Friday, 1 April 2016

RAF Benevolent Fund/Relate Family Mediation Service

The RAF Benevolent has now launched a project to help RAF personnel access Family Mediation, at a reduced cost.  By doing this, they seek to ease the complexity and the cost of separation and therefore the stress on the family members. If you are separating from your partner, you may wish to consider mediation and particularly so if children are involved. Family Mediation helps people in conflict to work out an agreement on issues such as:

            -           Arrangements for children after family break up, such as where the child   should live and spend time with each parent (the Children and Families Act 2014 includes the presumption of shared-parenting, but this does not mean equal time with each parent).

            -           Finances; including child maintenance payments, savings, pension,         property and debts (not Scotland).

The RAF Benevolent Fund will substantially assist RAF personnel towards these costs, through a contract they have set up with Relate (who already provide relationship counselling to our personnel funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund). Individuals must book this mediation through Relate, using the RAFBF/Relate telephone number 0845 077 5556 and quoting their Service Number. Access to face to face support is currently variable in the UK, but should grow in time; subtly different arrangements also operate across the UK.  The Fund therefore has to work with what Relate can provide but this does include webcam sessions and, if necessary, external providers.

Specific details of what the RAF Benevolent Fund is providing and what individuals and their partners are expected to fund are provided below. You will see that there are differences between the process in England/Wales and Scotland. In England and Wales couples will initially attend a Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before attending up to 3 formal mediation sessions. Whilst in Scotland couples attend an Individual Intake Session (separately) before undertaking up to 4 joint sessions. 



Mediation Costs (England & Wales)

Service Provided by Relate
Price Per Person
RAF Benevolent Fund Contribution
Individual Contribution
MIAM

£80
£80
Nil
Joint session with mediator (90 minutes x 3)

£118 per session
£70.80 per session
£47.20 per session*
Compilations of Financial Statements or a Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU)

£130
£78
£52

*Total cost for 3 sessions £141.60 per person or £283.20 per couple.

Mediation Costs (Scotland)

Service Provided by Relate
Price Per Session
RAF Benevolent Fund Contribution
Individual Contribution
Individual intake session with mediator (60 mins x 2)
£50
£50
Nil
Joint session with mediator
(60 mins x 4)
£50
£30
£20 per session**

**Total cost for 4 sessions £80 per couple.

Should you wish to use the Mediation Service, you need to contact Relate using the RAF Benevolent Fund direct dial number - 0845 077 5556 and provide your Service number to confirm eligibility.

Unfortunately, there is currently no face-to-face mediation provision for RAF personnel based overseas, but where appropriate, access to a webcam-based service can be arranged.  Any concerns over access to the service should in the first instance be raised with the Chief Clerk and referred as necessary to the Fund.

Note – where additional mediation sessions are required, further support from the RAF Benevolent Fund may be considered depending upon financial need.

Finally, relationship support (counselling and mediation) provided by the RAF Benevolent Fund is primarily aimed at Regular RAF personnel, in recognition of the additional pressures placed on their families (assignments, deployments etc). However, if a Full Time Reservist wishes to access either facility, then the Fund will consider their application on a case by case basis.