The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
People come to mediation for varying different reasons; sometimes it is just to ask for the MIAM certificate to proceed to court and others have a genuine interest to sit down and mediate over problems they are facing. Mediation for most of the public is an unknown service, where there is a lot of confusion and they generally only come across it when they see courts forms that tell them they need to attend. At that point there is a frantic Google search to see which mediator is the nearest and it is at this point that the good, the bad and the ugly are sat side by side. The public do not realise that basically anyone can say they are a mediator; worryingly, the industry has as much regulation as massage therapy! This makes the mediation market place dangerous for the unknowing public, because how can they tell if the mediator they are dealing with is one that can be trusted – they look like a mediator, they sound like a mediator, but are they a mediator? Most people don’t ask any questions, because at the time they are approaching a mediation service they experiencing acute family problems and are very vulnerable themselves.
It is without a doubt that the Ministry of Justice and the Family Mediation Council need to educate the public better. There is even general confusion as to what family mediation is, as the many think mediation is a form of therapy. With most professionals today, the public know to look for ID badges or check on a register to see if the person they are dealing with is a professional. The public need to start doing this for family mediators. Jan Coulton, Chair of The College of Mediators, which is one of the member organisations for family mediators, when questioned about regulations said, “There is definitely room for the public to learn more about the benefits of mediation and who is actually accredited to carry out this type of work. Accreditation by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) ensures that mediators have attained a certain prescribed standard and most importantly protects the public interest. Accredited mediators subscribe to a Code of Practice, ensuring that mediation participants are assisted in the right way, by competent mediators and that there are proper complaints systems in place when a participant is not satisfied. Unfortunately, if a mediator chooses not to become accredited to the FMC, then they will be working outside of the regulatory system without its benefits and this can have costly implications for participants. Only accredited family mediators can sign the Mediation Certificate for the C100 and form A. In my role, I work very closely with the Family Mediation Council and together we are encouraging all mediators to work within the FMC accreditation system. The College requires all of its practicing family mediators to be registered with the FMC as either ‘working towards accreditation’ (WTA). or as an ‘accredited mediator’.”
The easiest way to check if your mediator is accredited is by looking at the Family Mediation Council website www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk If you find your mediator on here it means that they have signed up to a code of conduct and are a mediation professional. It is important to also note that if you are requiring a Mediation Certificate for the Family Court, you need to ensure that your mediator is accredited to sign court forms. If a mediator is working towards accreditation, they will not be able to sign your court form.
Direct Mediation Services only works with mediators that are listed on the Family Mediation Council website, as it is committed to working with only the highest qualified family mediators, ensuring a truly professional service that meets the high standards set by the Family Mediation Council and The College of Mediators.
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