Speech by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law, Ms Sim Ann, at the Community Mediation Centre's Mediators' Appointment Ceremony and Appreciation Dinner
17 Jul 2012 Posted in Speeches
Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee,
Chief District Judge Mr Tan Siong Thye,
Distinguished mediators and friends,
A very good evening to all of you. I am heartened to see so many of you here this evening at the annual Mediators’ Appointment Ceremony and Appreciation Dinner – a first for me, but for our mediators, it is a Community Mediation Centre (CMC) tradition that all of you look forward to.
This evening is not only a gathering of friends, but also an occasion for the Ministry of Law to recognise the invaluable contributions of our panel of volunteer mediators.
Appreciation to Mediators and Welcome the New Mediators
- Some of you have volunteered with the CMC since its inception, truly pioneers in every sense of the word. Many of you are actively engaged in the community, and juggling grassroots and community commitments, on top of your full-time careers. Despite your hectic schedules, you have devoted your precious time to volunteering with the CMC. We deeply appreciate your selfless sense of duty all these years, in doing a remarkable service to the community.
- We also extend a warm welcome to all 18 of our newly appointed mediators, who are joining the CMC family. I hope you will be encouraged by the strong sense of volunteerism and camaraderie displayed by our panel of mediators in this room.
Strengthening Referral Partnerships
- Today, many Government agencies recognise the role that mediation plays in promoting harmony in our community, and work closely with us to integrate mediation more actively in their dispute resolution efforts. We are honoured to have some of our partners here with us tonight, like Chief District Judge Mr Tan Siong Thye, District Judge Eddy Tham from the Subordinate Courts, Ms Lau Chay Yen from the Housing and Development Board and our friends from People’s Association, among others. Their partnership is crucial, because they provide the bridge by which the community has access to mediation.
- With the support of our partners, the CMCs have mediated more than 5,000 cases since 1998, with an overall settlement rate of about 70 per cent. In 2011 alone, the CMCs mediated close to 600 cases.
Continuing Professional Development
- Singapore’s social landscape is evolving. To make community mediation more effective, we have been looking at how we can better support our mediators and enhance their skills sets. To this end, we will introduce a new Mediator Management Framework from August 2012, which will guide the appointment, re-appointment and training of our panel of mediators. Our mediators will be given more opportunities to grow and develop. For instance, we will introduce specific criteria and targets for a more meaningful advancement through the mediator tiers. The new framework will also give interested mediators the chance to be trainers. As our panel of mediators matures, we will also introduce a new pinnacle appointment, that of the Principal Master Mediator (PMM). We envisage that PMM(s) will assist the Community Mediation Unit (CMU), which oversees the CMCs, to develop a mentorship programme for junior mediators, and work with CMU to identify suitable training programmes or workshops for our mediators. PMM(s) will also conduct Roundtable sessions for the mediators and set tests to ensure our mediators uphold the conduct and standards expected.
- Mediators can also look forward to a wider suite of workshops and training programmes that CMU will roll out in the near future, through possible tie-ups with institutes of higher learning. Those who wish to pursue a diploma or a degree programme in a mediation-related field or its equivalent may be co-sponsored by CMU. It is our hope that this new Mediator Management Framework can help shape the professional development of community mediators in Singapore for years to come.
- We also believe in the importance of continuing our relationship with mediators who step down from the panel. We will be establishing a CMC Alumni and keep our CMC Alumni members updated on the CMC’s progress through our newsletters and invitations to our events.
- The new framework offers many opportunities, and marks an exciting time ahead for our mediators. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of you for your strong sense of volunteerism and dedication, and for partnering us all these years in the CMC. Your role is pivotal toward keeping the social fabric of Singapore strong and maintaining social harmony within the community. Let us continue to work together in building a better society and home for all.
- Have a good evening.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012