Staff considerations for a dispute resolution scheme
Policies and processes are needed to manage the risks and responsibilities for staff delivering a dispute resolution scheme and provide appropriate support for them.
Conflict of interest
All scheme staff are, and should be seen to be, neutral, and not to have vested interests. Clear conflicts of interest policies, procedures and practices need to be put in place to identify and manage real and perceived conflicts.
Conflict of interest requirements under other legislation may also apply to the scheme. For example the Crown Entities Act 2004 has conflict of interest disclosure rules(external link) for members, and the State Sector Act 1988 has conflict of interest requirements for the delegation of functions or powers(external link) by chief executives.
It is standard practice to limit the civil legal liability of dispute resolution practitioners in government schemes. This limits the ability of disaffected parties to take legal action against them. Lawyers and other third parties involved in the process will have different immunity and liability rules.
You should talk to your legal advisors, the State Services Commission and, where legislation may be required, the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) about how this is best achieved in your circumstances.
All staff involved in the delivery of the scheme (including employees, contractors, and dispute resolution practitioners) must have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience to perform their roles.
For dispute resolution practitioners, this means they have completed formal training and are accredited by a professional membership association.
Staff must also be able to deal appropriately with all users and be trained to manage unreasonable conduct.