ADR PROGRAM CHECKLIST: WHAT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES NEED TO KNOW - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 55, No. 3
Susan Summers Raines
The author has worked at the Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute since 1998, where she designs and implements mediation programs with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She is also part of the evaluation team for the United States Postal Service’s REDRESS™ mediation program, and is a member of the roster of World Bank mediators.
Increasingly, state and local agencies nationwide are learning firsthand the benefits of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs. As word of ADR’s successes spreads, agency heads are thinking about trying out mediation and other forms of ADR. For example, the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet has used mediation to address a backlog of over 1,000 administrative hearing cases since 1994. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission has found that individuals who use mediation to resolve contested permit disputes generally come away with a more positive feeling about government.1
Often, governmental agencies make unnecessary work for themselves when they decide to develop a mediation program because they do not make use of the experiences of other agencies and organizations. The following checklist is a result of the author’s experiences developing conflict resolution and mediation programs for state agencies in Indiana. However, the majority of the list applies to other forms of ADR including facilitation, early neutral evaluation, and arbitration.
Checklist for Agencies Considering a Mediation Program 1. The Pre-Planning Phase 2. The Planning Phase 3. The Implementation Phase 4. The Expansion or Institutionalization Phase