What is the difference between the FMC and the FMA?

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What is the difference between the FMC and the FMA?

So many acronyms, so little clear information!

These two organisations are quite different but have very similar names – and to make matters worse there is some overlap in terms of the work they do. Both organisations work hard to promote family mediation (which is why both have ‘FM’ in their names!) Perhaps even more confusingly, although neither organisation itself provides families with family mediation services, both organisations work with and for family mediators.

FMC stands for the Family Mediation Council, which regulates family mediators and represents the profession in talks with government and other professional bodies. It is made up of five national organisations; all five, as you would expect, have an active interest in family mediation.

FMA stands for the Family Mediators Association and is one of those five member organisations (along with the College of Mediators, the Law Society, National Family Mediation and Resolution).  FMA represents its members and promotes a particular approach to family mediation. FMA asks its members to meet certain standards but isn’t involved directly in setting standards for the profession as a whole.

The FMC is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting mediation as an option for families affected by the breaking down of family relationships. It functions through the member organisations, and with lots of support from volunteers (many of whom are not practising mediators) and from paid staff. The FMC is dedicated to promoting best practice in family mediation. It does this:

  • by maintaining a register of mediators;
  • by setting standards for the training and professional practice of registered mediators;
  • by ensuring that the standards it sets are met;
  • by providing advice and information about mediation; and
  • by representing the profession with government and other organisations.

Only mediators registered with the FMC are permitted to sign the mediation page of family court forms.

The FMA is a charity and membership organisation dedicated to representing its members and to promoting the membership’s particular approach to family mediation. All full members join as individuals and all are required to be practising family mediators. There are currently over 320 full members. FMA members either work on their own, or as part of a larger family mediation service – they may even work with family mediators from other membership organisations. They have chosen to join FMA because they believe in what FMA does. FMA is run by elected representatives and other volunteers, with lots of support from paid staff. As a membership body, FMA’s main concern is to help its members to provide high quality family mediation services to families in dispute. It does this:

  • by helping families in dispute find and make use of members’ family mediation services;
  • by promoting a sense of community among members;
  • by giving members a voice;
  • by offering high quality training;
  • by providing support to members, and
  • by representing members with the regulatory body, the FMC

In a nutshell

FMC sets standards for, promotes and represents at a national level all registered family mediators;

FMA supports and trains its members, helping them to provide a particular type of family mediation to high standards, and also represents its members with the FMC!