Implementing a dispute resolution scheme

When implementing a dispute resolution service you need to consider things like scale, channels, providers, training, promotion and administration.

When considering dispute resolution service implementation, agencies should think about:

  • scale - does the service need to be national or regional?
  • service details – what channels should be used to best deliver the service, or elements of it (eg, face-to-face, online, by phone etc). Also, what hours should the service be available?
  • providers – should the dispute resolution providers be in-house or outsourced? This will depend on the nature of the scheme (eg, high volume schemes may be better off with employees, whereas it may be more economical for low volume schemes to use contractors).
  • standards – if a scheme is using external dispute resolution providers, related service standards should cover such things as:
    • quality of services
    • timeframes
    • ongoing supervision and professional development requirements
    • confidentiality
    • record keeping and reporting (eg, reporting to the relevant ministry on issues mediated and outcomes, appropriately anonymised)
  • requirements for escalation of issues (eg, if a significant issue disclosed during a mediation)
  • physical spaces – including issues of accessibility, office setup, health and safety of staff and visitors
  • resources – as well as general technological requirements, good information recording is particularly important (see ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’) and you should carefully consider setting up a database
  • recruitment – appropriate skills and qualifications for all staff and practitioners are essential to the success of a scheme.
  • training and development – maintaining staff and practitioners' competence, including ongoing training and supervision
  • implementation method – consider questions like how will the scheme be put in place - pilot or trial? Rollout in phases? Or is national coverage needed from the start?
  • awareness and promotion – how will you raise awareness of the scheme to build trust, confidence and understanding and ensure uptake? By what media (eg, online, hardcopy materials – posters, pamphlet, television etc)?
  • administration – what forms, information sheets etc will be required?