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Complaints About Mediators

The way in which complaints about mediators can be made is changing from 1 March 2022. 

Grounds and procedure for appealing to the FMSB after 1 March 2022

When can a complaint be made?

You may complain to the Family Mediation Standards Board if you have exhausted an FMC Registered Mediator’s own complaints process in the last three months.

You may also complain to the Family Mediation Standards Board if you have made a complaint to an FMC Registered Mediator and they are not responding to the complaint.

Who can make a complaint?

You may make a complaint if:

  • you are a client or former client of the mediator concerned;
  • you are a prospective client who has been directly affected by a mediator’s professional behaviour;
  • you are a person who has been invited to participate in a mediation process, for example another professional who attends a mediation.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is common for a mediator to contact you as a potential mediation participant after seeing your ex partner/your child’s other parent. Complaints about a mediator making contact with you in this way do not need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB.

Likewise, mediators may sign court forms to say one person has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) without notifying you as potential second participant to the mediation or inviting you to attend a MIAM yourself. Complaints about a mediator not making contact with a potential participant do not therefore need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB.

Please note that neither mediators nor the FMSB will be able to disclose any information to you that is confidential between the mediator and the mediation participant(s). It is therefore normal that if you are not a client or former client of the mediator, you will only receive a limited amount of information in response to your complaint, even in circumstances where it is considered by the FMSB.

Who can a complaint be made about? 

The FMSB can only consider complaints made about FMC Registered Mediators. You can check if your mediator is FMC Registered by using the Find A Mediators search here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator/

What type of complaints will be considered? 

The FMSB will consider complaints that concern breaches of the FMC’s professional standards. The professional standards are set out in the FMC’s Code of Practice, the FMC’s Code of Practice for Professional Practice Consultants and the FMC’s Manual of Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework.

How can the complaint be made?

A complaint can be made to the FMSB by completing our complaints form which you can download here. Once completed, please send this form and any supporting documents to complaints@familymediationcouncil.org.uk

If you struggle to complete the form, you can ask someone to help you to do this or phone the FMC office on 01707 594055 between 9am – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

What will happen once a complaint has been made?

The complaint will be considered in accordance with set procedures and timescales. If the complaint proceeds, it will go to a panel convened by the FMSB.

As a result of the complaint, the FMSB may take disciplinary measures regarding the mediator concerned. This may include a requirement for further training, attachment of conditions to the terms under which the mediator can practise whilst on the FMC Register, suspension or removal of Family Mediation Council Accreditation, and/or suspension or removal from the FMC Register.

If you are not happy with the outcome, it may be possible to appeal if the FMSB’s Complaints Panel did not take in to account relevant evidence or did not give sufficient weight to that evidence, or the correct process was not followed by the FMSB’s Complaints Panel.

Are there any circumstances in which my complaint might not be considered, even if it meets the criteria above? 

Yes. Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to be investigated by mediators and will not be considered by the FMSB.

Complaints can be considered vexatious when:

  • the purpose appears to be to intimidate, disturb, disrupt and/or unduly or unfairly pressurise the mediator or the FMSB;
  • they are persistent/repetitive, and repeating the same or substantially similar complaints which have already been investigated;
  • they are clearly unfounded and unsupported by evidence;
  • they are irrelevant and relate to matters other than mediation;
  • abusive or offensive language is used.

Complaints are of a purely personal nature if they are discriminatory or focus on the personal attributes or circumstances of a mediator rather than their actions as a mediator.

Complaints escalated from a mediator’s own complaints process before 1 March 2022

The FMC operates a final stage complaints process for complaints about breaches of the Code of Practice which were submitted to a mediator’s FMC Membership Organisation before 1 March 2022. If the FMC Member Organisation’s complaints process has been exhausted and you are not satisfied with the response, you can appeal to the FMC. The Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) has delegated authority to hear appeals on behalf of the FMC.

Who can appeal against an FMC Member Organisation’s decision?

An appeal may be considered from a complainant (whether a participant in mediation or in an initial meeting, or a third party who has reported a breach of the Code of Practice) or from a mediator who is facing disciplinary action.

On what grounds can the appeal be made an FMC Member Organisation’s decision??

  • The MO’s complaints or disciplinary procedure did not conform with the requirements set out in this document.
  • The MO deviated from its own complaints or disciplinary procedure.
  • The MO’s decision was contrary to the FMC Code of Practice and where relevant the FMC Professional Competence Standards.
  • The MO failed to take account of all the relevant evidence that was provided.

How can an appeal be made about FMC Member Organisation’s decision?

An appeal can be made by writing to the FMSB at fmsb@familymediationcouncil.org.uk.

What will happen once an appeal has been made?

The appeal will be considered in accordance with set procedures and timescales. If the appeal proceeds, it will go to a panel convened by the FMSB, which will consider it and make a recommendation to the FMSB.

As a result of the appeal, the FMSB may make recommendations to member organisations about its decisions or processes.

Where a mediator is guilty of serious or recurring misconduct, but has not had their membership revoked by his or her Member Organisation, the FMSB may also revoke a mediator’s FMCA status or remove the mediator from the FMC Register.