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Final Report



Workplace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Design Team
Final Report



INTERIORESOLUTIONETWORK

Workplace Alternative Dispute Resolution Design Team

Final Report


Design Team Members:

  • Carolyn M. Burrell, Team Leader
  • Pete Swanson, Facilitator
  • Craig Calderwood, Dulcy Setchfield, Laura Hankins, Christine Louton, Phyllis Leslie, Alton W. Jordan, Richard E. Redmond, Ann Wittman, Dick Andrews, Patricia Butler, JoAnn Ransford, Jim Poole, Joy Harris, Mary E. Denery, Linda Behlin, Ed Dinep, Steph Smith, John Trumble (union rep, IBEW)

Date: December 9, 2002



Contents
Background
Formulation of Workplace ADR Design Team
The Design Phase
Points on Which Consensus was Reached
Key Recommendations
     Types of Concerns Covered by the System
     Multiple Access Points - Easy Access
     Processes Available
     Internal and External Third Party Neutrals will be made Available
     Voluntary vs. Mandatory Participation
     Simplified Administrative Procedures
Implementation Plan
Definitions
     Alternative Discipline
     Conciliation
     Consultation
     Cooperative Problem Solving
     Dispute Panels
     Facilitation
     Informal Fact-Finding
     Interest-based Problem-solving
     Mediation
     Partnering
     Process Coaching

Background

On January 23, 2001, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management and Budget, tasked the Dispute Resolution Specialist (DRS) (Comment: I would suggest adding some kind of definition here -- referring to the Act and to Elena as the DRS) and the Director, Office of Planning and Performance Management (Director, PPP), to create an interagency team to review the Department’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) policy, programs and organizational structure, and develop a departmental implementation plan for the effective coordination of all ADR efforts throughout the Department.
(See Appendix A: Memorandum of January 23, 2001.) (Comment: Do we have this?)

The purpose of the review was to:

  • Determine the optimal location for the DRS’ centralized coordination function.
  • Develop an organizational framework to support full and effective implementation of the Department’s ADR policy under the leadership of the DRS.
  • Clarify the appropriate allocation of resources to support the DRS function and the full implementation of the Department’s ADR policy.
  • Identify ways to reduce administrative redundancy, and improve customer service and the quality of ADR programs.

During a five month review process, an interagency team was created that developed a process for assembling data and best practices information from all of the bureaus and functional areas within the Department, as well as from 22 other Federal agencies. (See Appendix B: Review Process and Methodology.) (Comment: Do we have this?)

The review culminated in a report entitled, ADR at a Crossroad: A Review and a Plan for Action,” (Comment: Do we want to put this up?) (inclusive of several key recommendations) being submitted to the Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management and Budget for review and approval. All recommendations in the report were approved as submitted. Consequently, a Secretarial Order was issued on October 26, 2001, that created the new Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution (CADR) under Policy, Management and Budget. (See Appendix C: Memorandum of January 30, 2002.) The CADR office is responsible for establishing and coordinating Department-wide implementation of one comprehensive Departmental policy on the use of non-adversarial, consensual approaches to addressing workplace, regulatory, procurement and programmatic issues at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest level.

The work of the CADR office supports Secretary Norton’s 4 C’s philosophy (conservation through communication, consultation and cooperation) and in keeping with the integrated approach that the Department of the Interior is taking to develop and implement cost-effective enterprise solutions for the entire agency. The vision of the CADR office is to establish the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and collaborative processes as a standard business practice throughout the Department so that conflicts are prevented or resolved at the earliest opportunity and the lowest possible level in all areas of the Department’s work. Adversarial adjudications and litigation are used when appropriate and necessary to achieve Department objectives, and not as the default method of resolving issues.

In the report, the key recommendation on workplace ADR is as follows:

  • The Dispute Resolution Specialist’s office should house an ADR Workplace Coordinator, responsible for working with the heads of EEO and Personnel, the Office of the Solicitor, and workplace ADR contacts in each of the Bureaus, to coordinate the design and implementation of one effective and efficient workplace ADR program that reduces administrative redundancy and improves customer service.

