As from today, the UK truly parts company with its European neighbours: goodbye to free movement of people, goods, and services (and pet passports and EHIC cards) and hello again to duty-free shopping, visas, and residence permits.
I am myself proudly Irish, so I remain an EU citizen with everything that entails. Given, however, that UK Mediation (as the name implies) is principally based in the UK, we have had to think over the last few months about how to retain and foster the excellent relationships we have built up with our mainland European partners. Moreover, we have been working to ensure that our qualifications remain formally recognised across the EU, something that would otherwise end from today.
We are pleased to announce that from today, January 4th, our accredited mediation courses are approved by the International Mediation Institute (IMI). Our Mediation Practitioner’s Certificate is now an ‘IMI Certified Mediator Training Program’. IMI Certified Mediator Training Programs, or CMTPs, meet international competency criteria for mediation training excellence and individuals who complete CMTPs are able to become recognised as ‘IMI Qualified Mediators’.
As an IMI-certified mediator myself, I am particularly pleased that, after considering a whole range of possible forms of training recognition, we have decided that IMI met our needs very well, and we look forward to partnering with them over the coming years.
Becoming an IMI Qualified Mediator
Anyone who now completes and achieves the assessment on our Mediation Practitioner’s Certificate becomes recognised as an ‘IMI Qualified Mediator’, giving them an even higher international recognition than when we were in the EU.
This high standard comes in addition to our existing Level Four recognition on Ofqual’s ‘Register of Regulated Qualifications’ AND quality assurance through the ISO:9001 Quality Assurance Standard.
And the further good news for anyone who trained with us from December 1st 2019 is that there is also a process for retrospective recognition, so you won’t miss out if you trained with us within the last year or so.
What is the International Mediation Institute (IMI)?
The IMI, based in the Hague, is a non-profit initiative driving standards in mediation worldwide. They set and maintain standards for mediation, as well as building dialogue between stakeholders and parties, and disseminating skills for anyone involved in the use or provision of mediation.
Are there not similar UK-based institutes, colleges, or councils?
There are, but none that we feel our users and trainees would particularly benefit from.
Since the mid-2000s, legal practitioners have come to recognise that mediation is here to stay and they have begun to offer ‘Civil Mediation’. This is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that is a variant on ‘Evaluative Settlement Conferencing’ (and not to our minds mediation at all). Various UK organisations have sprung up and have produced their own self-accredited courses in ‘Civil Mediation’, again which are provided and undertaken mainly by legal professionals.
So, in choosing IMI, we are recognising that among the UK-based organisations we have researched:
- They tend to concern themselves with ‘civil mediation’, which we do not recognise as mediation
- Training standards tend to be far lower than we require. We already far exceed the fairly minimal level that these organisations ask for
- Surprisingly, there appears to be no requirement for external accreditation or third-party quality assurance of the training courses that the various councils, colleges, and associations require, so people can set their own standards
- There is a tendency for such organisations to be lawyer-led (nothing personal: some of my best friends are lawyers!), and we prefer to keep a clear separation between mediation and conventional (litigious, win-lose, evidential, etc) legal practices.
Are there benefits for EU-based institutions?
Definitely. And one of our drivers for gaining this recognition is to ensure that all of the EU Institutions that we have worked with can rest assured that their ongoing relationship with us is secured.
We are delighted to be adding this even further layer of recognition and quality assurance to our offer, and we look forward to welcoming individuals and organisations – both UK and EU-based – to become IMI Qualified Mediators with us.