What we do
DRSL offers a complete range of services for resolving, managing and preventing disputes.
There are a variety of ways to approach disputes – mediation, facilitation and adjudication – and DRSL has the experience and the people to handle all of these areas, including the establishment of comprehensive complaint management systems.
Services we offer:
Facilitation and mediation are quick and easy alternatives to resolving disputes that might otherwise end up in court. Using a facilitation or mediation process to resolve a dispute is a good way to protect a relationship between disputing parties, that might otherwise be damaged, as they are inclusive and non-confrontational.
Both facilitation and mediation are processes that are easy to understand, quick, and extremely cost effective. Legal representation is not required and the dispute can be addressed as soon as all parties agree to a meeting.
Facilitation aims to get disputing parties to fully understand each other's position, and therefore resolve the dispute.
A facilitation is managed by an impartial and professionally qualified facilitator. Facilitation begins with information gathering and uses initiatives such as file analysis, consultation, negotiation and problem-solving. The facilitator acts as an ‘interpreter’, to make sure there is good communication between the parties, and that everyone understands what is happening and why. Ultimately both parties should understand one another better, and all of the information and issues should be clear.
The facilitator may provide written recommendations for resolving the dispute or moving the parties forward, but does not make any binding decisions.
Facilitation is a flexible process—everyone involved in the dispute may meet with the facilitator or alternatively the facilitator may meet with the parties separately.
The process depends on the nature of the dispute and the wishes of the parties. Once it's finished, the facilitator writes a letter to everyone involved with details of the results.
The costs of facilitation—and who pays—are agreed between the parties before the process begins.
The aim of mediation is to get disputing parties to reach a mutually agreed conclusion.
Mediation can be used in a variety of situations, including relationship, employment, community and commercial disputes—in fact any circumstances when two or more parties are unable to resolve an issue by themselves.
The mediation process involves an impartial third person (a professionally qualified mediator) helping the parties in a dispute to reach an agreement through a constructive, problem-solving approach. The mediator doesn't make a decision on the dispute, but helps the parties to discuss the issues and develop a mutually acceptable result.
When is mediation a good idea?
Mediation is appropriate when:
- both parties are prepared to enter the process voluntarily and with a desire to resolve their dispute
- the parties have an ongoing relationship and are willing to focus on the present and the future, rather than the past
Mediation is a flexible and informal process—there are some basic 'rules', but generally the meeting and how it goes is up to the parties involved. Anything that takes place is confidential, which means it cannot be referred to in any subsequent court proceedings.
Mediation generally involves two agreements:
- one at the beginning, when everyone signs an 'agreement to mediate' that sets out their rights and responsibilities
- one at the end, if agreement has been reached. The parties also receive written notification that the mediation is complete.
Parties can withdraw at any time if they wish and if they can't reach agreement they can take further action, such as taking an ACC dispute to review.
The costs of mediation—and who pays—are agreed between the parties before the process begins.
DRSL has experience across a wide and different range of industry complaint management systems. It has ability to assess, design and implement the most appropriate system for an organisation or industry.
DRSL currently operates the legislated decision review system for ACC - and also provides alternate dispute resolution services to ACC such as facilitation and mediation - which operate alongside the more formal review process. DRSL has managed the ACC Review process for the past ten years, competently negotiating case law, claimants and ACC's own systems.
DRSL is also the Scheme Agent for the Telecommunication Dispute Resolution (TDR) service, which was established in 2007. The TDR service was initiated by the Telecommunication industry as an independent complaint management system. In this role DRSL has set up the entire complaint handling process for the management of TDR disputes, implements the extensive Customer Complaints Code for TDR, and also provides the front-end service for TDR with a nationwide team of complaint handlers.
DRSL also managed the design and content of the TDR brand and website. See www.tdr.org.nz
In 2010 DRSL tendered for and won the contract to set up and run the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. The scheme was initiated by the Ministry as part of a raft of changes being made to regulate the financial sector. A wide range of Financial Service Providers (FSPs) must be registered to legally provide financial services, and in order to register FSPs must be members of an external dispute resolution service. FDR was launched on October 1, 2010.
DRSL also managed the design and content of the FDR brand and website. See www.fdr.org.nz.
General Complaint Management Services
DRSL can assess an organisation or industry's existing complaint handling processes and evaluate its effectiveness. It also has the capacity to develop complaint handling systems either from what already exists or to create a new system where there isn't one.
There are fundamental requirements in any complaints management scheme and we can ensure these are in place, well practised and monitored.
A free initial consultation is provided.
The Telecommunication Dispute Resolution (TDR) service was established in 2007. TDR is an independent complaint management system for telecommunication consumers.
DRSL is the Scheme Agent for TDR; this involves the managing, resolving and reporting on telecommunication consumer complaints nationwide. DRSL implemented the initial processes for the handling of TDR disputes and provides the front-end service for TDR with a nationwide team of complaint handlers.
DRSL also managed the design and content of the TDR brand and website. See www.tdr.org.nz
The Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme was established in October 2010. DRSL set up and operates the FDR service for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. FDR works to resolve disputes between consumers and the members of the FDR scheme. It reports on issues such as complaint types, the number of complaints and identities systemic issues.
DRSL also managed the design and content of the FDR brand and website. See www.fdr.org.nz for more information.
We offer a range of consulting services designed to avoid, or minimise, the risk of disputes escalating. These may take the form of independent advice on issues management; facilitation of meetings of relevant experts; confidential employment issues resolution; or simply a knowledgeable sounding board.
DRSL will come in and examine existing dispute cases and give an independent assessment including projecting likely outcomes and recommending methods of getting agreement without escalation to court proceedings.
With the right business processes, issues can be resolved early or prevented entirely. We help clients put in place dispute prevention and resolution strategies, staff training programmes and reporting procedures.
- presentations on conflict management and dispute resolution
- interactive conflict management workshops for small groups
- one-on-one trouble shooting and problem solving advice
- access to information such as summaries of court decisions
- information on the dispute resolution process, and advice on how best to navigate it
- management information and analysis.
Our outstanding team—located throughout New Zealand—professionally administers disputes on behalf of government, legal and medical practitioners, advocates and support groups, and individuals. All our administrators have excellent communications and computer skills and routinely arrange meetings and hearings in 30 locations throughout the country.
We can provide informal advice and feedback on trends, and recommendations for preventing disputes or resolving them early, or we can provide formal written reports.
Adjudication is a process where disputing parties agree to have an independent assessment and decision made about their dispute.
DRSL provides professional, independent adjudicators and arbitrators who are skilled in advanced legal and statutory interpretation, analysis and reasoning. Our adjudicators will assess the dispute and deliver a fully reasoned written decision.
We provide an independent review service for people who are unhappy about decisions made by New Zealand's Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Our experienced reviewers deliver binding decisions based on a thorough assessment of all the evidence presented.