Investing in the right mediator can offer significant benefits and economies
The mediation marketplace is complex and confusing with many seemingly credible claims. We have spoken with many organisations who have made the wrong choice. Here we provide advice and insights to help you make an informed choice.
- Choosing a workplace mediator
- Choosing a family mediator (Separation & Divorce under the Family Law Act)
- Choosing a family conflict mediator (Parents, couples, parent to child, sibling and extended family)
- Choosing a civil & commercial mediator
- Choosing a neighbour and community mediator
- Choosing a SEND mediator.
To secure the best service select a mediator trained specifically for your sector eg: workplace mediation. There are many generic mediation courses which claim to cover a wide range of mediation sectors. These often rely on a mediation model from a specific sector which may lack relevance or even carry risks for other sectors.
Choosing a workplace mediator?
Select a mediator that has been trained by a recognised workplace mediation specialist. This is not as straightforward as it may seem. Look at the mediator’s background and who they were trained by. Ask about the bulk of their mediation case experience. Many mediators claim high levels of experience but this can often be in another more legal context where relationships are ending, rather than in workplace mediation where relationships are ongoing. We can provide some test questions to help secure the best match for your situation.
Choosing a family mediator (Separation & Divorce under the Family Law Act)
The Family Mediation Council, College of Mediators, National Family Mediation, Family Mediators Association and Resolution all list recognised mediators who have been trained by approved providers.
Choosing a family conflict mediator (Parents, couples, parent to child, sibling and extended family)
This is a difficult area as there are very few training providers who specialise in this area. Many family conflict mediators have little or no training or have moved into this area from other sectors. This is a very different area from separation and divorce mediation and the skill set, value base and approach are very different.
Choosing a civil & commercial mediator
There are a number of organisations who list civil & commercial mediators. See the Bar Council, Civil Mediation Council, Clerksroom and ADR Group to name a few. This sector suffers the most from believing that its model is relevant to other mediation sectors. This sector operates closest to the law in situations where relationships are ending. This is very different from the informal, on-going relationships of the workplace, community and family conflict settings. The most consistent complaints we receive are where lawyer mediators have operated in workplace or community contexts. This is not to say that a good service can provided, it is more about the scope and quality of the outcome. Civil & commercial mediators are trained in dispute settlement, this is different from dispute resolution and significantly different from conflict resolution.
Choosing a neighbour and community mediator
The neighbour and community sector lost its umbrella body over ten years ago. The sector is variable in terms of quality, service standards and costs. There are some excellent services providing mediation at a range of price points. There are also services which provide quick fix compromises which rarely improve on what an experienced housing officer or police officer can achieve.
Choosing a SEND mediator
The Department of Education has recently conducted a standards setting exercise which provides guidelines on training, levels of case work, CPD and supervision requirements. SEND mediators have diverse training backgrounds and there are a variety of models and approaches that operate in the sector, ranging from dispute settlement to dispute resolution, with occasional expertise in conflict resolution. See the College of Mediators for standards.