Our mediations are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Family Mediation Council for accredited mediators. This includes the FMC’s Code of Practice, Manual of Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework. We also work to the highest professional standards expected by the Family Mediators Association (FMA), of which we are members. Further information is available in our Terms, supplied to you before your MIAM appointment (if you are or have been a client) and your Agreement to Mediate (where applicable).
Please read this policy carefully as it explains how to raise any concerns or make a complaint.
Professional Standards, Concerns and Complaints
Who can complain?
- A client, a former client or a “qualifying third party” (see below) may make a complaint.
- A qualifying third party is defined by the FMC as
(a) a prospective client who has been directly affected by a mediator’s professional behaviour; or
(b) a person who has been invited to participate in a mediation process, for example another professional who attends a mediation
What can complaints be about?
- The persons identified above may make a complaint that relates to breaches of the FMC’s Codes of Practice or Standards Framework and that occurred within the last three months. If a complaint relates to the way a mediation was conducted as a whole, the date the three months runs from is the last mediation session.
What cannot form the subject of a complaint
- Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to be investigated (see FMC Complaints Procedure for further information).
- Complaints about a mediator contacting you as a potential mediation participant to mediation.
- Complaints about a mediator not contacting you as a potential mediation participant to mediation or signing court forms to say one person has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) without notifying you as potential second participant.
What to do if you feel you have a complaint
- Please contact us; pick the phone up if you would like to discuss things or drop us an email if that feels more comfortable. We would hope to resolve matters to your satisfaction internally and informally in this way, and so that mediation can still continue, if possible.
- Every qualified family mediator recognised by the Family Mediation Council is required to have a professional practice consultant (PPC). The PPC provides the mediator with ongoing professional support and guidance. We will inform our PPCs about any complaint within 10 days of receiving. If we can resolve your complaint with you on an informal basis at this stage, written records of the nature of the complaint and its resolution will be kept on file and then reviewed with the mediator’s PPC so that lessons can be learned.
- If we cannot resolve things informally in this way we will ask you to put the complaint in writing, if not done so already. We will provide you with a (further) copy of this procedure. We will also explain when you will next be contacted as set out below. Please bear in mind that we may need inform the other person that a complaint has been made at this stage so that they understand why mediation is paused. (We must do this if the mediator’s PPC considers that the other person needs to be informed.)
What happens after a complaint is received?
- Any complaints received will be acknowledged no more than 10 working days of receipt.
- Any complaints received will be investigated and responded to no more than 30 working days of receipt. Any complaint which cannot be investigated and responded to within that time may be given further time, but the complainant should be notified in writing of the extension and new response time.
- The complaint will be further reviewed as follows (i) by the mediator(s) concerned and (ii) with the mediator’s PPC. We will provide our PPC with copies of all relevant correspondence and documentation relating to the complaint for their review. We will then meet with our PPC for their independent view as to the complaint made and any feedback for the mediator as to what might have been done better. Written records of those discussions will be kept on your case file and our own professional records. We will contact you, usually in writing, to confirm how the PPC has advised to resolve the complaint.
What can I do if I am not satisfied with the response I receive to my complaint?
- Mediation is available (from a third-party provider not known to the mediator or the complainant) where both the mediator and the complainant wish to proceed on this basis.
- Or you may complain to the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) if: (a) you have exhausted an FMC Registered Mediator’s own complaints process in the last three months; or (b) an FMC Registered Mediator is not responding to the complaint.
- Details for how to make a complaint to the FMSB:
(a) complete the FMSB complaints form which you can download from the FMC website here: https://tinyurl.com/2s38hnjm Once completed, you should send this form and any supporting documents to [email protected]
(b) If you struggle to complete the form, you can telephone the FMC office on 01707 594055 between 9am – 3pm, Monday to Friday for further assistance.
The complaint will be considered in accordance with set procedures and by a panel convened by the FMSB.
What happens if my complaint is upheld?
17. You will receive a response to confirm this. The Complaints Panel must decide whether disciplinary action is appropriate and, if so, what action will be taken. This may include a requirement for further training, attachment of conditions to the terms under which the mediator can practise, or suspension or removal from the FMC Register.
What happens if my complaint is not upheld?
- The Complaints Panel may make recommendations for the mediator, even if the complaint is not upheld.
- The complainant or mediator may appeal the Complaints Panel’s decision on the following grounds (a) that the panel did not take into account relevant evidence, or did not give sufficient weight to that evidence; or (b) that the correct process was not followed; or (c) where the Complaints Panel’s decision was to take disciplinary action, the mediator may appeal that decision on the grounds that it was not proportionate.
All appeals will be considered by a Complaints Panel.
This policy was last updated October 2022.