Family Mediators Government Voucher Scheme

mediation voucher scheme

Back in March 2021, the Government introduced the family mediation voucher scheme. The funding for it has now reached £8.68 million as of June 2022. 

Under the mediation scheme, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been providing contributions of up to £500 per family. The scheme helps to resolve family issues following separation and avoid contested court proceedings. 

The family meditation voucher scheme has been a rousing success, but why was it introduced?

How the mediation scheme started

When the voucher scheme was announced in March of 2021, it aimed to help at least 2,000 families. A total of £1m was pumped into the scheme to make family mediation an option for a larger portion of the population. 

When it was introduced, John Taylor, Chair of the Family Mediation Council said; “This government investment in mediation is much welcomed by the Family Mediation Council (FMC). It will help separated families agree on solutions that are best for their children, taking into account what is going to be important for them as they grow up. Family mediation is a proven cost-effective way to resolve differences following separation. This voucher scheme will make it even more accessible, and will help families resolve issues for themselves, without having to go to court.”

The FMC had expected the vouchers to be successful but possibly not to the extent they would inevitably be more than a year later. Because of this, within 6 months, the Government would plan their first increase in funding.

August 2021 increase in funding

The Government then reported that the scheme would be extended in August 2021 due to its impressive track record. It continued to help thousands avoid expensive courtroom battles, extra funding would be necessary to help more families settle disputes. Therefore, a further £800,000 was injected into the scheme.

At this point, an average of 130 vouchers were being used every week. The FMC also had been collecting data to show the scheme’s effectiveness. The data showed that three-quarters of participants reached a full or partial agreement on their dispute.

January 2022 increase in funding 

January 2022 saw another increase, this time an increase of around £1.3 million. Therefore the scheme had already tripled in under a year of the first initial investment. The funding then stood at an impressive £3.3 million.  

By January, 4,400 vouchers were used under the scheme, with 77 per cent of cases reaching full or partial agreements away from the family courts. January’s funding would provide 2,440 additional vouchers for mediation services.

The latest on the mediation voucher scheme

On the 3rd of June 2022, a press release from GOV.UK showed an extra £5.4 million in funding will help even more families to resolve disputes away from court, such as contact arrangements for children. It does appear that the chances of reaching a full or partial agreement have dropped slightly to 65%. That being said, it is still a significant result that makes the investment worthy of the more than double increase from January. 

Overall success

Mediation has been provided by Family Mediation Council Accredited (FMCA) mediators and the fund and so far more than 8,400 vouchers have been used.

GoodLaw and the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme

Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained mediator helps parents work out arrangements for children and finances following separation. Mediation can also be helpful when previous child arrangements need to change, particularly as children grow up.

GoodLaw Solicitors LLP family mediator, Jane Wells FMCA, is proud to be able to offer this service at the firm. Jane is a very experienced family mediator and comments “It is encouraging that the government are supporting mediation in this manner. I hope it will offer some financial assistance to separating parents to encourage them to participate in mediation as it can only benefit children if parents are able to resolve matters amicably rather than involve the courts.”

If you are interested in mediation or need some advice about the process, please contact the family law team on 01273 956270 or family@goodlawsolicitors.co.uk.