Facilitation & ACC
Facilitation is a process that takes all of the information about a dispute and makes sure that everybody understands all of the issues.
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. The aim is for ACC clients to understand why ACC is making the decisions that it is around their claim, and for ACC to understand what the clients understands and wants. Ultimately both parties should understand one another better, and all of the information and issues are clear.
A facilitator may provide a written recommendation to all parties, but this is not a binding decision.
Facilitation can be arranged by a DRSL Resolution Coordinator. If you get in touch with DRSL you can talk to a coordinator about setting a time and place for the facilitation meeting to happen.
If facilitation does not resolve the issue, the next options are either mediation
or an ACC Review
. Mediation aims to get all parties to understand the issues, but also to reach an agreement about what should happen next.
Facilitation is a flexible and informal process. There are some basic 'rules', but generally the meeting and how it goes is up to the people involved. It is a confidential process, which means it cannot be referred to in any future review or court proceedings.
Meetings can also be held on marae, and Te Reo translators can be provided.
You are welcome to bring friends and family/whanau. You can also bring a legal representative, but because facilitation is an informal process there are no legal implications regarding what is discussed or what the outcome is.
Usually the parties meet together, but the facilitator can also meet with people separately to discuss the dispute and explore ideas for settlement. Both sides will be told if there are separate meetings held with one side or the other.
There is no set time for how long a facilitation will take – it takes as long as necessary to make progress. However most facilitation meetings last between two and six hours. Either side can withdraw at any time if they wish.
If an agreement can’t be reached, either side can take further action. If your dispute is about an ACC decision, you can start the more formal process of an ACC Review, where a binding decision will be made about the dispute.
ACC will meet the costs of DRSL being involved; the coordination, providing the facilitator and providing a venue. People are generally responsible for meeting their own costs such as travel, unless agreed otherwise.
Who is the facilitator?
The facilitator will be from DRSL. All DRSL facilitators are members of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand, and they have a wide range of experience in facilitation and training in alternative dispute resolution.
Applying for facilitation
Anyone involved in a dispute can suggest facilitation, but it can only go ahead if all parties agree to it. If you're considering facilitation, please get in touch with DRSL. We are happy to give you all the information you need.