When and when not to use ADR?

The principles underpinning ADR interventions are not appropriate for all disputes. When considering these type of interventions, note that:

  • participation in mediation has to be voluntary
  • some disputes are suited to mediation and some are not
  • the neutrality and independence of the mediator are important for the credibility and success of the process.

Mediation is not suitable for all forms of disputes.

For example: It is not appropriate to use mediation to deal with disputes raising behavioural issues serious enough to be considered under agency procedures for investigating suspected misconduct (Code of Conduct).

In these circumstances agencies must, and must be seen, to publicly reinforce appropriate standards of behaviour. The private agreements reached through mediation do not allow for this.

The success of mediation is enhanced when the:

  • parties feel the processes are safe and their concerns are aired and listened to respectfully.
    Skilled mediators conduct pre-mediation screening (intake assessments) to assess the likely success of mediation given the values, interests and behaviours of the parties 
  • mediator is seen to be neutral and independent.
    Not all agencies are large enough to provide services that are independent of consultancy and management advisory functions of HR areas.