Chapter Three - People > Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling > page 8 of 12
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Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In 2002, the Directorate of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management was established in the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group. A significant milestone for the program was achieved in June 2003 when the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force issued Defence Instruction (General) PERS 34-4 Use and Management of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Defence. The Directorate has established close links with the three Services, the Defence Personnel Executive, the Defence Equity Organisation and the Complaint Resolution Agency. The Directorate also liaises with the Inspector General of the ADF on matters of mutual interest. Additionally, it has also forged strong ties with the wider alternative dispute resolution community.

Currently, the program assists with the management of conflict through the use of prevention and intervention strategies. The major preventative strategy involves general awareness training in conflict management and dispute resolution strategies. The Directorate has also delivered approximately 25 negotiation and communications skills training courses to a wide audience across Defence including the Air Force Officers of Cadets, various naval shore establishments, and participants from the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group.

In terms of intervention, the program provides Defence with dispute resolution processes including mediation, as a less formal means of managing and resolving disputes, conflicts, complaints and claims. The program is integral to, and works in conjunction with, the more traditional and formal processes including redresses of grievance, review of actions, and administrative inquiries and investigations by avoiding some of the formalities associated with these processes. Importantly, the program is also used to complement existing command and management relationships and processes.

The following table provides a statistical summary of intervention activities undertaken by the Directorate during 2004-05.

Table 3.32 Intervention Activities during 2004-05
Activity Total
Calls to Directorate and Files Raised 71
Mediations Conducted 32
Workplace Conferences Conducted 4
Interventions not Proceeding 35
Hours Conducting Interventions 736 hours

The scope of the program is evolving with several changes, implemented including the introduction of conflict coaching. This technique has proven successful in the Canadian Defence Force and it provides individuals with some useful techniques to assist them in dealing with conflict.

The alternative dispute resolution program was evaluated by an external consultant. In addition to examining the day-to-day operations of the directorate, the consultants surveyed and interviewed customers including: commanders and managers; parties to a mediation; referring officers and mediators. The evaluation of parties to a mediation or workplace conference has revealed a 90 per cent satisfaction rate with the process and an 80 per cent satisfaction rate with the outcomes of the interventions.

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