These days it is important for governments to have flexible and accessible ways to resolve conflict as part of doing”normal business”. The explicit use of government mediation has proven beneficial for all levels of government.
A qualified mediator offers their conflict resolution skills and develops collaborative processes that are useful in many aspects of government such as the following:
- public policy development,
- organizational policies and procedures,
- evaluation reports,
- local and regional government planning,
- land use policy,
- collaborative processes,
- participatory planning, and
- bylaw enforcement matters.
The research now shows that mediation can be effective in government much like it is now in the court systems. Mediation is now used in the BC provincial court system as an additional process to resolve the disputes and could be used in governments in the same way.
Mediation can be defined as a flexible method for achieving solutions that can be adapted to suit the specific circumstances and the needs of those involved. Mediation tends to be a collaborative process that builds cooperation and alliances.
Mediation is often successful and provides solutions that work because the agreements that are reached are provided by the parties themselves.
Mediation also aims to resolves the issues in a timely manner which is usually cost effective. It also encourages mutual understanding of the issues and identification of what each party needs in order to reach a successful outcome.
There are a wide range of government issues for which mediation could provide an effective tool for overcoming the many challenges faced by governments today. Mediation can be used in a number of circumstances and for different outcomes.
Traditionally governments have relied on the court system to resolve major disputes. This approach is often time consuming, costly, and does not enhance relationships between parties. As an alternative, governments may want to consider the use of mediation during the various policy and planning processes or at the voluntary compliance stage of the bylaw enforcement process prior to litigation.
The time is now right for mediation to be used by governments to move issues forward to provide better solutions for all the partied involved. So next time your agency or department experiences some form of conflict why not consider bringing in a neutral mediator to assist in developing solutions that work?
Kind regards, Gillian
P.S.: Please contact me directly if your agency may be interested in a free consultation by telephone or email.