The FREE Mediation project
MEDIATION, FREE AT THE POINT OF USE – EMAIL FMP@societyofmediators.com
The Free Mediation Project is a remarkable development in mediation in the United Kingdom, although it has its roots almost 20 years ago when the now defunct charity, MediationUK, set out to offer much the same resource to community mediation. Although the idea perished for want of funding, the Society of Mediators has, through research and a careful study following a pilot project in Devon and Cornwall, been able to launch in 2017 the revised FMP.
This is a mediation service that is free at the point of use for those who would not otherwise use mediation. There is no means test, nor any complicated forms to fill in. It is part of the Society of Mediator’s charitable mission and we have steadily accumulated funds to be able to launch and run the project.
The FMP is a simple idea – trained mediators, usually in their first few years of practice, will give their time for free to promote mediation and to gain experience. The Charity will administrate the caseload for free and will make sure that things happen correctly. It is insured to do so.
Often, mediators will have been trained by the Society, and it is a condition of use of the FMP that those using it allow trainee mediators (‘observers’) to watch the mediation under strict confidentiality rules. There will usually be two observers present.
Those using the FMP will be able to mediate for up to three hours with no charge. They must sign an Agreement to Mediate and have arranged a venue – unless they wish to mediate at the Charity’s headquarters at 218 Strand in London which will be provided for free.
Users must have agreed to use mediation – the Charity does not have the resources to have someone contact a proposed user cold, and persuade them.
Other than that – this is a straightforward and effective means of resolving disputes, at no cost. Businesses, individuals, clubs, firms, societies, workplaces, unions and others have agreed to use the scheme.
The FMP will look to work with a number of professions in 2017/8 offering mediation as part of their wellbeing commitment. It is an exciting and enterprising use of a superb tool, and wholly compatible with the charitable aim of the Society of Mediators.