Meet the Director
I was pleased to be interviewed for the April 2021 edition of Mediation Messenger about my role as FD of the Civil Mediation Council. The interview is below.
INTRO: Who are you, what is your experience in mediation?
My first experience of mediation dates back nearly 20 years. I had spent 30 years with a legal practice that acted for insurers and their policyholders. Those clients ranged from individuals to the largest multi-nationals. The process of resolving a dispute as quickly and economically as possible was always at the heart of pretty much every client meeting and all forms of ADR were “on the table”. The mediation of 20 years ago related to the “success fees” payable on Employers Liability Claims – an interesting process and collectively over the many years that they have been paid probably worth many hundreds of millions of pounds. Consequently ADR and mediation in particular have always been relevant and, perhaps a little belatedly as I planned my exit from legal practice I undertook CEDR’s MST course.
OFFICE: What is your task / area? What was your motivation to take on the responsibilities? How long have you been in office? How long have you been active with the CMC?
I had roles in my career as both Senior and Managing Partner. Perhaps that was part of the reason that Paul Adams approached me – or perhaps the fact that as part of the Organising Committee for the National Mediation Awards 2020 I persuaded some contacts to sponsor the event and some of the Awards! I am relatively new as a CMC Officer joining the Board in July 2020. I have been a Registered CMC Mediator since 2017. I have always thought that where you are prepared to share and contribute that you get far more back and I guess that was part of the motivation for coming on board: it is early days but so far that has proved to be the case.
OUTLOOK: Where do you see the CMC heading? What are the organisation’s plans for 2021? What are your hopes for the mediation sector? Or for society in general?
The CMC starts 2021 from firm foundations and it would be entirely remiss if I did not give credit my predecessor Stephen Barker and no doubt many more who have contributed to that. A charities financial position, as I said at the AGM, can be a barrier but also an enabler. Fortunately at present it is the latter. It enables us to review, risk assess and implement projects such as the new membership structure that supports a progression for all of our members from Associate status through to Fellowship. It also enables us to continue and develop our social media profile ensuring that we can spread the word about mediation and the activities of the CMC not just to the mediation community but beyond. This year we will also be developing and rolling out our new website which will, amongst a number of features, enable us to manage and renew our memberships more efficiently freeing up our administrative resource for other activities. This includes support for our Working Groups and Committees. Finally the reserves that we hold mean that in 2021 we can invest in research that will support our policy and advocacy agenda.
The CMC is a small charity – our turnover just edges in to six figures – but it has a bright future. I believe that we can help the development of mediation as an alternative that offers “better” resolution for those involved in disputes. I think too that this work and the other activities mentioned above will encourage new members to join us in that journey: and it is our membership which is our strength. My responsibility, finance is the enabler but it is our members contribution of their time, their wisdom and experience (all of which is pro-bono) that means that the CMC can support and develop mediation as the first ADR option for society.
The link to the original interview in Mediation Messenger is here