If you have a complaint
Internal Complaints Handling Process
Olive Mediation Group actively welcomes both positive and negative feedback about our service.
It is essential to our business that we provide a service that meets people's needs and that we do so to the best of our ability. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the service you have received from us please tell us as soon as possible so that we can improve our service or take steps to investigate any complaint and take action to rectify the problem to your satisfaction.
Any client, former client or qualifying third party (see below) may make a complaint that relates to breaches of the Family Mediation Council's Codes of Practice or Standards Framework that occurred within the last three months. The date of the three months runs from the date of last mediation session. In accordance with the Family Mediation Council direction, complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to investigated (see below).
At the time of booking a case with us you will be notified of what you should do if we fail to meet your expectations.
If your concern is not dealt with initially to your satisfaction, you can make a formal complaint. We will acknowledge your complaint promptly, normally the same day we receive it and no later than 10 working days of receipt.
Your complaint will be investigated and dealt with by the Service Director, Simon Horne. He will contact you by phone to discuss your concerns normally within two working days of receiving your complaint and no later than 10 working days of receipt. He will talk with the members of staff involved, investigate whether service policies and procedures have been adhered to and he will send you a letter outlining his findings and any corrective action that needs to be taken, normally within 10 working days of receiving your complaint and no later than 30 working days of receipt.
All of Olive Mediation Group’s mediators receive regular external supervision and undergo annual professional training.
If our response through the internal complaints handling process does not resolve the situation to your satisfaction you may contact
a) For England and Wales: the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) of the Family Mediation Council (contact details below).
b) For Scotland: Scottish Mediation (contact details below).
These bodies will follow their published complaints handling schemes and they will inform you of the process and timescales. We will assist these organisations in full with any enquiries they make.
Documents and Record Keeping
We will ensure all documents and data relating to any complaint are kept confidential and only disclosed so far as is necessary for:
a) the investigation and resolution of the complaint;
b) internal review for the purposes of improving our practice and developing our training;
c) complying with requests from the Family Mediation Council or Scottish Mediation in the exercise of their monitoring and auditing functions.
A record will be kept of each complaint, all steps taken in response to it and the outcome of the complaint, together with a copy of all correspondence, including email, and all other documents generated in response to the complaint.
Complaints will be reviewed annually by Olive Mediation Group’s Practice Board in order to identify any recurring concerns or trends so that we can rectify them and put in place training requirements.
Qualifying Third Parties
The following qualify as third parties who can make a complaint against a mediator:
- A prospective client who has been directly affected by a mediator’s professional behaviour;
- A person who has been invited to participate in a mediation process, for example another professional who attends a mediation.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is common for a mediator to contact a potential mediation participant after seeing the other potential mediation participant. Complaints about a mediator making contact with a potential participant do not therefore need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB.
Likewise, mediators may sign court forms to say one person has attended an intake meeting or a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) without notifying a potential second mediation participant or inviting them to attend MIAM themselves. 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.
Please note that neither mediators nor the FMSB will be able to disclose any information to you that is confidential between the mediator and the mediation participant(s). It is therefore normal
that as a third party, you will only receive a limited amount of information in response to your complaint, even in circumstances where it is considered by the FMSB.
Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature
Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to be investigated by mediators.
Complaints can be considered vexatious when:
- the purpose appears to be to intimidate, disturb, disrupt and/or unduly or unfairly pressurise the mediator or the FMSB;
- they are persistent/repetitive, and repeating the same or substantially similar complaints which have already been investigated;
- they are clearly unfounded and unsupported by evidence;
- they are irrelevant and relate to matters other than mediation;
- abusive or offensive language is used.
Complaints can be considered of a purely personal nature if they are discriminatory or focus on the personal attributes or circumstances of a mediator rather than their actions as a mediator.