The design of one workplace ADR program was to be consistent with Personnel and EEO requirements and policies and provide all employees easy access through existing collateral duty EEO counselors (approximately 700) and CORE specialists (approximately 100), as well as an electronic system. It was envisioned that employees electing to use ADR would be referred to the Bureau Dispute Resolution Specialist for referral to an appropriate neutral in coordination with the Department’s ADR office.

Further, the design of the new workplace ADR program was to include the following components:

  • provide employees easy, clear access to information and assistance
  • clarify dispute resolution options available to all employees
  • address concerns at the earliest opportunity and the lowest possible level
  • reduce administrative redundancy
  • maximize the shared use of existing resources
  • ensure confidentiality
  • provide timely access to quality neutral services
  • improve customer satisfaction
  • reduce the time and cost associated with resolving workplace conflict
  • be located in a neutral location - safe for all employees
  • provide employees various options regarding neutrals and processes available
  • generate good information for measuring (evaluation system)
  • provide for voluntary participation/mandatory for managers.

At the time of the ADR review, there were two workplace ADR programs in existence, i.e., Conflict Resolution (CORE) under the direction of the Office of Personnel Policy, and Equal Employment Opportunity - Partners Listening, Understanding and Solving (EEO-PLUS) under the direction of the Office for Equal Opportunity. Each program generated policies and guidelines, had mediators trained, developed marketing materials, and had reporting requirements. Also, there was little or no coordination between the two programs.

The intent of the workplace ADR recommendation was that a system be designed under which the two programs could be integrated.

This report highlights the actions taken by the Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution in order to accomplish the recommendation that was approved for workplace ADR.

* * * * * * * * * * *

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Formulation of Workplace ADR Design Team

In February 2002, the Acting Coordinator for the Workplace ADR Program convened a multi-disciplined workplace design team to begin working on: 1) establishment of a department-wide organizational and programmatic framework for implementing the recommendation from the ADR review; and 2) integrating this program into the framework of the Department’s new comprehensive ADR policy and program. (See Appendix D: Memorandum of February 2, 2002, from Deputy Assistant Secretary, Human Resources and Workforce Diversity.) Establishment of this team was in keeping with one of the goals established in the ADR review that, for the purpose of efficiency, a separate committee (in this instance, team) for workplace ADR should be convened. It was expected that the product of this team would define lines of responsibility and coordination of relationships among existing functions to promote the full integration of collaborative approaches that would maximize problem solving. The team represented a model of an interest-based collaborative approach to systems design. It was made up of representatives from each Bureau, the Human Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity communities, the Office of the Solicitor and the Union.

The team was chartered by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Human Resources and Workforce Diversity and the Director, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution, to build a comprehensive, integrated workplace dispute resolution system that provides all employees easy access through multiple entry points and clear options for addressing any concern.
(See Appendix E: February 4, 2002, Charge Statement to DOI Workplace Design Team.)

Using the DOI Report on ADR as the baseline, the task of designing the integrated workplace dispute resolution system (also know as - a.k.a. - the conceptual model) was accomplished through use of the following processes/methodology:

  • Brought in systems design experts from the private sector to work with the team in designing a conceptual model and to assist with the process.
  • Contracted with an independent ADR consultant and facilitator to assist with design team meetings and processes.
  • Contracted with consultant to conduct team building and guide team members through the development of ground rules and standard operating procedures.
  • Used collaborative process to design “best practices” model.
  • Consulted with other Federal agencies to ensure consistency with applicable regulations and policies.
  • Established the preferred method of decision making by team members as by consensus.

The final design was subject to the review and approval of the Director, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution; the Bureau Dispute Resolution Specialists; and the Executive Committee. Further, the design of the integrated conflict management system could not be implemented until approved by the Management Initiatives Team (MIT). The Bureau Deputy Directors and Deputy Assistant Secretaries constitute the membership of the MIT, which is chaired by the Assistant Secretary, Policy, Management and Budget.

