Section 4
Justice and fairness agencies

Fairness and Resolution Branch

4.3 Alternative Dispute Resolution

The interventions offered by Defence for APS employees and ADF members encompass interactive problem solving, conflict coaching, mediation and workplace conferencing. Fairness and Resolution Centres have been established in each mainland capital city to provide a one-stop-shop for assistance and support in relation to dispute resolution and equity issues for the Defence population.

From 2006 to 2007 the use of ADR interventions almost doubled, and a similar increase is expected for 2008-09. This reflects a greater awareness across Defence of the effectiveness of ADR, increased access to skilled practitioners, successful outcomes, and an external assessment undertaken over the formative years of the program enabling better shaping of the product.
Mediation and workplace conferencing continue to be accessed as appropriate, successful strategies for individuals and work groups in dispute over workplace issues. Conflict coaching provides individuals, at any level, with opportunities to be guided through the causes of their conflict and to identify suitable responses and strategies to deal with that conflict.

Since the official launch of the Fairness and Resolution Centres in May 2008 there has been a surge in interest and uptake of services. The most significant increase relates to workplace conferencing, which is an emerging capability of Fairness and Resolution branch. On a positive note this demonstrates a growing willingness by managers to critically assess the nature of their worksite interactions and adopt positive measures to achieve an acceptable outcome for the entire workplace. Historically, workplace conferencing when provided by external service providers has cost in the vicinity of tens of thousands of dollars for each intervention.

Chart 25 shows the total number of alternative dispute resolution interventions for the period 2005-06 to 2007-08.

Chart 25: Bar chart. Mediation: 2005-2006 30; 2006-2007 25; 2007-2008 85. Workplace Conference 2005-2006 8; 2006-2007 3; 2007-2008 9. Conflict Coaching 2005-2006 19; 2006-2007 31; 2007-2008 123. Interactive problem solving 2005-2006 0; 2006-2007 0; 2007-2008 7.
Chart 25 - Alternative dispute resolution interventions, 2005-06 to 2007-08