Audited for the Quality Mark
As a condition of being awarded contracts by the Legal Aid Agency to undertake Legal Aid work in Family Law and for Family Mediation, we have had to gain the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) and the Mediation Quality Mark (MQM). To gain these we have had to prove that we are a quality service.
Both require us to show that we comply with industry standards for business management and financial control as well as having in place good systems to manage the work of our clients of our clients. These include supervision and client care.
The SQM is independently audited by an independent organisation called the Centre for Assessment. The MQM is audited by the Legal Aid Agency itself.
We had to pass desktop audits before we could start work. These have been followed up by on site audits, including examination of our files. In the case of the SQM there were two visits. In the case of the MQM there was one.
The final visits for both fell a week apart at the end of September/start of October.
As previously posted, we passed both audits with flying colours. We provided a comprehensive demonstration that all of our systems are to the required standard.
Specialist Quality Mark
Our Legal Aid Contract allows us to offer family legal aid from our Honiton office. Ian is one of only three family law solicitors who are members of the Law Society Child Law Panel who are based in Honiton, from where he is able to assist clients in the Eastern part of East Devon (Seaton, Axminster, Colyton, Beer, Sidmouth and Ottery etc).
Mediation Quality Mark
The Legal Aid Agency has been the main driver of quality standards for family mediation. It is still possible for someone to practice as a family mediator after a 9 day course and with the “mediator” not meeting supervision or ongoing training requirements. That will change, as the Family Mediation Council is in the process of preparing a full regulatory framework, but it is likely to be at least a couple of years until that is finalized and effected. Until that point, the only way that a client can have absolute confidence in the underlying quality of a mediation service, is to choose one with a Legal Aid Contract.
For more information on the quality standards recognised by the Legal Aid Agency, click here; Link to Legal Aid Agency Website
Our Mediation service operates from addresses in; Honiton, Exeter, Taunton, Cullompton, Exmouth, Torquay, Totnes Plymouth and Okehampton.
We are the only Family Mediation service that is based in East Devon that has a contract with the Legal Aid Agency.
Our MQM Certificate is in our company name; “Family Law and Mediation Limited”, whilst our SQM Certificate is in our trading name of Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors.