Funding for mediation and family conflict resolution – but not in Scotland

Two recent funding announcements support parents who want to settle disagreements without going to lawyers or the courts, but neither of them apply in Scotland.

The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme in England and Wales offers £500 vouchers to encourage more people to consider mediation as a means of resolving their disputes.  When parents attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) the mediator will will assess the issues which you seek to resolve to see if they are suitable for mediation and meet the eligibility requirements for the voucher scheme.

Another recent announcement was made by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).  Councils in England can now apply for funding to train frontline staff who regularly come into contact with families facing conflict, so that they can intervene at the right time to reduce friction between parents and help shield their children.

The DWP Reducing Parental Conflict programme is working with local family services, including health and social care, the courts and emergency services such as the police, to help them identify parental conflict, provide initial support and refer parents to further interventions such as therapy for a constructive resolution.

£3.87 million has been made available for this scheme, following a research study which showed that practitioner training in family conflict resolution should improve outcomes for children.

Given that there is no sign of such financial provision in Scotland, we would suggest that all the candidates in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections are asked whether they would support similar schemes in this country.