to the complainant, the company, the administration,
- The respect for the principle of the contradictory: the mediator watches that the parties have the opportunity of making known their point of view and be aware of all the positions and with all the facts presented by the opposing party.
- Transparency of the activity; the mediator has a duty to provide information about its role, its practices, its activity. He exercises it in particular through its annual report which he publishes. Its recommendations or ways for improvement are made public,
- Confidentiality : the mediator is bound to confidentiality regarding the names of the parties, the information obtained during the investigation of the case and the facts which he had acquired in the context of its function. The examples given in the annual report must be submitted anonymously.
Draft agreements negotiated between the parties with the assistance of the mediator may be brought to the knowledge of third parties to the dispute unless the parties agree.
3. POSITIONING OF THE MEDIATOR
The special status of institutional Mediators is a guarantee of impartiality in settling disputes.
They are independent from the structures of the institution or company
They are nominated or apointed :
- By the head of the organization responsible for public service (Minister, President of the company, elected representative, …) which guarantees their independence of any internal structure of the institution or company
- according « their ability, competence and experience”.
They are not revocable during the duration of their mandate, this duration being sufficient to insure the efficiency of their action.
They have the necessary means to carry out their activities (budget, including powers to propose solutions ..)
Their legitimacy within the institution allows them to propose solutions or to emit recommendations to settle the disputes, to lead conciliations, to make sure that the amicable solutions retained within the framework of the mediation are implemented by the institution or the company.
Their positioning should allow them to be watching over the actions undertaken within the institution in answer to the general recommendations or to the improvement actions proposed in the annual report of the mediator
They report their activity in different ways : presentation to the concerned consumer’s associations, the annual report ….
4. WARRANTIES OF PROCEDURE FOR APPLICANTS
Referral and admissibility of the application
- The applicant must have easy access to the Ombudsman either by directly entering either through a consumer association
- The mediator shall immediately inform the applicant of the admissibility of the application : inadmissible application if the case is outside the scope of its competence and in principle if a lawsuit or arbitration is commenced; premature application when the preliminary steps to concerned services have not been performed. In the latter case the mediator immediately redirects the request to the department
Dispute instruction and mediation
- The exchanges between the mediator and the parties are in principle in writing, but the mediator may also wish to hear and / or wish to receive both parties. In the most complex dispute cases, he can propose both parties a conciliation meeting with the support, if they wish, their legal advice,
- The parties must provide the Ombudsman with all the information enabling him to investigate the dispute,
- If the complexity of the case so requires, the mediator can call on an expert including a controlling institution that he chooses freely given its skills (commercial, legal, technical, …) in the field of the concerned activity.
Specific recommendations of the mediator or agreement
- The recommendation of the mediator has to approach all the questions raised by the applicant and be motivated,
- The mediator works to find a solution that suits both parties,
- The applicant must be informed about specific limitation periods in order not to lose his rights to initiate legal actions,
- Referral to the company ombudsman may in some cases temporarily suspend internal appeals, what is excluded for the conflict with collective areas.
- The specific recommendations of the mediator or the agreeement are confidential, the parties may not, unless otherwise agreed between them, occur in the context of a lawsuit or arbitration,
- The mediator follows in a suited way the implementation of its recommendation
LIST OF THE SIGNATORY MEDIATORS OF CHARTER of PUBLIC SERVICE :
- CAISSE DES DEPOTS ET CONSIGNATIONS – Antoine COUTIERE
- EDF – Noëlle BORDINAT
- EDUCATION NATIONALE- Jacky SIMON
- FEDERATION FRANCAISE DES SOCIETES D’ASSURANCES- Francis FRIZON
- FRANCE 2 – Jean Claude ALLANIC
- FRANCE 3 – Marie-Laure AUGRY
- GAZ DE FRANCE – Michel PRZYDROZNY
- LA POSTE – Pierre SEGURA
- MINISTERE DE L’ECONOMIE, DES FINANCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE- Emmanuel CONSTANS
- RATP – Cyrille de LA FAYE
- SERVICE UNIVERSEL POSTAL- Yann PETEL
- SNCF – Bertrand LABRUSSE
- VILLE DE PARIS – Frédérique CALANDRA
THE MEDIATORS OF PUBLIC SERVICE :
CAISSE DES DEPOTS
56, rue de Lille – 75007 Paris
75 tsa 75804 Paris cedex 08
4, rue Danton – 75006 Paris
110, rue de Grenelle – 75357 Paris 07 SP
FFSA (Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurance)
BP 290 – 75425 Paris cedex 09
Jean Claude ALLANIC
Maison de France Télévision
7, esplanade Henri de France – 75907 Paris cedex 15
Maison de France Télévision
7, esplanade Henri de France – 75907 Paris cedex 15
GAZ DE France
Médiateur Gaz de France
MINISTERE DE L’ECONOMIE, DES FINANCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE
Télédoc 215 – 75572 Paris cedex 12
54, quai de la Rapée – Lac A9A – 75599 Paris cedex 12
SERVICE UNIVERSEL POSTAL
Médiasup – Tour Gamma A – 75572 Paris cedex 12
41, rue de Londres – 75008 Paris
VILLE DE PARIS
9, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville – 75004 Paris