In this resource, we look at the five Mediation Membership bodies. The membership bodies have members from all different types of Mediation, including family, civil, workplace, and SEND.
College of Mediators
The College of Mediators was set up in 1996 as the UK College of Family Mediators in order to regulate family mediation in England & Wales. In 2007, the Family Mediation Council was created, and the college began to look at the regulation of all types of mediation rather than just family including civil & commercial, workplace and SEND. The variety of mediation practice that is covered by the college is now reflected in both the membership of the college and the variety of organisations that now provide approved training for mediation.
Because of the complexity of the situations that mediators now deal with and the difficulties faced by people requiring mediation, the college believes that it is imperative that mediators are properly qualified and that they all have continuing professional development to ensure that they keep abreast of developments and changes within the profession. All Mediators approved by the College have to have undergone training that has been endorsed by the College and have to abide by the College’s Code of Practice. Training providers that can be found via the College have to have met the standards of the College. All mediators have to be properly insured and have an adequate complaints procedure. The College also has its own Complaints Procedure for cases that can’t be resolved with the Mediator involved.
The College of Mediators policy documents, such as Code of Practice, Complaints Procedure, PPC Code of Practice, Domestic Abuse Policy, Agreement to Mediate Guidelines and Consulting with Children Policy, are regularly reviewed and changed where necessary in line with current developments.
The College also creates standards in certain aspects of the mediation field, including disability and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability).
The Law Society
The Law Society was formed in 1825 and is a membership organisation for solicitors. The aim of the Law Society is to represent, promote and support solicitors. They are also there to ensure that they are protecting people’s rights to be able to access justice. They provide support, advice and guidance on areas of practice and management, support inclusion and diversity throughout the legal profession, campaign on issues of importance to both members of the society and the public and act as the approved regulator of solicitors to protect the public.
The Law Society also supports training solicitors as well as practising solicitors.
Access Mediation Services (FMA)
The FMA was established in 1988 to represent family mediators and is the lead body and founding member of the FMC, which seeks to regulate and develop standards for family mediators. The FMA offers comprehensive family mediation in a sensitive and professional way to seek resolutions of family disputes. They are publicly funded where appropriate and train, consult and act as a leader in the development of family mediation.
They can help people find skilled family mediators in England and Wales who have to abide by their high professional standards that are both developed and enforced for all FMA members. They also seek to educate about mediation and promote the values and practice of mediation as a useful way to resolve disputes.
National Family Mediation (NFM)
NFM seeks to help families in conflict, particularly those who are separating or divorcing. They are the original provider of family mediation and have a network across England and Wales of accredited services. They help families resolve practical, legal, emotional and financial issues that have come about as a result of separation with the aim of helping families make arrangements that benefit everybody, especially any children involved.
They seek to reduce the conflict of separation and avoid court, which can be both very time-consuming and costly. They are one of the founding members of the FMC, which regulates standards and practice in family mediation and works with the government to inform on issues of public policy which impacts how clients are able to use the service and how they are funded.
Resolution is an organisation of family lawyers and other professionals who believe in a constructive and non-confrontational approach to matters involving family law. They also campaign for improvements to the family justice system, such as accessibility and funding. They develop family lawyers through their training programmes, through their accreditation scheme, publications and good practice guidelines. They also train and accredit mediators and are the body who provide both training and support for collaborative lawyers.
All members of Resolution have to abide by their Code of Practice. The principles of the code, such as a non-confrontational approach to matters regarding family law, have been widely recognised, and the Law Society uses the Code as recommended good practice for all family lawyers.
If you would like to find out more about mediation, or if you feel mediation would be useful to you or someone you know, please book a free consultation.