Start Mediation Complaints Policy

 

 

It’s important to us that you receive a service you value. Here we set out our complaints policy and its timescales. If any of the timescales need to be changed, we will let you know and explain why.

Who can complain?

  • Former clients.
  • Prospective clients.
  • Anyone who has been invited by us to take part in mediation.

Who is the complaint made to?

  • To us.
  • If we can’t resolve it then to the FMSB (Family Mediation Standards Board).

What can a complaint be about?

  • Something that has gone wrong.
  • Our services or a bill.

What can’t a complaint be about?

  • It’s common for mediation services to contact people who are potential mediation participants: for example, a partner, ex-partner, or a child’s other parent. Complaints about making contact in this way do not need to be investigated by mediators and will not be considered by the FMSB.
  • Mediators can sign court forms to say one person has attended a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) without inviting the other person they are in dispute with to attend their own. Complaints about a mediator not contacting someone in this situation do not need to be investigated by mediators and will not be considered by the FMSB.
  • Complaints that appear to be of a vexatious or personal nature do not have to be investigated by mediators and will not be considered by the FMSB. They can be considered vexatious when:
    • the purpose appears to be to intimidate or disturb or disrupt or unduly or unfairly pressurise the mediator or the FMSB; or
    • they are persistent or repeat the same or substantially similar complaints which have already been investigated; or
    • they are clearly unfounded and unsupported by evidence; or
    • they are irrelevant and relate to matters other than mediation; or
    • they are abusive or use offensive language.

They will be considered personal if:

  • they are discriminatory or focus on the personal attributes or circumstances of a mediator, rather than the actions of the mediator.

How to make a complaint

  • Contact us at help@startmediation.co.uk and we will:
  • send you an acknowledgement within ten working days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure;
  • investigate your complaint;
  • invite you to meet us in-person or online to discuss the complaint – we will do this within 20 working days of sending you the email acknowledgement:
  • write to you to confirm what took place, recording any solutions agreed with you, within 10 working days of the meeting.
  • If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible to hold one, we will send you a written response to your complaint, including our suggestions for resolving it, within 30 days of sending you the email acknowledgement.  If you are not satisfied, you may contact us again and, if you agree, we will:
  • arrange for mediation of the complaint with an independent third-party mediator within a further 20 working days. Our arrangements for this include Elizabeth Tate of Divorce Jigsaw and Catherine O’Mahoney of DMS Mediation..
  • Within 5 working days of such a mediation, we will send you written confirmation of the outcome of your complaint, together with reasons. If you are still not satisfied, and have exhausted our own complaints process in the previous three months, or you have made a complaint and we are not responding:
  • You may refer your complaint to the FMSB in accordance with their complaints policy which can be read here .
  • The FMSB will consider complaints that concern breaches of the Family Mediation Council’s (FMC’s) professional standards set out in its Code of Practice, its Code of Practice for Professional Practice Consultants and in its Manual of Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework.
  • A complaint can be made to the FMSB by completing our complaints form. If you struggle to complete the form, you can ask someone to help you to do this or phone the FMC office on 01707 594055 between 9am – 3pm, Mon-Fri.
  • The complaint will be considered in accordance with set procedures and timescales. If it proceeds, it will go to a panel convened by the FMSB.
  • As a result of the complaint, the FMSB may take disciplinary measures regarding the mediator concerned. This may include a requirement for further training, attachment of conditions to the terms under which the mediator can practise whilst on the FMC Register, suspension or removal of FMC Accreditation, and suspension or removal from the FMC Register.

 

  • If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, it may be possible to appeal if the FMSB’s Complaints Panel did not consider relevant evidence, did not give sufficient weight to that evidence, or it did not follow the correct process.

 

  • The mediator and the FMSB will not be able to disclose any information to you that is confidential between the mediator and the mediation participant(s). It is therefore normal that, if you are not a client or former client of the mediator, you may only receive a limited amount of information in response to your complaint.