Last updated: 27th October 2015
What are the Family Mediation Council (FMC) and the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB)?
The Family Mediation Council is the umbrella body for family mediators in England and Wales. It is made up of six organisations with family mediator members – the ADR Group, the College of Mediators, the Family Mediators’ Association, National Family Mediation, the Law Society, and Resolution. These are referred to as the member organisations (MOs) of the FMC. The FMC is a company limited by guarantee governed by a Board of Directors made up of one representative of each MO along with two independent directors.
The Family Mediation Standards Board is an operationally independent board of the FMC, responsible for implementing the non-statutory regulation framework for family mediators (‘the Standards Framework’). Most of the FMC functions relating to registration and accreditation are the responsibility of the FMSB. The FMSB has three mediator members, who represent the family mediation community as a whole, and three non-mediator members.
I am already a member of a family mediators’ organisation, do I have to register?
We are working towards a position where all practising mediators in the six FMC member organisations (MOs) are also directly registered with the FMC, and either hold or are working towards FMCA (FMC Accredited Family Mediator). Registration enables the FMC to carry out the functions of a self-regulating profession, which are increasingly vital to its credibility with the Ministry of Justice, courts and other stakeholders.
You must register if you wish to hold or work towards FMCA status (see below), or appear on the ‘Find a Mediator’ search facility on the FMC website. In order to register, you need to be a current member of an FMC MO.
What is FMCA and how does it relate to registration?
FMCA (FMC Accredited Family Mediator) is the professionally qualified status for family mediation that has been agreed in the Standards Framework, representing the ability to practise proficiently and ethically as a family mediator. It is achieved via FMC-approved foundation training, a period of supported practice, and a final assessment conducted by the FMC or conducted by the Law Society and agreed by the FMC.
Unlike a permanent qualification that you hold for life once it is achieved, FMCA can be given up voluntarily, or revoked for malpractice or if your registration lapses. Even if you have already qualified via the APC scheme or one of the MO’s accreditation schemes, you need to register with the FMC in order to use the title FMCA.
You will need to hold FMCA in order to undertake legal-aid work or (subject to final confirmatory discussion between the FMC and Family Justice Council) conduct statutory MIAMs.
Were we given notice of the need to register?
The MOs agreed the Standards Framework towards the end of 2014 and a number of FMC communications were sent to the MOs in order for them to ensure that their members were made aware of the new framework and its requirements. The FMC website has contained all of the relevant information since the beginning of 2015.
You’ve changed the requirements.
We haven’t changed the basic requirements that all appropriately trained family mediators should register, and become accredited within a given period of time; this was agreed in 2014 as part of the Standards Framework. In fact we have ensured that no mediator who wishes to obtain the qualification is left out.
What will you do with the information you are requesting?
Some of the information is basic identification and contact information which we already hold on the database (but which now needs to be confirmed or updated). Some of the information we have asked for will enable us to get a much better idea of how much mediation is being carried out. This will help us to decide how best to develop the profession in collaboration with you.
Basic details (name, registration number, whether accredited, and whether the accreditation is subject to any additional qualifications or restrictions) will be available to enquirers who wish to check whether a particular mediator is registered and/or accredited. You may opt not to have your information placed on the ‘Find a Mediator’ search facility. All information is held and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
What happens if I don’t register?
If you don’t register by 30th November 2015 your name will be removed from the ‘Find a Mediator’ search facility and the public will not be able to find you this way. As outlined above, you will not be able to hold FMCA or carry out statutory MIAMs or legally aided work.
Do I have to belong to my member organisation and register with the FMC?
You are a member of your membership body but you register with the FMC. Your body gives you support, representation and membership of a community of practice. Your registration with us demonstrates your professional commitment to excellent standards and allows you to be recognised as a mediator who comes within the profession’s voluntary regulation framework.
Can I defer registration or take a break?
If you decide not to register by 30th November 2015 then you will be taken off the website and it will be assumed that either you are no longer working as a mediator or you continue to do so but as an unregulated mediator. If you plan to take a break from your mediation practice because of maternity leave, long term sickness or another reason please contact us so that we can amend your records accordingly.
Who is eligible to become an FMCA immediately on registration?
In order to ‘transfer in’ to FMCA, you will need to be a practising mediator member of one of the FMC MOs, and also have passed the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) or one of its predecessors that was recognised for legal aid purposes, or hold Law Society or Resolution accreditation or FMA Senior Mediator status.
I’m not eligible to become an FMCA on registration. When do I need to become accredited?
If you passed an approved foundation course in family mediation before the start of 2015 (i.e. run by one of the FMC MOs, or approved by the former UK College of Family Mediators or the current College of Mediators), you have until the end of 2017 to be assessed for FMCA. If you pass your course in 2015 or later, you will have three years from the date your course ends to be assessed. An extension of no more than two years is possible if you have a valid reason for taking a break from mediation. In both cases you can use either the FMC route or the FMC-approved Law Society route.
If you are an experienced family mediator and current MO member but never completed an approved foundation course, you have until the end of 2016 to apply under the non-standard entry procedure. Your individual circumstances will be assessed by a panel of the FMSB, and you will need to complete a portfolio for assessment in the normal way.