Having tried to innovate and having had a lot of support from mediators and others we find to our disbelief that the Civil Mediation Council, under an email sent at 4.45pm on Thursday evening (i.e. just before Good Friday and during a pandemic when things are tough enough) has decided that online mediator skills training is not something they will support.
They wrote to us today after a "tip off" to say 'the CMC does not consider that these courses can be run remotely...' Why? Who has decided that? It isn't factually correct and it is anticompetitive.
We expect mediators to mediate online but we can't train them to do so? Where is the sense in that? As a trainer I have enough confidence in my ability to make sure that anyone who had undertaken one of these courses would be suitable to mediate on or offline. I now have to let 10 people who want to train to be mediators before the end of the pandemic know that they are unable to do so if they want a CMC accredited course. Defies all logic.
The CMC have tweeted today a chart outlining the differences between mediation face to face and online. They say:
"This chart highlights the differences between face to face and online mediation. Even without being able to resolve a dispute face to face, mediation can still be an great tool to address your conflicts!"
The chart includes phrases such as:
"Fundamentally, the mediation process is the same whether face to face or online"
It includes a quote from the author, a well known Australian mediator - Noam Ebner -
"Studies of online mediation have found it to be an effective means of resolving disputes".
It says twice, about online mediation that it saves time and travel costs.
The CMC also published guidance recently about how mediators should prepare for online mediation. Yet it will not allow its members to train new mediators who would be operating online?