If the complaint is accepted, the National Contact Point (NCP) will offer assistance (officially called ‘good offices’), usually in the form of mediation or conciliation, to help the parties resolve the issues.

Mediation process

The mediation stage is supposed to last about six months – but it has often lasted much longer. During this stage, NCPs typically offer mediation services to the parties. Mediation is dialogue-based and intended to facilitate an agreement between the parties on the issues raised in the complaint.

  • NCPs usually offer video calls and sometimes in-person meetings, including one-on-one meetings with each party or joint meetings all together.
  • NCPs may provide mediation themselves or through a hired professional mediator.

Mediation may result in an agreement between the parties on all or just a few of the claims discussed, or it may yield no agreement. The NCP will conclude the discussion in consultation with the parties, usually after an agreement is reached or if the NCP perceives no further progress will be made in mediation.

Role of complainants

As a complainant, you should prepare for this stage in a few ways:

  • Think about your goals: you may not be able to achieve all of them, so decide which are your priorities.
  • Know your limits: Don’t compromise too much during a negotiation, and be ready to leave the discussion if it is not an effective mechanism to resolve the issues or you feel harmed by the process.
  • Try to understand the company’s goals, perspectives, weaknesses, and where common interests may be shared.

Complainants often wonder how much they may communicate about the case during mediation. We have developed guidance on transparency and confidentiality by complainants and companies during the NCP complaint process.

Role of companies

Because the OECD Guidelines are not binding on companies, companies can choose not to engage in the mediation stage or complaint process overall.

  • If a company decides to participate in mediation, the NCP will offer video calls and/or in-person meetings, including one-on-one meetings with the NCP or joint meetings with the complainant.

If the company(ies) does not engage or leaves the mediation before the complainants feel ready to stop, OECD Watch recommends complainants ask the NCP still to investigate the claims, make recommendations to improve the company’s compliance with the standards, and determine whether the company breached the OECD Guidelines. Contact us if you need advice on a company’s approach at this stage.