The Mediator Standards Board (MSB) has announced it will work with Melbourne-based Resolution Resources (RR) to review the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) governing Australia’s professional mediators.

Originally introduced in 2008, the NMAS was last revised in 2015, and now, the MSB has decided to modernise the national accreditation standards in anticipation of a 2021 rollout.

MSB national chairperson Bianca Keys

This modernisation follows a comprehensive tendering process that took place earlier this year, with RR officially announced as the successful tenderer on 31 August 2020, which is set to make recommendations for the MSB by the middle of next year.

“With the developing nature of this relatively new profession, the MSB has chosen to revise the accreditation system over the next 12 months to ensure it maintains relevance and keeps up with the pace of change,” MSB said in a statement.

MSB national chairperson Bianca Keys said that the review does not equate to a rewrite.

“Rather, it is designed to address some interpretive, drafting, and operational issues that our members have pointed out in an ongoing series of consultations,” she explained.

“Resolution Resources brings exceptional international and local experience to bear on what will be an intensive process. We have every confidence they will ensure the NMAS is positioned to guide the profession into 2021 and beyond.”

Danielle Hutchinson and Emma-May Litchfield of RR say they are excited to be offered the opportunity to lead this very important work.

“It provides the chance for us to introduce an evidence-based approach to reviewing the NMAS standards that is [well established] in other disciplines, yet only in its early stages of application in dispute resolution,” the pair said.

Ms Keys said: “Mediation and associated processes are now firmly part of the rich fabric of our society. We must ensure that benchmarks for the training and best practice of mediators evolve and reflect the changing times and include some prefiguring of what is to happen in the future.”

“By engaging independent professionals with advanced research and consultative experience, we hope to build a solid evidence-based approach to this crucial system.”

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Release date: 31 Aug, 2020