The site was developed out of a desire to help the public find family mediation services in the locality, after frustrations with existing national family mediation listing sites. It was then re-launched in September 2013 including a number of new features:
- Improved search engine links
- Postcode integration
- Recommendation service linked to position in listings
- Live image link for services showing number of recommendations
Findmediation works differently to the new Family Mediation Council search tool, focusing on mediation services and their locations rather than the mediator. Special links to the listing are generated which are then provided to search engines for fast indexing. This linking process also enables us to provide multiple outreach locations for services, enabling users to quickly find mediation services in their local vicinity.
The search tool was developed to quickly and easily display the information needed to contact the service, typically in less than 3 clicks. On average people expect websites to display the information they need within 6-8 seconds, else they look elsewhere. Therefore the speed of the server and the configuration of the database is essential. [Paul Gadd – Director of Protocol IT]
Services which hold current Legal Aid Agencies (LAA) contracts providing legal aid are also indicated in the search results. The LAA (formerly known as the LSC) phased out the use of their previous logo in April 2013, permitting providers to continue to use this until 20th June 2013. We decided to develop a simple logo to quickly indicate a service where legal aid is available. The Website also offers mediation services with multiple outreach offices the means of including the additional locations.
Over the past twelve months, the site has been accessed by over 19,000 visitors, serving an average 2500 ‘hits’ per month, from over 300 towns in the UK. Results from searches in Google for finding mediation services are typically shown in the top 10 of listings.
We recognise that findmediation.co.uk is only useful if the information contained is up-to-date. We hope in the next couple of months to start working more closely with family mediation membership organisations to ensure service information in the database is updated when changes occur. To ensure quality a consistent family mediation service is provided across the country, we see that the role of the Family Mediation Council is essential to ensure mediation services and mediators are regulated to a high standard.
The site is operated by Protocol IT Ltd as a not-for-profit service, without funded from the MoJ, Family Mediation Council, or membership organisations.