Clause 8AA of Schedule 1 sets out the pre-hearing process that can be used by a local authority to clarify or resolve disputes or matters that arise out of submissions on a proposed policy statement or plan. This may be undertaken on request from a submitter or be initiated by the council. Councils can also, with the consent of the parties, refer issues (that were raised by submitters) to mediation. Attendance is not compulsory, although if a pre-hearing meeting is held, a report must be prepared and distributed to attendees and the local authority at least five working days before the hearing. The mediations must be conducted by an independent mediator.