Purpose and Scope
Skills Insight Jobs and Skills Council is required to have a dispute resolution policy (in addition to internal existing disputes policy) as part of the Jobs and Skills Council Grant Agreement with the Commonwealth department.
The purpose of this policy is to outline:
With the exception of internal staffing matters and membership applications, that have alternative policies and procedures, all disputes can be addressed through this policy, including:
Skills Insight operates at all levels using a consensus approach, wherever possible, with the aim of achieving outcomes that are acceptable to all stakeholders. This is part of our core approach, and therefore the use of formal Dispute Resolution, as an alternative to reaching consensus, should be avoided wherever possible.
This policy has been established on the foundation of Skills Insight values, behaviours and strategies and all actions must be consistent with them. In the event of any conflict between this policy and the values, behaviours and strategies of Skills Insight, we request that you promptly notify the CEO for resolution.
In managing disputes, Skills Insight Jobs and Skills Council will strive to:
Part 1: General Approach to Resolving Issues
Utilising consensus to minimise disputes
Skills Insight will use every endeavour to use consensus approaches in its work to minimise the potential for formal disputes.
Skills Insight will endeavour to make decisions using an evidence-based consensus approach.
Consensus is a group decision-making process in which participants develop and decide on proposals with the aim of acceptance by all. The focus on establishing agreement of participants is aimed at avoiding the use of unproductive opinion guiding decision making and will rely upon all participants recognising that decisions represent the best interests of the stakeholder membership as a whole. Individual participants may disagree or not support a decision, but evidence-based reasons are required to block a consensus decision.
The evidence-base to be considered will be the evidence collected by Skills Insight via open and transparent consultative processes, as required to implement the business plan and as outlined in the various procedures, including:
To implement the consensus approach, participants will:
Where required, a four-stage stakeholder engagement process will be followed prior to reaching a consensus decision. The process is:
In the event of being unable to reach a consensus decision, a formal dispute resolution process may be implemented.
Specific issues relating to content of a training product
Where disputes arise in relation to the content of a training product, Skills Insight will attempt to resolve these through the training product development process, and ensure it meets the requirements of the Training Package Operating Framework.
This may involve:
It is expected that these routine processes will enable the resolution of the vast majority of disputes.
Resolution of training product disagreements without a formal dispute resolution process
Based on the Principles outlined above, there may be situations where Skills Insight will be able to settle on an agreed training product, even if consensus is not achieved or all of the details of that training product are not agreed by all stakeholders. Where this is the case, the Stakeholder Forum will need to approve this approach, which will then be detailed (as part of the submission to the Assurance Body), identifying the areas where broad consensus has not been reached and the justification for resolving in this manner.
Part 2: Formal Dispute Resolution
Formal dispute resolution
The CEO, on their own authority or on the recommendation of the Chair of the Stakeholder Forum, or the Board of Skills Insight, may institute a formal Dispute Resolution Process. This may be instituted to enable a final decision to be made concerning a recommendation, or for any other dispute where there is a need to institute a formal process.
The principles that will be applied to the Dispute Resolution Process are:
Failure to adhere to these principles by any participant may result in exclusion from all or part of the process, or disciplinary action under the Code of Conduct or Skills Insight’s Constitution.
In considering the appropriate action to be taken, the CEO will consider which actions are most likely to achieve the following outcomes:
The recommendation in dispute (if applicable) and the nature of the dispute will be put in writing. On review of this, the CEO may institute any or all of the following:
In the event of mediation or an alternative dispute resolution practitioner being appointed, the mediator or body must be:
A member of the board can be a mediator but may not have an interest in or be a party to the dispute. An alternative dispute resolution practitioner must be external (and may be part of an external dispute resolution body).
It is intended that:
In the case of Alternative Dispute Resolution:
The parties to the dispute must, in good faith, attempt to settle the dispute.
The mediator or practitioner must:
The proceedings should, as far as possible, be confidential and without prejudice, subject to the requirements above concerning notification of alternative dispute resolution and reporting of outcomes.
A mediator or practitioner must not determine the dispute, and a recommendation by a mediator may be made to the CEO, Stakeholder Forum, or Board, which must consider and give full faith and credit to the recommendation.
Role of Skills Ministers
Skills Ministers will retain the right to issue directives to Skills Insight Jobs and Skills Council or not to endorse a training product. This includes any requirement to undertake further consultation or other work before returning a training product for endorsement.
Skills Ministers may direct Skills Insight to commence a formal dispute resolution process if they considered that this was necessary to assist in resolving issues of concern agreed on by the Ministers. If a formal dispute resolution process has already occurred before the issue is presented to Skills Ministers, it is not expected that the same process would again be directed by Skills Ministers.
Part 3: Specific Requirements for Alternative Dispute Resolution in relation to Training Package Product Development and Endorsement
When to engage
An Alternative Dispute Resolution practitioner may be engaged:
In either of the above cases, the relevant jurisdiction or Skills Insight must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the engagement of a practitioner.
The process will be reserved for those exceptional circumstances where one or more of the following criteria applies:
Preparing for the process
Skills insight will be responsible for developing a brief for the practitioner, including:
Engagement of a practitioner
Skills Insight will directly engage and be responsible for the terms of engagement for the Alternative Dispute Resolution practitioner and process.
The practitioner should be:
A director or staff member of Skills Insight or any sub-contractor and partner organisations cannot be engaged as a practitioner in a formal dispute resolution process which comes under the Training Package Operating Framework.
Following the process
The practitioner should be provided with:
When a practitioner is engaged, Skills Insight Jobs and Skills Council is responsible for updating their website to reflect:
The practitioner will determine the most appropriate resolution method in the circumstances.
Role and conclusion
The role of the practitioner is to help identify solutions and provide recommendations to the Jobs and Skills Council about ways to resolve difficult issues. The practitioner will not re-prosecute consultation submissions or to determine if Skills Insight sufficiently considered feedback as part of complying with the Policy in relation to process.
Reasonable time will be allocated for the practitioner to consider the issues and to explore views and options. The process would generally be expected to take between 3-4 weeks with a maximum timeframe of 2 months.
The practitioner will be expected to complete a short report, which summarises:
Recommendations may be presented as a single position or offered with options for consideration by Skills Insight.
Recommendations are not determinative and will not be binding on Skills Insight or on the stakeholders (if any) participating in the process.
Skills Insight is required to consider the recommendations and use them to make an informed decision about how to settle the training product content.
Skills Insight may seek clarification from the practitioner regarding the recommendations but cannot direct the ADR practitioner to re-examine the issue or to undertake another resolution process.
Once completed, the outcomes of the process will be published on the Skills Insight website as part of the Training Product Submission that is published at the time of submission to the Assurance Body.
Submission to the Assurance Body
Where an Alternative Dispute Resolution process has been utilised, this should be noted in the Training Product Submission prepared for the Assurance Body and published on the Skills Insight website.
Monitoring dispute resolution
The Commonwealth department is responsible for:
As part of these functions, the department will consider and review:
Relationship to Other Policies
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following codes, policies and guidelines: