Frequently asked questions about the
National Mediator Accreditation System
What is national accreditation?
National accreditation refers to the National Mediator Accreditation System, an accreditation standard and process as set out in the Australian National Mediator Standards. These standards have been developed by representatives of the mediation industry and were introduced on the 1 January 2008.
Is national accreditation compulsory?
No, it is voluntary. LEADR encourages people to become accredited as we believe that national accreditation will help to raise the standard of mediation practice and provide greater certainty and accountability to consumers.
What is an RMAB?
An RMAB is a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body. RMABs must meet the requirements set out in the Approval Standards.
Is LEADR an RMAB?
Yes, LEADR is an RMAB and meets the requirements set out in the Approval Standards. As an RMAB, LEADR is able to accredit mediators to the National Standards.
How much does it cost to gain national accreditation?
LEADR does not charge an application fee for LEADR members or for those who intend to become LEADR members. However, to be nationally accredited (or re-accredited), the Mediator Standards Board requires you to pay a registration fee of $100 (inclusive of GST). The Mediator Standards Board has arranged for RMABs such as LEADR to collect this fee, retaining $10 to contribute towards the costs of collection and to remit the remaining $90 to the MSB. Find out more about the nationally accredited mediator registration fee >>
Why does the ‘no application fee’ only apply to LEADR members or mediators intending to become LEADR members?
To set up the internal system for national accreditation and then process the applications has required significant resources. LEADR views this resource allocation as a member benefit supported by members’ fees.
Is LEADR membership necessary to become nationally accredited? The National Standards require that mediators need to be able to show “evidence of membership or a relationship with an appropriate organisation …” LEADR is one such organisation. So LEADR membership enables you to meet this requirement for national accreditation.
Once I am nationally accredited, what are the benefits of LEADR membership and accreditation?
In addition to requiring ongoing membership of an appropriate organisation for national accreditation, LEADR membership has a host of benefits:
listing on LEADR’s website
access to competitively-priced professional indemnity and public liability insurance
e-newsletter Update with a range of articles, news and podcasts about ADR developments, practices and insights
continuing professional development (CPD) through network meetings and workshops including local skills-based, with international speakers and in emerging areas of ADR
access through LEADR’s website to resources such as online articles and podcasts
opportunity to role play in video assessments
representation and promotion of ADR at a national and state level, and being part of an organisation committed to develop services for its members.
What is the fee for membership once I am accredited?
$260 per annum as a Practitioner member.
Can I be grandfathered in?
If you have been a practising mediator, you may apply to be recognised as ‘experience qualified’. For this, you will have to provide evidence that you meet the requirements of national accreditation. For many practising mediators, this will be a straightforward process.
What does ‘experience qualified’ refer to?
‘Experience qualified’ refers to those who have worked as mediators prior to 1 January 2008, and who have experience, training, and education that satisfies an RMAB that they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understandings set out in the core competencies (see the Practice Standards), and
have met the continuing accreditation requirements in the 24 months prior to making an application, or
are resident in a linguistically and culturally diverse community for which specialised skills and knowledge are needed and/or from a rural/or remote community where there is difficulty in attending a mediation course or attaining tertiary or similar qualifications.
How can I satisfy an RMAB that I have the training, and education that has equipped me with the skills, knowledge and understandings set out in the core competencies (see the Practice Standards)?
As an RMAB, LEADR will review the material covered in the training that you have completed and any independent assessment of your skills that you have undertaken (eg in a video or live role play or actual mediation). We will also review such evidence as you provide relating to your practice experience, your CPD, any supervision or mentoring you have received, as well as references from co-mediators or evaluations from those who have participated in your mediations.
How many mediations must I have conducted to be recognised as ‘experience qualified’?
You will need to have conducted 25 hours of mediation. If you do not have 25 hours, then you can delay applying until you do.
Do I have to have been the sole mediator in these mediations?
No. mediation, co-mediation or conciliation all count towards mediation practice hours.
What if I qualified in the last two years and don’t have 25 hours of mediations?
If you have only qualified in the last two years or if you meet certain other criteria, you only need 10 hours of mediation practice.
Once I’m nationally accredited, how many mediations do I have to do to maintain my accreditation?
25 hours in the following 24 months unless you meet certain criteria, such as being in a remote location or having been ill.
How much Continuing Professional Development (CPD) must I have completed to be accredited to the National Standards?
If you are applying to be recognised as ‘experience qualified’, you will need to have completed 20 hours of CPD.
If I am not applying to be recognised as ‘experienced qualified’, how much training do I need to complete to meet the threshold training requirements? The training course needs to be at least 38 hours long. The System also specifies, amongst other things, the time over which the training can be completed, the credentials of the trainers, the ratios of coaches to participants, the number of role plays required and the content to be covered.
Once I have completed the training can I be nationally accredited?
The Standards also require that you successfully complete a 1.5 hour simulation in which you role play as a mediator. This simulation can be live or recorded and must be assessed by either a different member of the training team or an person independent of the training team.
I’ve recently completed a 38+ hour training course and passed the video assessment, how much CPD do I need?
You don’t require CPD to apply now, however over the next 24 months before your re-accreditation you will require 20 hours of CPD.
Once I’m nationally accredited, how much CPD do I need to do to maintain my accreditation?
20 hours in every 24 month period.
What counts as CPD?
There is a range of activities that count as CPD. You can do up to 20 hours of attending ADR courses and workshops or up to 20 hours of a combination of attendance at courses, giving papers at ADR workshops, professional supervision, coaching trainee mediators, role playing for trainee mediators and mentoring newly accredited mediators.
I attended a 3 day conference. Will this suffice as my 20 hours of CPD?
In general, no. LEADR’s interpretation of the National Standards means we accept a maximum of 8 hours for a conference unless otherwise specified eg in the case of 'kon gres 2011 where the conference content was particularly interactive. Otherwise, the other hours need to be made up of other activities.
Can I count refresher training towards my CPD?
Can I count the initial mediation training I took as my CPD?
No. The initial mediation training meets the threshold requirements for education and training under the Standards. CPD refers to the training and education you take after you have completed the threshold training and education requirements, on a continuing basis.
Does the CPD only count after I gained LEADR accreditation?
To be recognised as ‘experience qualified’, you will need to have completed 25 hours of mediation experience along with 20 hours of CPD in the 24 months prior. This is independent of when you gained LEADR accreditation.
I have studied and taught mediation. Can I be recognised as ‘experienced qualified’ even though I don’t conduct mediations?
No, to be recognised as ‘experience qualified’, the Standards require that you have conducted 25 hours of mediations in the in the 24 months before you gain national accreditation (or 10 hours if you have qualified in the past two years or meet other criteria). Before you apply, you need this experience or contact LEADR to discuss alternatives such as additional training, and/or a video and written assessment.
I regularly conduct mediations, far in excess of the 25 hours required by the System. But I have not participated in any CPD in the past 24 months. Can I be recognised as ‘experienced qualified’ even though I don’t do CPD?
No, to be recognised as ‘experience qualified’, the Standards require that you have attended 20 hours of CPD in the 24 months before you gain national accreditation.
You can start accruing your CPD now and when you have sufficient, you can apply for national accreditation.
What if I offer advice when I am mediating?
If you offer advice in areas such as law, architecture or accounting, then you are probably conducting what the Standards call a ‘blended process’. To be accredited to do this, you will need to provide evidence of your qualifications, and experience in the area in which you give advice and proof of your membership of a relevant professional body.
If you offer advice only about process, then there are no special requirements.
I took my training in 2001, does it still count?
Each person’s situation needs to be reviewed on an individual basis. The best way to find this out is to complete an application form and submit it to LEADR. LEADR will review the training and assessment that you have completed, your experience mediating and the CPD that you have done.
Then LEADR will advise whether you already meet the requirements for national accreditation or whether you need to do additional training and/or assessment.
I was assessed as part of the training I did in 1998, does that count?
Each person’s situation needs to be reviewed on an individual basis. As with the case above, the best way to find this out is to complete an application form and submit it to LEADR.
If I’m already LEADR Accredited how long will review of my application take?
Approximately 3-5 days.
I’m not already LEADR Accredited, how long will review of my application take?
As the application needs to go to the Accreditation committee, which meets every 6-8 weeks, you would receive a response in up to 8-9 weeks at the maximum. However, if you submit close to the meeting date, it will be more like 2 weeks.
Can LEADR make an exemption for my situation?
LEADR has not created the requirements. We are administering the Standard that has been settled on nationally. LEADR is keen to be exemplary in the way that we implement the standard so that all mediators we accredit have met the criteria. In this way, mediators accredited by LEADR will continue to be highly regarded. So no, LEADR will not be providing exemptions.
What is the difference between LEADR accreditation and national accreditation?
The requirements for education and training, assessment and experience are essentially the same. Additionally the national accreditation requires some evidence of good character, of relevant insurance, statutory indemnity or employee status and an agreement to comply with any relevant legislation and the Practice and Approval Standards.
Do I need both?
Both LEADR and national accreditation are voluntary. Legally you can practice as a mediator without accreditation. However, many panels, mediation referrers and parties in the past have required accreditation by a reputable agency. LEADR believes that this will be increasingly the case in the future.
What is the benefit of having LEADR Accreditation as well as national accreditation?
The intention is that the NMAS will be the threshold standard for mediators. Your LEADR Accreditation or LEADR Advanced accreditation may carry additional quality assurance for those who trust the LEADR brand.
What will happen if I put off getting accredited?
The Mediator Standards Board is responsible for the ongoing development and administration of the Standards. We envision that the thresholds that have been established will be maintained. So if you apply for accreditation in the future, it is likely that you will need to fulfill the same or similar requirements that you are required today. However, there is no guarantee that the requirements will not develop or change over time.
What will happen to my accreditation status if I do not renew my LEADR membership?
The National Mediator Accreditation System requires that mediators accredited under the System can show “evidence of membership or a relationship with an appropriate organisation …” Maintaining your LEADR membership will enable you to meet this requirement. If you let your LEADR membership lapse, then you will need to provide evidence of membership of a different organisation for your national accrediation to remain current.
If I’ve been nationally accredited by another organisation, does LEADR recognise this accreditation?
LEADR will recognise that you have been nationally accredited by another organisation, will request your certificate or letter of accreditation and keep a record of the date of your national accreditation. If you wish to take advantage of the services and benefits that LEADR offers its members, then you will need to become a member of LEADR.