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The Design Process

The design team had a total of five meetings beginning in February 2002, with the last being held in October 2002. (Other meetings were held in April 2002, May 2002 and July 2002.) The majority of the work accomplished by the team was done in sub groups that were formed as topics for consideration were identified during full team meetings. Team members would volunteer to do research, compile information and formulate recommendations for presentation to the full team meetings. Because the members of the team were located, geographically, in different parts of the country, the members of the sub-groups conducted periodic conference calls to share information and discuss how best to present the recommendations. The team leader and facilitator were always a part of those conference calls to ensure that sub-group activities were on track with the tasks. The specific list of sub groups by topic area were as follows:

  • Conceptual Overview
  • Communication Strategy
    • Internal
    • External
  • Conceptual Model
    • Standards for Neutrals
    • Administrative Procedures
    • Value Differences - Internals vs. Externals
    • Universe of Disputes
    • Types of Processes Offered
    • Multiple Entry Points
    • Voluntary vs. Mandatory
  • Departmental Manual Draft
  • Evaluation

The final product of the workplace design team had to include the following system safeguards:

  • Impartiality of neutrals
  • Qualified neutrals who follow professional guidelines
  • Employer ensured neutral’s qualifications
  • Reflect diversity of the Department of the Interior
  • Respect the statutory rights of employees
  • Respect the collective bargaining rights of covered employees
  • Provide for voluntary participation
  • Ensures the right to representation
  • Ensures right to request information on process
  • Ensures privacy/confidentiality
  • Requires neutrals to disclose prior relationships
  • Right to select and reject acceptable neutrals (choice)

At the first meeting in February 2002, the team members decided that the preferable method for decision-making would be by consensus. We defined consensus as team members agreeing that all points on which decisions needed to be made would be discussed until members were comfortable with leaving the meeting and speaking with “one voice” about the decisions and not representing dissenting opinions. Persons who blocked consensus were responsible for providing alternatives for consideration. If consensus could not be reached, then majority rule would be the secondary method used. If the team had to make a decision by a majority vote, it was agreed that the dissenting opinions could be recorded. During the eight months, all decisions made by the team were reached by consensus.

* * * * * * * * * * *

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Points on Which Consensus was Reached

Following are the points on which consensus was reached that formulate the framework for the conceptual model for the Interior Resolution Network (name of the new system):

*Initially, these will be the primary processes/techniques available.

  • Internal and External Third Party Neutrals will be made Available
    • Existing Internal Neutrals can be utilized in system.
      • CADR will maintain a Departmental roster of qualified third party neutrals within DOI.
      • The number of existing internal neutrals will not increase unless data demonstrates a need.
    • External Neutrals will also be utilized (from other Federal agencies and private providers) as a source of neutrals.
    • Participants will be educated on the options available to them and assisted in selecting an appropriate process (Fit the forum to the fuss).
    • Participants will be referred to an appropriate and qualified third party neutral who is acceptable to all participants.
  • Voluntary vs. Mandatory Participation
    • If an employee elects to participate in ADR, the Bureau/Office will be responsible for ensuring that an appropriate management official is made available to participate “in good faith” in the process.
    • By participating in this process a management official is not required to reach a settlement.
    • Any party may terminate the ADR process at any time.
  • Simplified Administrative Procedures
    • Mechanisms are being established to facilitate case administration and payment of travel and per diem, when necessary, for internal neutrals across bureau lines.
    • Departmental Manual Chapter and implementation Handbook will be published, and standard forms, marketing and promotional materials, guidelines, check lists, and tracking and evaluation tools will be provided.
  • ADR Services will be provided through geographic partnering among Bureaus that are co-located in areas throughout the country. Examples of services provided:
    • Training
    • Technical Assistance
    • Delivery of Services (represents collaborative approach)

* * * * * * * * * * *

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Key Recommendations

Types of Concerns Covered by the System
Rationale:

The team originally reached consensus on the following language:

“Any workplace issue or concern raised by a current employee. Employee refers to a person who is currently working for and paid by the Department (inclusive of seasonal and part-time employees).”

