Stan Lester Developments
education and training systems
Family Mediation Council
Professional standards and self-regulation
This site contains information on the 2013-15 project to revise and strengthen the professional standards, accreditation system and other self-regulatory aspects in family mediation in England and Wales. The site is run by Dr Stan Lester, who was the project consultant; it is not an official FMC page.
The project was initiated in 2013 following a scoping study by Stan Lester, building on the McEldowney review of the functions of the Family Mediation Council. Its purpose is to revise and strengthen the systems and procedures used for what collectively might be called self-regulation – how family mediators are trained and approved, rules for admitting currently-qualified practitioners and those from other jurisdictions, the regulations for maintaining approval (including ongoing professional development), and the rules for responding to complaints and removing approval from mediators who act unethically or incompetently.
A major issue in family mediation (and concern of the Ministry of Justice) has been the lack of a clear designation for an approved mediator. A major purpose of the project has been to produce regulations for a single qualified status, designated ‘FMC Accredited Family Mediator’ (FMCA), which will be needed by all practising family mediators who are members of FMC member organisations – and which will be compulsory for mediators who want to undertake publicly-funded work or undertake and sign off MIAMs. FMCA will replace the current APC scheme, and mediators who are accredited via the Law Society will also gain FMCA. Mediators who are currently approved to undertake legal-aided work will transfer in directly, as will holders of other approved accreditation, both subject to being up-to-date with current membership requirements. Other changes that have been approved by the FMC include a common approval process for all family mediation initial training courses, replacement of the current ‘hours and points’ approach to CPD with self-managed ongoing development, and a three-year re-registration requirement both for accredited mediators and PPCs.
The FMC set up the Family Mediation Standards Board in 2015 as an arm’s-length body to handle matters relating to accreditation and self-regulation (in earlier papers this is referred to as the Professional Standards Board or Professional Standards and Accreditation Board).
An FMC announcement on the project and its implementation, and the final standards and accreditation document, are available from these links:
Standards and Assessment section on the FMC web site
This project has been funded by the Ministry of Justice.
Articles and presentations
Stan Lester’s presentation at the FMCA launch conference 3.12.2014 describing key changes to take place in 2015
Article ‘Professional organisation and self-regulation in family mediation’ (Family Law 2014)
Monograph Association and self-regulation in smaller UK professions includes family mediation as a case-study; this is also summarised in an article ‘The development of self-regulation in four UK professional communities’ in Professions and Professionalism (2016).
FMC and its member organisations
The Family Mediation Council is an umbrella body, constituted as a company limited by guarantee, comprising the six organisations for family mediators in England and Wales. Links to the FMC and each of its member bodies are given below.