Name Change: “IMI Accredited” becomes “IMI Qualified”

In January of this year we rolled out the possibility for organisations that deliver mediator skills training to have their training programs recognised as IMI “Certified Mediator Training Programs” (CMTPs).  Mediators who complete such programs were to be known as “IMI Accredited”, as the first step in their mediation career. This first level will now be known as “IMI Qualified“. There is no change to “IMI Certified”, which remains the certification for highly-experienced mediators.

The IMI Mediation Career Pathway

It is not necessary to be “IMI Qualified” to later become “IMI Certified” – other training may suffice, as long as the person meets the assessment requirements. Organisations can become both QAPs and CMTPs, but an organisation which is a QAP only cannot vet people as “IMI Qualified”. Keep an eye on our website in the next 10 days for an announcement of the first wave of approved CMTPs.

Remember, if you are IMI Qualified, you can join IMI’s Young Mediators Initiative and benefit from associated opportunities and mentorship–this will help you with ‘Stage 2’ of your mediation career, as you head towards eventual IMI Certification.

Why this change?

In the time since roll-out of CMTP applications, several issues have been raised by stakeholders:

  1. Nomenclature – “IMI Accredited” was thought not to be clearly distinguished from “IMI Certified”, and in some instances clashed with local jurisdictions’ use of the term
  2. How CMTPS and QAPs, and IMI Accreditation and Certification, fit together
  3. Quality control and integrity (i.e. no “pay to play”)

IMI held its annual face-to-face Board meeting in London 25-26 June, and these issues were discussed extensively, incorporating feedback. These are the steps that have been taken:

1. Nomenclature

Concerns were raised that:

  • “IMI Accredited” and “IMI Certified” were too close, and might cause confusion for users
  • This could present a risk to the IMI brand, and additionally, to the QAPs who assess people as IMI Certified
  • The use of word “Accreditation” was not in line with the International Standards Organisation or other best practices

IMI were also concerned to ensure that:

  • Any replacement term could be translated into a range of languages, and retain differences between the level of ‘just trained’ and ‘highly experienced’
  • The term used was not field-specific (e.g. ‘associate’)
  • The strong branding around ‘IMI Certified’ was retained
  • The term was meaningful
  • The term did not imply claims (‘IMI Trained’ would suggest IMI provided training, which we do not and will not; ‘IMI Accredited’ suggests IMI is an accreditation body, whereas accreditation is normally a national competence)

Several options were put forward, incorporating stakeholder suggestions.  The term that has been selected is IMI Qualified.  “IMI Qualified” now replaces the terminology “IMI Accredited”, and IMI website and email content will be amended shortly to reflect that.

2. IMI Environment

One other point of concern has been in relation to how different components of IMI certification fit together.  To enhance clarity, we have drafted the following diagram.  Existing text will also be reviewed, and we continue to work on improving communications.

Note that the text in the right-hand column indicates independence and quality controls; the “Committees and Taskforces” (CATs) policy alluded to is in the final stages of formalisation, and will be made publicly available in the very near future.  The bottom half of the diagram will be featured on user and practitioner-focused pages on the IMI website.

The IMI environment

3. Quality control and integrity

After feedback from stakeholders:

  • We all wish to ensure that IMI, and IMI Certification, retains its independent and irreproachable status
  • There could be a conflict of interest in accepting money for a training course that results in any form of qualification
  • At the moment ways of redressing this in the criteria includes use of independent assessors who are not affiliated with the training organisation.
  • IMI seeks to continue its mission of spreading mediation standards and professionalisation

To ameliorate risks and safeguard IMI’s ongoing identity, we are taking the following actions:

  1. All CMTPs will be audited biennially (already in place).  Feedback received about that CMTP will be taken into account, and we do value input from other organisations in this process.  QAP auditing will also be implemented in the very near future.
  2. We are developing standard questions covering quality and integrity that all organisational applicants will have to respond to, whether applying as a CMTP, or as another implementing organisation (e.g. ICQAPs).  These include addressing:
    (a) Elaborating the process of appointing assessors, with reference to independence
    (b) Elaborating the assessment criteria and what steps are taken when a participant does not meet the required assessment standard
    (c) Adding the organisation’s methodology for managing potential Conflicts of Interest

All CMTP applicants, including those with in-process applications, will be required to address these.

Thank you for your ongoing support of IMI and our shared vision.  We value our relationships with you as our stakeholders, and appreciate your feedback on this learning journey.

Laura Skillen

Posted by Laura Skillen

Laura is part-time Executive Director at IMI. She is also a full-time PhD Researcher in International Relations, investigating political blame, emotions, and polarisation.

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