The Workplace ADR (WADR) System is designed to resolve conflicts informally and at the lowest possible level. In considering the universe of disputes that should be covered in the system, the team felt strongly that any issues or concerns raised by a current employee of the Department who are on salary should be covered, including a matter of prohibited discrimination. All employees should be free to use the system without restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal of any kind. [If a Bureau or office has a recognized bargaining unit, a bargaining unit employee may not use the Workplace ADR service unless or until the bargaining unit officially agrees to make the WADR system available to its membership. If the unit wishes to do so, it is suggested that a statement to this effect appear in the collective bargaining agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local management.] ADR processes may be used within or outside of any established redress procedures. An employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to legally prohibited discrimination is encouraged to immediately contact an EEO Counselor to protect his or her rights.

When the team reached consensus on the original wording on who could have access to ADR, contract employees were precluded from participating in ADR under the new system. Upon further reflection, it was brought to the attention of team members that there are contract employees who work in the Department that are hired and paid by a staffing firm but whose working conditions are control led in whole or in part by Federal employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines on the application of EEO laws to such employees whom they consider “ contingent workers” in December 1997. Its guidance makes clear that staffing firms must hire and make job assignments in a non-discriminatory manner. The client must, in turn, treat the staffing firm worker assigned to it in a non-discriminatory manner. Therefore, in this regard, the Department is a client and must prevent, prohibit and cure unlawful discrimination against contingent workers within their work environments. An example of contingent workers within the Department might be clerical/ support staff hired through temporary employment agencies. With the emphasis now on outsourcing, there will be more contract employees coming into the workforce and being employed for longer periods of time. Because persons who meet the EEOC’s definition of contingent workers are covered by EEO laws and regulations, and the EEOC requires that ADR be offered to persons participating in the complaints process, the team members realized that considerations had to be provided to employees of the Department that fall into this category.

After protracted discussions about the term “contingent worker,” consensus was reached by team members, that because the EEOC issued guidelines several years ago on “contingent workers” and their access to the complaints process, that such employees should be covered if they meet the definition of a “ contingent worker.” An EEO official must make the determination as to whether or not the person would have access to ADR.

Therefore, the wording for the Types of Concerns Covered by System was amended to read as follows:

“Any workplace issue or concern raised by a current employee. Employee refers to a person who is currently working for and paid by the Department (inclusive of seasonal, part-time employees and contingent workers).”

 

___________________________
Approved as Submitted

___________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]


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Multiple Access Points - Easy Access
Rationale:

Consistent with the ADR review recommendations, the system will provide easy access for employees through existing resources, e.g., persons currently serving as EEO Counselors and CORE Specialists, as well as through supervisors, managers, union officials (if there is a memorandum of understanding with the union), Bureau Dispute Resolution Specialists, and Equal Employment Opportunity and Human Resources officials. There will be a need for the conduct of some training and the development and distribution of resource materials to ensure that all persons identified as access points to the system are aware of how to refer employees to the appropriate contacts for ADR services.


After discussing the access points with the Director, Office for Equal Opportunity, the flow chart entitled, the ROAD TO RESOLUTION (which outlines the new workplace ADR system) (See Appendix F: Road to Resolution), was modified to also include the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) as an access point as well. Employees alleging discrimination may have cases that are referred to mediation from MSPB. Also, employees who file discrimination complaints that have appeal rights to the MSPB may be offered ADR; therefore, the chart was amended to reflect this change in the Points of Access box. Other items on the flow chart may be modified before final implementation of the new system.

It is important to note that upon implementation of the now proposed restructuring of the EEO program, some responsibilities may be affected and adjustments will be made accordingly.

Recommendation: Accept Multiple Access Points - Easy Access as agreed on by the team, with the above stated addition to the Points of Access box.

