News

Survey Results - Mediation Centre for Excellence in Wales

10 February 2014

Assessing the viability of a Mediation Centre of Excellence in Wales.

From Skills for Justice -

A new report from Skills for Justice aimed at assessing whether it is viable to develop a Mediation Centre of Excellence in Wales has led to a number of recommendations.

The research, which was conducted as part of the first phase of the Viability of a Mediation Centre of Excellence in Wales project, highlighted that the majority (67%) of the general public are aware of mediation, which marks a significant increase on previous years, and that mediation is becoming increasingly common as a means of solving disputes rather than simply heading straight to court.

It was also noted that there is clear demand for a centre of excellence within the mediation sector. A number of recent changes encourage referral to mediation, and may stimulate future demand: cost recovery in litigation is more difficult; an EU directive on dispute resolution will be introduced in 2015; and there will be compulsory mediation assessments in publicly funded family cases from April 2014; all of which further highlights the need for a centre of excellence where mediators can be thoroughly trained.

Overall, it was concluded that a mediation centre was a good idea, and that it should have both a physical and online presence. Other recommendations included that the remit of the centre should be widened to include all forms of dispute resolution, rather than just mediation, and that a stakeholder group should be established, including groups which have an interest in dispute resolution, such as Higher Education Institutions, professional bodies and Leadership and Management Wales.

Once up and running the centre’s key functions should include:

  • Engaging in the debate around standards and quality of mediators.
  • Developing better continuing professional development (CPD) for mediators.
  • Encouraging other organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Law Society to increase mediation training as the norm in professional courses.
  • Seeking to raise the profile of mediation and dispute resolution to support it becoming more mainstream in Wales, and include increased introduction in schools and communities.
  • Liaising with the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) about the forthcoming EU directive.
  • Seeking to develop a referral process connected with the judiciary and court system in Wales.

The full report can be downloaded from the SFJ website - www.sfjuk.com

The second phase of the research, which is looking at potential business models for such a centre, is ongoing until May 2014. Both phases of the research have been funded by the Sector Priorities Fund Pilot as part of the European Social Fund (ESF) via the Welsh Government.

For more information about the research please contact Alison Merrifield on alison.merrifield@sfjuk.com or 07741 249436, or Alice Tolley on alice.tolley@sfjuk.com or 07741 249440.