Aotearoa best practice dispute resolution framework (the Framework)

We developed the Framework with our stakeholders, who told us they wanted clear guidance on what good dispute resolution looks like in practice.

The Framework

The Framework is used to develop and review dispute resolution schemes. It Framework provides a consistent way to assess the maturity of schemes and track their progress.

The Framework consists of 4 key elements:

  1. Best practice dispute resolution principles (the principles)
  2. Best practice dispute resolution standards (the standards)
  3. Capability maturity model with capability areas (what schemes should ‘do’ and ‘have’ to deliver best practice dispute resolution) and
  4. Maturity assessment tool (to help schemes assess how well they meet best practice).

Aotearoa best practice dispute resolution framework – at a glance [PDF, 129 KB]


The 5 principles are the first element of the Framework. They are high-level statements of best practice, which are developed further in the other elements of the Framework.

About the principles


The 9 standards identify core aspects of best practice that can be applied across the dispute resolution sector. They are not technical standards that specify products, processes or services. They are aspirational standards to support continuous improvement.

More specific information can be found at the links below under each standard, as well as in the Capability maturity model.



Standard 1

Consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi

Dispute resolution schemes demonstrate a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi and the Treaty principles (including partnership, active protection and participation). Schemes design and deliver Māori culturally responsive dispute resolution for all Māori users. This includes recognition of Te Ao Māori and use of tikanga and te reo Māori in the design, resourcing and delivery of dispute resolution processes. 

Standard 2

Accessible to all potential users

Dispute resolution services are accessible, visible and affordable for all people who may need to use them. Dispute resolution schemes proactively identify and respond to the diverse needs of people, whānau and communities. 

Standard 3


Dispute resolution schemes are impartial. Appropriate actions are taken to maintain impartiality and mitigate the impacts where impartiality could be compromised or where there is a perceived lack of impartiality. 

Standard 4


Dispute resolution schemes are independent. Appropriate actions are taken to maintain independence and mitigate the impacts where independence could be compromised or where there is a perceived lack of independence. 

Standard 5

Information about parties and disputes is used appropriately

Where confidentiality applies, any exceptions are clearly communicated to all parties and participants in the dispute resolution process. Subject to relevant privacy and confidentiality rules, schemes can collect and gather information about dispute resolution processes and outcomes to support transparency, accountability and system improvement.

Standard 6


Dispute resolution processes are provided as quickly and efficiently as possible given the nature of the disputes and the processes used. Timely resolution does not compromise the quality of decision-making or dispute resolution processes.

Standard 7

Promote early resolution and support prevention

Dispute resolution schemes promote the resolution of disputes at the earliest opportunity or at the lowest level. Dispute resolution schemes support the prevention of future disputes through information, education and the distribution of actionable insights to appropriate organisations, agencies and/or regulators.

Standard 8 Properly resourced to carry out the service

Dispute resolution schemes have the appropriate funding, skills and capabilities needed to deliver dispute resolution services that are accessible, culturally responsive, timely and effective. 

Standard 9

Accountable through monitoring and data stewardship

Dispute resolution schemes collect data and information that can be used to analyse the effectiveness of services and improve performance of both dispute resolution schemes and the regulatory systems in which they operate. 

Best practice dispute resolution standards [PDF, 111 KB]

Capability maturity model

The capability maturity model sets out detailed descriptions of 4 levels of maturity for each of the 35 capability areas within the standards. It should inform the policy development process in designing and implementing new schemes. The model can also be used for detailed reviews of existing schemes, or aspects of them. This deep analysis could support independent reviews of schemes required by statute or reporting to funding agencies, boards or Ministers.

Capability maturity model [PDF, 547 KB] 

Guidance on developing or reviewing a dispute resolution scheme

Maturity assessment tool

The maturity assessment tool is designed to help schemes assess themselves against the capabilities for each of the 9 standards. This will allow schemes to identify what is working well, areas for improvement and what to strive for. It has been developed from the capability maturity model using summaries of the capabilities.

The tool provides a common language for schemes to connect with each other to share insights, good practice and common challenges. This will support schemes to collaborate on initiatives as part of a dispute resolution network.

How the tool can be used

The tool can be used by schemes in different ways, for example:

  • self-assessment – to identify areas of strength or opportunity

  • peer-based assessment – engaging a ‘critical friend’ to assess capability

  • guided assessment – supported by GCDR

If you use the tool to self-assess your scheme, we encourage you to provide feedback to us so we can continue to improve it.

We are happy to connect you with other schemes if you want to do a peer-based assessment, share insights and ways of working, or collaborate.

How to complete assessments using the tool

To assess your scheme, simply select 1 of the 9 standards and choose from the drop-down menus the description that best describes your scheme’s capability.

There are 4 maturity levels for each capability - developing, advancing, confident and leader.

The tool will generate a diagram showing a summary of your assessment.

Download the maturity assessment tool [XLSX, 507 KB]

Using the Aotearoa Best Practice Dispute Resolution Framework