A Competency Framework to Clarify Benchmarks in Mediation

In March 2022, SIMI initiated its first major review of its mediation standards and accreditation schemes since the organisation was established in 2014. This review was a timely one given the growth in the volume of mediation training, increasing number of mediation services (domestically and internationally; though generally unregulated) and other developments in the mediation landscape.

This included Singapore’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements resulting from Mediation (“Singapore Convention on Mediation”) where Article 5(1)(e) arguably highlighted the importance of having a clearer industry understanding of standards given that a court could refuse to enforce an international mediated settlement agreement where there was a serious breach of standards applicable to the mediator or the mediation.

A focus group study was convened over two days to discuss a competency framework for mediators. The objective was to collaboratively build consensus among the Singapore mediation community of the competencies (as represented by clearly identified skills and behaviours) required of a professional mediator. Such competencies would form an objective basis from which professional practice standards amongst mediators could be defined.

The focus group involved 33 participants comprising primarily SIMI-accredited mediators, mediation academics and representatives of SIMI Registered Training Programme (RTP) partners.

From the focus group discussions, SIMI formulated the SIMI Competency Framework for Mediators, comprising 22 competencies. The framework will provide clarity and transparency on the skills and behaviours required of a professional mediator and support the professionalism of the industry.  The chart below shows an overview of the Competency Framework.

The competency framework was developed in alignment with the core values and principles of mediation, namely self-determination, neutrality/impartiality, the voluntary nature of mediation, confidentiality, safety of the mediation session and quality. It covers four main domains:
  • Mediation knowledge and process management
  • Relationship management
  • Mediation content management
  • Mediator self-management

To give greater legitimacy to these standards, SIMI has begun discussions with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to align the proposed competency framework taxonomy with SSG’s to enable the vocation of “mediator” to be placed on the national job skills repository and support the recognition of a mediator as a professional. 

SIMI will use the framework as a reference when reviewing its Code of Conduct. It will also continue to engage with the RTPs fine tune the details of the Framework, and subsequent implementation of same.