Accreditation

Is your family mediator accredited status application deadline approaching? Do you know your date for applying? The FMC (Family Mediation Council) Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework is clear. The standards apply to all family mediators. Also, they apply irrespective of whether an application is made through the FMC or Law Society accreditation routes.

Trained by 31 December 2014

All family mediators who trained by 31 December 2014 have until 31 December 2017 to submit their portfolio.

Trained after 31 December 2014

All family mediators who trained after 31 December 2014 have 3 years – 36 months – to submit their portfolio.

Failure to meet the deadline

The standards are also clear on what will happen to mediators who have not gained accreditation within the period relevant to them. They will need to undertake further training as advised by the FMC.

Late application

Applications can be accepted up to six months after the end of the three-year period. But there must be an acceptable explanation for the lateness (for instance illness, bereavement, child birth or an unforeseen circumstance). If you know you are going to be away or indisposed when accreditation expires, you should apply in good time to meet the deadline.

Extended leave

Mediators on extended periods of leave may apply before or during the period of leave. The Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) will ensure that mediators who have a valid reason for not practising are not disadvantaged if their reaccreditation date falls within the period of leave. Late applications after the six-month period, or any applications that are late without good cause, will be treated as if accreditation has lapsed.

Refusal to accredit

Where an application does not meet the requirements set out above, the FMSB can ask for additional information, and ask the mediator to propose an action plan that will result in the requirements being met. Alternatively, following unsuccessful recourse to these measures, the FMC can refuse to accredit. The timescale for resolving matters relating to insufficient applications will normally be a maximum of six months, after which accreditation will lapse. This period will be extended if delays are caused by matters beyond the control of the mediator.

Abuse of system

The FMSB will ensure that the above allowances are not abused, for instance by mediators who deliberately submit an application that is both late and weak.

Get your portfolio underway now

So, get your accreditation portfolio started as soon as you can. Understand which route you are going to take. Download the forms and guidance and familiarise yourself with them. Speak to your PPC and ask them to check your systems and standard documents. Do all of this sooner and you’re more likely to be successful in your application.

I am Stephen G Anderson. I am a professional mediator and PPC.

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Stephen G Anderson, family mediator

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