 

__________________________
Approved as Submitted

__________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]

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Processes Available
Rationale:

The team considered offering the following processes:

After extensive discussions about the definitions (see definitions section), the team members reached consensus on the processes/techniques that should be made available to employees. It was important that we not only remain true to the tenets of ADR, but also to keep the processes as informal as possible. It was also important, because of the many options available for use under an ADR system, that the types of disputes that might arise, the culture and the needs of the Department be considered as the team considered options for techniques to offer. Most managers and employees think mediation when the term ADR is used. However, it was important to the team members to convey the message that, when disputes arise, it is necessary to consider the appropriate dispute resolution technique to employ in order to try and reach resolution. Although it is the most commonly used, mediation is not always the most appropriate vehicle to utilize. The team also considered the types of skills that current employees of the Department of the Interior possess who are providing ADR services. In consideration of all of the aforementioned, the team reached consensus on offering the following processes through the system:

*By way of explanation, these processes/techniques will be offered, initially, when the new system is implemented. These skills are currently available without any additional training being offered.

The processes listed which are not asterisked (*) may be phased in over the next few years; however, if there is a need to utilize any of them now, we may do so through the use of external third party neutrals.

There are two processes being offered we would like to provide further explanations on for the purpose of clarity.

  • Informal fact-finding would be used to give the conflict resolution specialist enough knowledge to assist involved parties in resolving their differences. It is not a formal investigation and no written determination or opinion would be produced. All notes would be destroyed at the conclusion of the process regardless of whether or not resolution was reached.
  • Alternative discipline may be characterized as a form of alternative dispute resolution that, like more traditional ADR techniques such as mediation, facilitation, and etc., can be used effectively to resolve, reduce, or even eliminate workplace disputes that might come from a circumstance where a disciplinary action is appropriate. It is frequently used in lieu of “last chance agreements.” However, if either party to the agreement does not comply with the terms reached, the appropriate disciplinary action may be taken.

Please see the definitions section for clarification of other processes/techniques that are recommended be made available under the new system.

Employees who elect to participate in ADR will be educated on the options available to them and assisted in selecting an appropriate process (in other words, fit the forum to the fuss.). Participants will also be provided with choices in their selection of appropriate and qualified third party neutrals. The third party neutrals provided will have to be acceptable to all participants in the process.

__________________________
Approved as submitted

__________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]


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Internal and External Third Party Neutrals will be made Available
Rationale:

Persons within the Department of the Interior who are currently serving as third party neutrals, i.e., certified as neutrals and conducting mediations and/or other ADR services may continue to do so under the new system. The CADR office is in the process of gathering information on qualified third party neutrals within the DOI. The roster will be maintained by the CADR office and all Bureaus will have access to the roster. Upon establishment of the roster and implementation of the new system, only those persons who are on that roster will be allowed to provide ADR services within the


Department of the Interior. The number of existing neutrals will not increase unless data demonstrates a need for such. ADR services will also be provided by external neutrals employed in other Federal agencies and private practitioners. Many of the Bureaus are currently contracting with other federal agencies and private practitioners for ADR services. The cost and benefit of using internal and external third party neutrals will be evaluated by the CADR office during the first year of implementation. It must be noted that, although the ADR review strongly recommended that, consistent with the FAIR Act, external experts and service providers should be utilized to the maximum extent practicable, many of the team members felt as strongly, that the number of internal neutrals should be maintained and that as persons left the Department, the Bureaus should have the flexibility to replace them rather than contracting out for services. They further felt that, if the data supports a need for more ADR Service providers in the future, that the capacity should be increased from within, rather than through contracting out.

There is a need for consistency in terms of the minimum qualification requirements that are used in the selection of third party neutrals both internally and externally. There is also concern about increasing the skills of the internals in order to ensure that they possess all of the needed/desired knowledge, skills and ability to perform adequately. A sub-group of the design team did begin to formulate proposals for establishing and maintaining a mechanism for obtaining qualified neutrals and ADR service providers. These recommendations will be provided to the implementation team for review and consideration.

Finally, as stated in an earlier section of this report, participants will be provided with choices in their selection of appropriate and qualified third party neutrals. The third party neutral selected will have to be acceptable to all participants in the process. In other words, all parties participating in the ADR process must be comfortable with the third party neutral selected.

