Feedback Guidelines for Reviewers

Reviewers are expected to provide an honest and objective summary of feedback (the 'Feedback Digest') about their Mediator’s performance based on discussions with the Mediator and the information on Feedback Forms received from Users who have worked with the Mediator.  The Review process is important for several reasons:

  • It enables future users of that Mediator’s services to gain an appreciation of the Mediator’s individual skills and character as perceived by prior users. 
  • It removes some of the guesswork and risk related to the users’ selection process when choosing a mediator and gives prospective users a greater insight into the competency and suitability of the Mediator for a specific case, and facilitate the development of trust in the Mediator.  This, in turn, may make it easier to persuade hesitant parties to try mediation, or an untried Mediator.
  • It gives the Mediator an opportunity to understand from a third party how the parties felt about the Mediator’s performance, and the mediation process in general.  This in turn helps the Mediator to refine skills and practices for the future, to build on strengths and focus on any development needs.
  • It assists providers and other panel organizers when reviewing their mediators’ performances, to determine the Mediator’s suitability for certain kinds of disputes and plan best practice and other professional enhancement programs.

The mediator may select as their Reviewer either an individual or an institution. If an individual, the Reviewer should be a practising mediator, trainer, educator or other highly experienced professional (or ‘elder’) in the mediation field. 

The IMI Feedback Request Form has been designed to draw out the parties’ satisfaction in relation to the Mediator’s competency and style as a mediator and to generate specific observations that may be useful to the Mediator and to future users wishing to work with the Mediator. However, other sources may also be used, including any other feedback received, and any information received through discussions with the Mediator and/or any provider or other entity through which the Mediator works.  This can be illustrated by comments drawn from Feedback Forms where the Reviewer considers these comments to be typical of the general feedback received over time.  There is no fixed format for the Feedback Digest. IMI recommends that feedback from at least 10 mediations is used as the basis for the initial Feedback Digest.

Feedback could be received from the parties themselves and also from their advisers, observers or assistants the mediator had in mediations. Any other feedback forms, or pieces of feedback, given to courts or other institutions arranging mediations and collecting their feedback could also be used. 

The following principles will help Reviewers to frame a Feedback Digest:

  1. Prepare each Feedback Digest from the perspective of a future user, trying to objectively summarize accumulated feedback to date as accurately as possible.  It is important that the Digest is honest and is credible to future users.
  2. Emphasize any special strengths and characteristics repeatedly mentioned.
  3. Focus on perceived skills and styles, illustrating briefly where appropriate.
  4. Maintain confidentiality as to the mediation and its participants.
  5. Avoid merely offering a selection of quoted extracts from Feedback Forms, especially if these may be misleading when taken out of context.  Avoid the Feedback Digest being stylistically perceived as a marketing endorsement, which could compromise credibility.
  6. Update the Mediator’s Feedback Digest regularly, and at least annually.
  7. Keep the length of the Digest to a maximum of 1,000 words, or two pages.
  8. Please include in the Feedback Digest a statement whether there has been any specific negative feedback that has been repeated more than three times from different mediations.  Negative feedback must be summarised in the Feedback Digest if:
    1. You have spoken to the providers of that feedback, and also to the Mediator, to understand the circumstances in each case and believe the feedback to be relevant to future users, and
    2. Negative feedback on substantially the same perceived failing has been expressed more than three times from users in different mediations involving the same Mediator during the previous 24 months.

You may include in the Feedback Digest any comments or explanations provided by the Mediator about negative feedback.  If there has been no reportable negative feedback, the Digest should say so.

You are free to withdraw as a Mediator’s Reviewer at any time, and are asked to inform the Mediator and IMI promptly of any decision to do so.

Adding a review to a Mediator or Mediation Advocate's IMI profile

All reviewers have their own username and password, so they can input and revise feedback digests directly. If you need a username and password, please contact [email protected] requesting a login. Reviewers should ensure that their 'Reviewer' profile on the IMI site has their current name, title, and contact information.

To add feedback/reviews, find the mediator’s profile and click on the ‘star’ you will see just below their photo.  Reviews can then be added.  

Here is an example review tab:

An example of a typical Feedback Digest is attached for information.

Please remember that all information regarding a mediation, including the fact that it took place, the names of the parties and what happened during the process are generally confidential and you are expected to protect the confidentiality of all such information when preparing Feedback Digests.

Example Feedback Digest (Fictitious)

Mediator:                   Mary Smith

Reviewer:                   John Jones

                                    [email protected]

Last Update:             September 1, 2008

This Feedback Digest is based on 17 feedbacks from 15 mediations, initially submitted in April 2008

Ms Smith has consistently been rated at Performance Level 5 by parties for whom she has acted as a mediator. A very high percentage of parties would recommend Ms Smith as a mediator, a fact borne out by the number of parties willing to use her again and to provide a reference to parties considering the engagement of Ms Smith as a mediator in the future.  Costs were widely reported as reasonable in the context of the value of the disputes mediated by Ms Smith, and in general a very high degree of satisfaction was reported.

Those who experienced Ms Smith’s organizational skills in setting up, explaining and preparing for the mediation regularly reported that Ms Smith was perceived as having treated all sides fairly and impartially, was efficient and attended to organizational details promptly.  Several parties commented that she patiently explained aspects of the mediation when asked, and clearly negotiated and laid out the ground rules both before the mediation began and at the start of the process.

Ms Smith’s management skills in the mediation process were hailed as a key strength.  Ms Smith was reported as encouraging the parties to develop a range of solutions. A high proportion of Ms Smith’s mediations resulted in a resolution.  In the several cases that reached a resolution after the actual mediation process had ended, Ms Smith remained available to support parties as needed.  She was especially congratulated for being a steadying influence when tensions among the parties increased and for keeping negotiators focused on key issues and future interests.  Several feedback providers complimented Ms Smith’s ability to manage forceful lawyers, and she rapidly developed highly trusting relationships with parties.  She was reported as having a genuinely caring attitude, and for being a good listener.

A wide range of mediation skills have emerged from Feedbacks received in Ms Smith’s case.  In particular, frequent mention was made of Ms Smith’s ability to propose new ways of dealing with potential deal-breakers when they arose, and her persistence in keeping the parties working towards a mutually acceptable resolution.  In several cases, the parties asked Ms Smith for a non-binding opinion.  The Feedback Reports for these cases indicate Ms Smith’s willingness to do so and special mention was made of the usefulness of her opinions.

No reportable negative comments have arisen in the past two calendar years.