A £100,000 pilot of Family Mediation Training Contract grants has been announced by the Legal Services Commission (LSC).
Grants have been awarded to 14 mediation services across England and Wales, to increase the number of mediators working in legal aid.
The grant package sees the LSC commit to supporting a trainee mediator and the organisation they work for through both the Family Mediation Foundation Training Programme and the Competence Assessment Portfolio. This will allow the trainee to qualify to become a publicly-funded family mediator.
The number of publicly funded mediations has increased from approximately 400 in 1997/98 to approximately 14,000 per annum in the last couple of years, which demonstrates the growing demand for family mediation services.
In 2007/8, LSC funding allowed around 17,250 clients to reach agreement over a family dispute through mediation.
Commenting on the training grant awards, Carolyn Regan, the Legal Services Commission's Chief Executive, said, "It is vital to invest in the next generation of mediators now to ensure that we have a sustainable level of mediation services in the future. This pilot is an important step towards achieving that goal.
"The pilot is recognition of the growing emphasis on mediation as a quicker, cheaper and less acrimonious way of resolving family disputes than those that are settled through the courts. This is good news for clients."
The successful services are: