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FMC/FMSB Review of the Accreditation Process

This is an update from the Chair of the FMSB and Chair of the Accreditation Review Working Group to keep everyone informed of progress in the review of the accreditation process, which has been agreed by the FMC and FMSB to be the first priority in the overall review of family mediation standards.

In January we circulated a questionnaire to all family mediators asking for views on the process of achieving accreditation. We are delighted that this has elicited such a substantial response – some 300 from around 1200 sent out. This is an impressively high response rate, which provides a strong quantitative base for identifying key issues. Further, almost all respondents took the opportunity to add comments, thoughtful and detailed, which afford rich qualitative material that adds great value to our analysis of the issues.

We are enormously grateful to everyone who gave the time and effort to making these responses. The extent and depth of the contributions reflect the profession’s impressive commitment to maintaining and developing its standards. The quantitative results from the survey are summarised here, and if these prompt any comments or questions please get in touch with Helen Anthony (executive@familymediationcouncil.org.uk).

The Working Group (membership set out below) met on 3 April and spent half a day reviewing all the material. Discussions were lively, engaged, considered and positive. The Group concluded that the issues revealed would sensibly be addressed on two tracks:

–          As soon as possible, practical and pragmatic improvements to the existing system;

–          The strategic exploration of new models to make the whole process more fit for purpose in the longer term, the timing of which will depend on the nature of the reforms proposed and will need to be agreed through the FMC.

The Group is very keen that incremental improvements to address the issues in the current system that mediators find most challenging – without diluting the standards required – should be implemented as quickly as possible. It has agreed a list of measures that could take effect within the year to address excessive burdens in the current system, for speedy development and implementation, which we will circulate as soon as we can.

On the strategic front the Group is drawing up a set of key questions and objectives to explore at its next meeting in June, with a view to identifying the most potentially valuable options to develop further. Many of these flow from your consultation responses. It is clear from these responses that the pressures on family mediators are significant, and we need to ensure that regulatory requirements more appropriately balance the high standards required for the protection of the public with the viability of the profession.

All of this constitutes a large agenda, but given the investment of time and energy by the members of the Working Group and the evident commitment in the wider profession I am confident that we will make progress. Inevitably the more substantial changes will require careful planning, consideration and agreement and will take time, especially to ensure that any substantive change improves arrangements for accreditation and takes full account of those who have already started on compiling their portfolio. 

We will ensure that we keep you informed of progress; in the meantime we thank you for your continuing patience and we will welcome any views that you want to send in.

With best wishes,

Robert Creighton

Family Mediation Standards Board Chair



Chair: Robert Creighton

Allan Blake, FMC

Jan Coulton, College of Mediators

Adrienne Cox, FMSB

John Hobson, FMSB

Angela Lake-Carroll, The Law Society

Neil Robinson, FMA

Dan Ronson, FMC

Tim Whitney, Resolution




Amber Uba, for TLS 

Helen Anthony, FMC Executive Officer