__________________________
Approved as Submitted

__________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]


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Voluntary vs. Mandatory Participation
Rationale:

In approaching this topic, the team considered the question of what would be an alternative word to “mandatory” participation? Several options were considered:


  • Retain the mandatory policy that is currently in place, i.e., if an employee elects to participate in ADR, a management official must be made available to negotiate in “good faith”;
  • Responsible - if changed to responsible, who will be responsible for ensuring that ADR is carried out throughout the organization(s)?;
  • Committed to participation;
  • Accountable for participation
During consideration of these options, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission) was consulted for guidance on their interpretation of mandatory vs. voluntary participation in the ADR process. The response from the Commission was that an agency must have an ADR process in place and available as an avenue for resolving disputes that are filed by aggrieved individuals under the discrimination complaints process. The option of electing to participate in ADR is voluntary for the employee (or aggrieved individual). If an employee does elect to participate in ADR, the agency is required to make a management official available to participate the process.

After considering the various options, the team reached consensus on making ADR voluntary for the employee electing to participate and mandatory for managers, in that, an appropriate management official - with the authority to settle or access to the individual with the authority to settle - must be made available to participate in “good faith”in the process understanding that the following provisos apply:

  • Management is not obligated to reach a settlement in the matter(s)
  • Any party may terminate the ADR process at any time.

When a resolution is reached through the use of ADR, the written agreement or statement of understanding should address what happens (next steps) if the agreed upon actions are not carried out.

If no agreement is reached, then the employee would be advised concerning the next course of action if such exists.

__________________________
Approved as Submitted

__________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]


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Simplified Administrative Procedures
Rationale:

One of the recurring topics of conversation during the initial team meetings was simplification of administrative procedures in order to facilitate the travel of third party neutrals between bureaus/ offices. On some occasions, when internal third party neutrals have been required to travel between bureaus in order to provide services, they have experienced problems with the processing of travel authorizations and travel vouchers. Although all eight Bureaus are under the Department of the Interior, each Bureau administers its travel differently. For example, Bureaus do not use the same travel service and even within Bureaus, when the same travel service is used throughout that Bureau, information cannot be accessed routinely. Therefore, the performance and provision of ADR services can become very complicated. Similar types of problems occur when it comes to the procurement of ADR services. Team members expressed a desire to have the administrative procedures simplified in order to facilitate case administration and the payment of travel and per diem, when necessary, for internal neutrals across Bureau lines; also, this needs to be looked into in order to facilitate the pr
ocurement of ADR services throughout the Department. Specific procedures that are established to accommodate the needs in this area will be published. Also, if feasible, standard forms, guidelines, and checklists will be developed for use.

__________________________
Approved as Submitted

__________________________
Approved with Modification(s) [note modifications]

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The team talked extensively about how to most effectively begin transition into implementation of the new InterioResolutioNetwork (IRN). Would it be best to implement a pilot in one or two bureaus, initially, and evaluate operations and make modifications as needed? Would it be best to pilot the new system in a geographic area of the country in which several Bureaus are co-located and, then, make any changes necessary based upon on-going evaluations completed during the pilot? Should we begin implementation of the new system in one or two Bureaus and gradually phase in other Bureaus? Or, would it be best to roll-out implementation of the new system department-wide at the same time?

The best thinking of the team, and the point on which the members were able to reach consensus, was on providing ADR services through geographic partnering among Bureaus that are co-located in areas throughout the country. By doing so, the skills that are needed in order to initially offer the ADR processes/techniques of consultation, process coaching, mediation, and facilitation would be immediately available (without having to develop any internal capacity) within those Bureaus that are co-located geographically. Also, there would be immediate access to private practitioners who provide those services and others needed. Bureaus could partner for the delivery of all ADR services, training and technical assistance across bureau lines. Such an approach would represent the Secretary’s 4 C’s at their best. If we implement the new system using the geographic partnering approach, there are several operational issues that would need to be resolved prior to implementation, e.g., determining how, exactly, the services would be provided; whether there would be a lead bureau for coordination purposes; the number of employees within each area to be serviced; and resources available, to name a few. These are the types of implementation issues that were discussed by the team at the July 2002 meeting.

