A safe pair of hands? – By Anthony Syder

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A safe pair of hands?

When working with families going through change, we feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that they receive high quality service and care. When you want to refer a client for mediation, many solicitors are wondering “How do I know that I’m referring my client to a quality mediator?”

Our top tips:

  1. Find a qualified mediator. Accredited mediators have successfully completed a recognised training course and undertaken observations and co-mediating before they qualify. Then each year they must complete regular training, work with a professional supervisor to maintain those standards, and keep up a required number of mediation hours. Qualified mediators must also have appropriate professional insurance.
  2. Find a member mediator. All family mediators must belong to one of the five organisations that together make up the Family Mediation Council. The Family Mediators Association (FMA) is one of the Family Mediation Council organisations.
  3. Find the right mediator. Use ‘Find a Mediator’ to tailor the search to your needs.  Both the FMC and the FMA websites allow you or your client to search the database of accredited family mediators.  You can filter by mediators who specialise in different aspects (finance, children), one who is local, one who is able to undertake MIAMs and Mediation Sessions remotely by video conference or one who offers public funding (legal aid). Our mediators come from diverse backgrounds and reflect the diverse families that we work with. As a membership organisation we are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion so that your client can find a mediator who can understand and empathise with their situation.
  4. Find an up-to-date mediator. Our mediators are supported by the FMA with frequent communication about best practice, standards, relevant policy updates and legislation changes.  Training opportunities also include areas such as ‘Effective Screening for Domestic Abuse in Mediation’, ‘Increasing empathy in your practice’, ‘How to talk with children in high conflict cases’ and technical areas such as financial, pensions and tax. This training and development assists with the mediator’s continued professional development and ensures your clients are working with someone who is right up to date.
  5. Find a committed, quality mediator. Our mediators comply with the Family Mediation Council Code of Practice.  The focus is on helping families to resolve their differences in a way that minimises distress to the participants and to any children; promotes as good a relationship between the participants and any children as is possible; removes or diminishes any risk of abuse to any of the participants or children and avoids any unnecessary cost to participants.

To find the right quality mediator for your client please visit: www.thefma.co.uk/find-a-mediator-near-you/

© FMA 2021