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Online Mediation - Complaints Policy

​Purpose of this policy  

 

1. This policy explains how a mediator at Online Mediation approaches feedback and complaints from customers.  It explains the process to follow to make a complaint.  

2. Mediators affiliated with Online Mediation are individually responsible for the service they provide to you.  Each mediator will handle feedback and complaints raised about them in the first instance.  

3. All Online Mediation mediators are registered with the Family Mediation Council (FMC).   

4. In this policy, a ‘working day’ excludes a mediator’s non-working days, time on annual leave, weekends and Bank Holidays.   

 

​Informal complaints and feedback 

 

5. If the service you have received from a mediator at Online Mediation falls short, we want to hear from you.  All mediators at Online Mediation commit to engaging constructively with feedback, so that errors are put right and improvements made.   

 

6. ​Please raise concerns and complaints promptly by email to the mediator concerned, when memories are fresh and issues can be more easily addressed.  

 

7. The mediator will acknowledge your contact within 7 working days and provide a full response within a further 14 working days.   

 

​Formal complaints 

 

8. If we have not been able to resolve issues informally to your satisfaction you have the option to raise a formal complaint.  ​

 

9. Formal complaints must be provided in writing within 3 calendar months of the incident/action to which it relates, by email to the mediator concerned.  

 

10. ​The mediator will acknowledge formal complaints within 7 working days of receipt.    

 

11. It is important we correctly and fully understand your complaint.  We may ask to speak with you by phone or video call to more fully understand your complaint.   We may ask you to provide further information, detail or clarification by email.  

 

12. We will investigate your concerns and provide a written response within 1 calendar month of receiving your written formal complaint.  If we are unable to meet this timescale we will write to you to explain why and give an updated timescale.  

 

Internal review

 

13. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the mediator’s investigation into your complaint, you can ask for an internal review.  

 

14. You must ask for an internal review within 2 weeks of receiving the mediator’s full written response to your complaint.  You should request an internal review by emailing the mediator who dealt with your complaint.  

 

15. Your request for an internal review will be acknowledged within 7 working days.  

 

16. You will be notified of the name and contact details for the person who will be conducting the internal review.  This will be someone working with Online Mediation, but who has not previously been your mediator.  

 

17. The internal reviewer will provide a full response within a further 14 working days.  If for any reason this timescale will not be met, you will be notified as soon as possible and an updated timescale will be provided. 

 

18. The internal reviewer will have full access to your case file, documents and correspondence.  If further information or clarification is required, the reviewer will contact you. 

 

External review

 

19. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can ask for an external review. 

 

20. You must ask for an external review within 2 weeks of receiving the final written outcome of the internal review.  You should request an external review by emailing the internal reviewer.  

 

21. Your request for an external review will be acknowledged within 7 working days.  

 

22. You will be notified of the name and contact details for the person who will be conducting the external review.  The external reviewer will be someone independent of Online Mediation.  The external reviewer will provide a full response within a further 20 working days.  If for any reason this timescale will not be met, you will be notified as soon as possible and a new timescale will be provided. 

 

23. The external reviewer will have full access to your case file, documents and correspondence.  If further information or clarification is required, the reviewer will contact you. 

 

Miscellaneous

 

24. It may be necessary, in order to promote impartiality and trust in the mediation process, for there to be a change of mediator when a complaint is raised.  If this is to be the case, you will be notified in writing.  

 

25. There will be no fee for customers making a complaint, including internal and external reviews.  The Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) currently do not charge for examining complaints. 

 

26. For the avoidance of doubt, all mediators affiliated with Online Mediation are self-employed practitioners, not employees.  

 

27. All mediators have a Professional Practice Consultant (PPC) who supports them with their mediation practice.  Mediators will seek support from their PPC during a complaints process, and share information with them for this purpose.  

 

28. The Online Mediation Privacy Policy states that information may be shared for the purpose of dealing with a complaint.  This includes the sharing of information with an internal reviewer, an external reviewer, and the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) as required.  

 

Complaining to the Family Mediation Standards Board 

 

29. After completing the stages of a mediator response, an internal review, and an external review, we are confident that we will have been able to address your concerns and resolve your complaint.  However, if in your view we have not been able to address your concerns, you are able to complain to the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB).  Please note that the FMBS require that you have exhausted the mediator’s own complaints process before raising a complaint with them. 

 

30. Before raising a complaint with the FMBS, we recommend that you review the Annex below describing complaints the FMSB will not consider.  

 

31. For details regarding the FMSB complaints process, please see their website: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/complaints-about-mediators/  

 

32. Please note that the FMBS have their own timescales for raising and dealing with a complaint, with full details on their website.  

 

Annex to the Complaints Policy 

 

33. For convenience, we include below specific topics that may arise as a complaint.  Full information on the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) complaints policy can be found on their website.   

 

34. Contact from a mediator.  If you are seeking to complain that you have been contacted by a mediator, please note the view of the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB): “For the avoidance of doubt, it is common for a mediator to contact you as a potential mediation participant after seeing your ex partner/your child’s other parent. Complaints about a mediator making contact with you in this way do not need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB.”  

 

35. A mediator issuing a Mediator Certificate/Court Form without contacting other parties. As noted by the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB): “mediators may sign court forms to say one person has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) without notifying you as potential second participant to the mediation or inviting you to attend a MIAM yourself. Complaints about a mediator not making contact with a potential participant do not therefore need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB.” 

 

36. Complaints we will not consider.  In line with the position of the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB), we will not investigate complaints where, in the mediator’s view:  

a. the complaint is clearly unfounded and unsupported by evidence;  
b. where abusive or offensive language is used;  
c. where the purpose appears to be to intimidate, disturb, disrupt and/or unduly or unfairly pressurise the mediator;  
d. the complaint is persistent or repetitive;  
e. the complaint is irrelevant and relates to matters other than mediation; 
f. the complaint is of a purely personal nature, for example it is discriminatory, or focuses on the personal attributes or circumstances of a mediator rather than their actions as a mediator.  

 

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