As with arbitration, the process starts by informing the other parties of the existence of the controversy. After failing to reach a settlement through private negotiation, the parties may agree to meet with a mediator in an effort to reach settlement. Mediation is an informal process where all parties participate in solving the problem. The mediator helps to identify, clarify, and discuss the events that led to the controversy. Mediation is centered on an educational process, where the mediator helps the parties to determine the facts of the situation, and to understand how similar matters have been resolved. The mediator tries to help the parties reach an agreement, but does not have the authority to compel participation in the process, and does not issue an award. The entire process is non-binding.