New group will be "voice of mediation" in UK

05 Oct 2007

The launch of a new Ministry of Justice and Legal Services Commission-backed council will provide a structured voice for family mediation in the UK and help increase access to this increasingly popular dispute resolution tool.

The Family Mediation Council (FMC), launched on 1 October, will campaign for greater public awareness of and access to mediation, working closely with the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on family mediation related projects. The FMC will act as a unified body for family mediation to negotiate with government and other parties and will ensure that information regarding mediation is collated and made more readily available.

The FMC is led by the UK’s leading professional mediation bodies, including the Family Mediators' Association, family law group Resolution, the Law Society, National Family Mediation and ADR Group, who will ensure all of their family mediator members work to agreed minimum professional and training standards.

Spokesperson Sarah Lloyd says the council will provide a united and structured response to government family mediation initiatives, and will act as the voice of family mediation in the UK:

“The FMC will perform a vital role in developing public awareness and promoting the professionalism of family mediation through its member organisations. The council’s mission is to ensure that separating and divorcing couples have confidence in, and can benefit from, the true value of mediation.

“In addition, the council will be the accrediting body for both foundation and ongoing training,” she says. “The LSC has confirmed that all mediators will need to belong to a member organisation if they wish to carry out publicly funded mediation work, and the council will fulfil that role.

“For a long time, both the LSC and the Ministry of Justice have been pressing for a single body they can consult on family mediation issues. The Family Mediation Council - which has the full backing of both organisations - will provide this.”

Other organisations wishing to become members of the Family Mediation Council must have:
? a Code of Practice;
? a national register of practising family mediators who have received approved training to qualify for a practice;
? a system for supervising members’ professional practices;
? a complaints procedure;
? an equality and diversity policy
? a CPD system.

They must also provide access to approved training and have adequate funding to enable them to meet their share of Council expenses.