Thank you to all those in the community who participated in the recent NMAS Review Survey. The NMAS Review team is now in the initial stages of analysing the data. The NMAS Review Survey, along with the NMAS Effectiveness Survey, workshops, reference groups and other consultative opportunities will inform the recommendations we will make to the Mediator Standards Board (MSB) from the current review of the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS).
As part of our commitment to an honest, ethical and transparent process, new findings from the NMAS Effectiveness Survey are now available. Following on from the release of Part 2 of the Effectiveness Survey, Part 3 of the NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report is now available to download from the NMAS Review Hub and the Mediator Standards Board (MSB) website.
This blogpost provides:
a. Insight into Part 3 of the NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report
b. Background information
We welcome your thoughts and comments about the Reports!
a. NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report – Part 3
What have we learned so far?
Part 1 of the Report provides insight into who participated in the survey.
Part 2 of the Report provides insight into whether mediators perceive the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) as helpful in relation to six contexts.
Part 3 of the Report drills down even further into these contexts, and analyses them against four factors:
- the mediator’s primary area of practice (type)
- years of experience
- age and
Findings from the Part 3 indicate it has become ‘evident that some of these factors may indeed shape mediators’ perceptions of the NMAS’. In response to the main themes arising from the findings, Part 3 also includes six preliminary recommendations, signalling potential priorities for the MSB or its member organisations (MSB Orgs).
Here is a sample of the findings and recommendations contained in Part 3:
1. ‘Commercial mediators, conciliators and civil mediators are more likely than other types of mediators to perceive the NMAS as helpful’. This is surprising considering ‘community mediators, the group often most closely associated with facilitative mediation as described in the NMAS, were not as consistent or as positive as what some may have expected. For example, some may find it surprising that, while the numbers were small (8%), they, like FDRPs, reported the highest proportion of mediators labelling the NMAS as not helpful in connection to training and accreditation.’
RECOMMENDATION: ‘Identify ways to maximise the NMAS’s capacity in guiding everyday practice and promoting/developing mediation services irrespective of mediator type, level of experience or age.’
2. ‘The amount of time in practice or years of experience (YE) played a role in how mediators perceived the NMAS, with a number of statistically significant differences observed between YE groups regarding promoting and developing mediation services, promoting mediator credibility and promoting mediation as a profession.’
‘Notably, many of these differences centred around comparisons to the responses of mediators with 25–28 YE. This group reported the highest proportion of ‘very helpful’ responses in five of the six contexts.’
‘Curiously, these sentiments were often not reflected in the adjacent YE groups, prompting the question, “Was there a major change or event between 1993 and 1996 that may shed light on this group of mediators?”’. Part 3 of the Report makes the connection ‘that this period saw quite a surge in ADR-related reforms, including the establishment in 1995 of the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC)’.
Interestingly, ‘mediators with 17–20 YE had the highest proportion of respondents labelling the NMAS as helpful in developing services, participating in CPD, promoting mediator credibility and promoting mediation as a profession.’ ‘Again, the corresponding period between 2001–2004 coincided with the release of several seminal NADRAC papers, including ‘A Framework for ADR Standards’ (April 2001)‘.
The report states that ‘while correlation is not causation, it would seem remiss not to acknowledge the correlation between these pivotal moments in ADR and’ the ‘statistically significant’ findings, ‘as they are likely to be representative more broadly’.
RECOMMENDATION: ‘Celebrate the ongoing legacy of NADRAC and its potential role in shaping how many mediators perceive the NMAS today.’
3. ‘There was minimal variation between genders and no statistically significant findings. This suggests that gender is unlikely to influence whether the NMAS was perceived as helpful across the given contexts.’
RECOMMENDATION: ‘Acknowledge that gender appeared to play almost no role in mediators’ perceptions of the NMAS’s helpfulness.’
In late 2020, the MSB engaged the team at Resolution Resources to review the NMAS. We encourage everyone in the dispute resolution community to learn more about the purpose and methodology used to conduct this current review.
NMAS Effectiveness Survey
The Effectiveness Survey was conducted in March 2021. The purpose of the survey was to ascertain the extent to which MSB member organisations and mediators perceive the NMAS Standards to be helpful. It was also an opportunity to gather data about the mediation community, some of which informed design the recent NMAS Review Survey.
The Effectiveness Survey Report will be released in four parts:
- Part 1 – Participants
- Part 2 – Perceived effectiveness
- Part 3 – Other factors
- Part 4 – Mediator styles
To review the complete summary of findings and recommendations, we invite you to read Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Effectiveness Survey Report – available to download now on the NMAS Review Hub. The MSB is also releasing findings on their LinkedIn page and website. Follow them for more updates.
The NMAS Review Hub has been specifically constructed to provide up-to-date and transparent information about the review. We invite everyone in the DR community to visit regularly and/or subscribe to receive news updates and information about the upcoming NMAS Survey!
The NMAS Review Team
Emma-May Litchfield and Danielle Hutchinson
 Such as the Courts Legislation (Mediation and Evaluation) Amendment Act 1994 (NSW); For more information in reforms during this time see Tom Altobelli, ‘Mediation in the Nineties: The Promise of the Past’ (2000) 4 Macarthur Law Review 103.
 NADRAC papers including , A Framework for ADR Standards (April 2001), Principles on Technology and ADR (March 2002), Dispute Resolution Terms (September 2003) can be accessed via Trove, a collaborative initiative of the National Library of Australia <https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20191107002242/https://www.ag.gov.au/LegalSystem/Alternate
Fascinating data. So much richer than I expected from this process. I particularly value the recommendation to celebrate the ongoing legacy of NADRAC. We are part of our influences and it is worth celebrating.
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Thanks Rosemary. It IS fascinating!