____________________
Approved as Submitted

_________________________
Approved with Modifications [note modifications]


IMPLEMENTATION PLAN:

Following are the next steps envisioned to implement the recommendations:

1. An initial draft of a new Departmental Manual Chapter on the workplace ADR system has been completed and will be finalized and submitted through the appropriate offices for review and approval concurrent with review of the Design Team’s recommendations for approval. Also, a handbook outlining specific operational procedures for the new system will be developed for use.
Projected completion date: February 2002.

2. With the work of the design team completed, the next steps will involve transition to implementation. The Management Initiatives Team (MIT) does not have to approve the new system before implementation; however, its members will have to be provided with a status report. The Acting Workplace ADR Coordinator has briefed each Bureau Deputy Director on the design and has received approvals.
Projected Completion Date (MIT status briefing by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Workforce Diversity): January 2003.

3. Concurrent with the status briefing with the MIT will be issuance of a memorandum announcing the new workplace ADR system.
Projected Completion Date: January 2003.

4. The Implementation Phase - which is considered phase two - there will be several components involved: development of evaluation tools for the system; development of tracking tools; establishment of the roster (of internal neutrals) and management of that roster; compilation of the list of external third party neutrals; development of intake procedures for the ADR system; development of marketing tools; and development of training curricula. An implementation team (or teams) will be created, made up of Bureau representatives, that will work with a consultant (or, consultants), to accomplish implementation. It is envisioned that the initial evaluation tools developed will provide data on the effectiveness of the system, the efficiency of the systems and the satisfaction of the customers who utilize the system. The tracking system will be developed for use by all of the Bureaus.
Projected Completion Dates: Contract with Consultant(s) by February 2003; Creation of teams B March 2003

5. Transition to Implementation: April 2003

6. The Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution will be responsible for issuing all guidance, providing assistance to Bureaus and offices, and establishing standards for quality control.
Projected Completion Date: On-going

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DEFINITIONS


Alternative Discipline (AD):

Can be characterized as a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that, like more traditional ADR techniques, such as mediation, facilitation, etc., can be used effectively to resolve, reduce, or even eliminate workplace disputes that might come from a circumstance where disciplinary action is appropriate. As the term suggests, AD is an alternative to traditional discipline - usually when the traditional penalty would be less than removal.

Conciliation:

This involves building a positive relationship between the parties to a dispute. A third party, or conciliator, may be used by the parties to help build such relationships.

A conciliator may assist parties by helping to establish communication, clarifying misperceptions, dealing with strong emotions and building the trust necessary for cooperative problem-solving. Some of the techniques used by conciliators include providing for a neutral meeting place, carrying initial messages between/among the parties, reality testing regarding perceptions or misperceptions, and affirming the parties’ abilities to work together. Since a general objective of conciliation is often to promote openness by the parties, this method allows parties to be in dialogues, get to know each other better, build positive perceptions and enhance trust. The conciliation method is often used in conjunction with other methods such as facilitation or mediation.

Consultation:

This is a meeting for deliberation, discussion or decision. (Note: Although this is not a separate ADR method, for the purposes of the Workplace ADR system, it is being included because persons who provide ADR services often provide this service to clients.)

Cooperative Problem Solving:

This is one of the most basic methods of dispute resolution. This informal technique usually does not use the services of a third party and typically takes place when the concerned parties agree to resolve a question or issue of mutual concern. It is a positive effort by the parties to collaborate rather than compete to resolve a dispute.

Cooperative problem solving may be the technique of first resort when the parties recognize that a problem or dispute exists and that they may be affected negatively if the matter is not resolved. It is most commonly used when a conflict is not highly polarized and prior to the parties forming “hard line” positions. This method is a key element of labor-management cooperation programs.

Dispute Panels:

Dispute Panels use one or more neutral or impartial individuals who are available to the parties as a means to clarify misperceptions, fill in information gaps or resolve differences over data or facts. The panel reviews conflicting data or facts and suggests ways for the parties to reconcile their differences. These recommendations may be procedural in nature or they may involve specific substantive recommendations, depending on the authority of the panel and the needs or desires of the parties. Information analyses and suggestions made by the panel may be used by the parties in other processes such as negotiations.

This method is generally an informal process and the parties have considerable latitude about how the panel is used. It is particularly useful in those organizations where the panel is non-threatening and has established a reputation for helping parties work through and resolve their own disputes short of using some formal dispute resolution process.

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Facilitation:

This method involves the use of techniques to improve the flow of information in a meeting between parties to a dispute. The techniques may also be applied to decision-making meetings where a specific outcome is desired (e.g., resolution of a conflict or dispute). The term “facilitator” does not typically become as involved in the substantive issues as does a mediator. The facilitator focuses more on the process involved in resolving a matter.

The facilitator is external to the parties and dispute and generally works with all of the meeting participants at once and provides procedural directions as to how the group can move efficiently through the problem-solving steps of the meeting and arrive at the jointly agreed upon goal. Facilitators focus on procedural assistance and remain impartial to the topics or issues under discussion.

The method of facilitating is most appropriate when: (1) the intensity of the parties’ emotions about the issues in dispute are low-to-moderate; (2) the parties or issues are not extremely polarized; (3) the parties have enough trust in each other that they can work together to develop a mutually acceptable solution; or (4) the parties are in a common predicament and they need or will benefit from a jointly-acceptable outcome.

Informal Fact-Finding:

Informal Fact-Finding is the process of informally gathering information relevant to identified issues/concerns. The purpose of informal fact-finding is to give the conflict resolution specialist enough knowledge to assist involved parties in resolving their differences. Fact-finding is not a formal investigation and no written determination or opinion will be produced.

Interest-based Problem-solving:

This is a technique that creates effective solutions while improving the relationship between the parties. The process separates the person from the problem, explores all interests to clearly define issues, brainstorms possibilities and selects mutually agreed upon standards to reach a solution. Creating trust amongst the parties is crucial in successful interest-based problem-solving.

Interest-based problem-solving is often used in collective bargaining between labor and management in place of traditional, position-based bargaining. However, as a technique, it can be effectively applied in many contexts where tow or more parties are seeking to reach agreement.

Mediation:

Mediation is the intervention into a dispute or negotiation of an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party who has no decision-making authority. The objective of this intervention is to assist the parties in voluntarily reaching an acceptable resolution of issues in dispute. Mediation is useful in highly polarized disputes where the parties have either been unable to initiate a productive dialogue, or where the parties have either been talking and have reached a seemingly insurmountable impasse. A mediator, like a facilitator, makes, primarily, procedural suggestions regarding how parties can reach agreement. Occasionally, a mediator may encourage the parties to expand the range of possible resolutions. A mediator often works with the parties individually, in caucuses, to explore acceptable resolution options or to develop proposals that might move the parties closer to resolution.

Mediators differ in their degree of directiveness or control while assisting disputing parties. Some mediators set the stage for bargaining, make minimal procedural suggestions, and intervene in the negotiations only to avoid or overcome a deadlock. Other mediators are much more involved in forging the details of a resolution. Regardless of how directive the mediator is, the mediator performs the role of catalyst that enables the parties to initiate progress toward their own resolution of issues in dispute.

Partnering:

This method is used to improve a variety of working relationships, primarily among workgroups, by seeking to prevent disputes before they occur. The method relies on an agreement in principle to share the risks involved in completing a project and to establish and promote a nurturing environment. This is done through the use of team-building activities to help define common goals, improve communication, and foster a problem-solving attitude among the group of individuals who
must work together.

Process Coaching:

In this type of intervention, the third party makes suggestions about how the negotiation process can be improved. The process coach makes suggestions that will enhance the probability of positive benefits for all of the disputing parties rather than merely one “client”. The coaching may involve procedural suggestions on how to make conciliatory gestures, improve communications, start negotiations, identify interests, generate options, make offers, back parties off hard line positions, and so forth.

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