From the CEO
July 2017 >>
I wrote to members recently about the review of our operational structure and the departures of two highly capable and respected staff members.
I recalled the bold move in 2013 and then again in 2014 by former Boards to integrate to create a cross-Tasman dispute resolution professional membership organisation with a larger and more influential presence and with a mission, articulated in 2016, as “Leading excellence in resolution”.
To deliver on this mission, Resolution Institute has focussed on growing the skills, knowledge and professionalism of members and new entrants to the field. Over the past two years, the number of full time and part time staff members working from our offices in Wellington and Sydney has grown from 12 to 22, to deliver expanded training and Chapter CPD events, to launch a series of webinars, to increase our social media presence, to liaise more extensively with government and to make criteria based nominations, all underpinned by careful financial management.
As Resolution Institute grows and evolves, our executive team keeps a watchful eye on the skills matrix of our staff, adapting roles and responsibilities that recognise our diverse skills and ensuring we deliver high-quality customer service and value for our members. In this spirit, I am pleased to announce that commencing next week we will implement a new structure.
As often happens, with every exciting opportunity there is also sad news. We are sad to farewell two senior team members, based in the Sydney office, and wish them well on the next step in their career journeys. Our Communications Coordinator, Brian Decelis, who, after 1½ years is returning with his family to Malta and takes up a new position as General Manager with an educational provider. In early August, Ellie Pietsch, our GM – Australia, having been with us for more than 3½ years, will also leave to take up an exciting new opportunity with a change management consultancy. We thank both Ellie and Brian for their vital contributions to Resolution Institute’s endeavours to improve the opportunities for resolving disputes effectively and enhancing access to justice. We wish them all the very best in the next steps in their careers.
The revised structure made possible by these sad departures comprises:
- An expansion of the Executive team from three to four – CEO (Fiona Hollier), General Manager NZ (Catherine Cooper), General Manager AU (Member Operations) and General Manager AU (Business Operations). Members of this team work closely together, guided by the mission, to implement the strategic plan. The CEO has overall responsibility for implementation, for operations and for developing strategic partnerships and each General Manager has operational, tactical, project management and staff supervision responsibilities.
- A reconfiguration of the communications role into two functions: events administration and communications, with a particular focus on services across Australia and New Zealand such as webinars and Pulse.
I am delighted to announce that Hannah Pia Baral, who joined Resolution Institute in December 2016 as Digital News and Information Coordinator, has now been appointed General Manager, AU (Member Operations). Hannah has senior management experience in professional membership organisations and brings a wealth of knowledge about technology, volunteer engagement, knowledge transfer and learning. Hannah will lead a team responsible for membership, accreditation and grading, member communications and Pulse, chapter and member group liaison, member engagement, member insurance program, webinar, member event and conference delivery and database and search directory development.
We look forward to appointing shortly a highly capable person for the second General Manager AU role, who will be responsible for training and assessment, nominations, business development and marketing, sponsorship and corporate partnerships, RI venue hire, trust account, HR and WHS and office operations. We are also currently in the process of recruiting enthusiastic and competent people for the events administration and communications functions.
As well as these restructured roles, we also welcome Wei Vong and Seema Parekh to take up vacancies in the Sydney based Learning Pathways team (following the departures of Winona Wawn and Cassy Ashford); and shortly, we will farewell Kathy Broad from the Wellington office and look forward to welcoming her replacement in Training and Membership services.
When we recruit new members of staff we seek both high-level skills and also strong alignment with the Resolution Institute values of collaboration, excellence, integrity, diversity and innovation. The staff members that Resolution Institute is fortunate to have pride themselves on cooperative teamwork, going above and beyond, aiming always to do the right thing, looking for new and better ways and encouraging individual ideas and strengths.
We value our members’ support as we fill these important roles and the interest and assistance members can offer as new staff take up the challenges of “leading excellence in dispute resolution”.
Chief Executive Officer
June 2017 >>
We are thrilled that so many members have chosen to continue being part of the leading voice in the DR community. The rate of renewals is faster than in 2016, when we first started to track this data.
The quick response to membership renewals is testimony to the appropriateness of the strategy the Board set late 2016 underpinned by five pillars: influence, leadership, engagement, innovation and enablement.
Resolution Institute has become a large (for the sector) and influential organisation. This has translated into a surge of activity and expansion over the last two years.
- We have developed the framework for chapters to increase from five to seventeen, networking and special interest groups (SIGs)
- We have supported the delivery of more than 100 chapter and SIG events in the past year
- We have launched a program of webinars – with 3 delivered so far, attended by more than 600 members and colleagues, and another 15 planned for the end of 2017
- Over the last year we have drafted, designed and distributed over 900 promotional notices for training, Chapter and SIG events and ‘Keeping you informed’ notices and opportunities
- We negotiated an even more competitive Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance package down to $220 in 2016-17 from $299 in 2015-16
- We have designed a Resolution Institute member logo almost ready for release – keep a lookout for this to be launched in the coming fortnight
- We have completely revised the member search directory, ready for release within about 8 weeks, to aid consumers and DR users to access the DR provider who will suit their needs
- We post daily on social media - Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn- with news items and articles attracting more than 1,200 followers.
- We have established innovative partnerships with two providers to develop on-line mediation platforms customised for Resolution Institute members
- We continue to deliver a packed program of training courses – about 20 in mediation, 10 in conflict management coaching, 4 in probity advice as well as a range of one day CPD offerings
- We encourage high standards of DR delivery through our accreditation of more than 200 DR practitioners per year
- We research, draft and submit Responses to government inquiries at a rate of one per month (on average), drawing on responses to surveys we design and to which we invite different segments of our membership to contribute
- We increasingly receive requests to provide guidance and support to government and industry to help design DR systems and establish DR provider panels
- We review a growing number of service and promotional ideas from businesses and DR providers keen to partner with us
- We have evolved our partnerships with other DR organisations to deliver conferences and events: the recent GPC conference, the recent Industry Forum on Dispute Resolution and late last year the RAIF arbitration conference and the upcoming cross sector conference – Relate, Resolve, Restore - in Wellington NZ, planned presentations at conferences in Singapore (about on-line mediation platform), and RAIF in Hong Kong.
This tells the story of extraordinary busyness and high productivity which has most recently been exemplified by the successful Global Pound Conference events held in Sydney and Auckland at the end of May 2017. These events placed Resolution Institute in the spotlight, as we worked closely with our legal firm partners, Herbert Smith Freehills and Kensington Swan, to deliver engaging conversations between DR providers, potential users of DR and their advisers and to collect valuable data about the perceived and actual delivery of dispute resolution and the part DR contributes to increasing access to justice. Take time to read the items prepared by members who attended the events in Australia >> and New Zealand >> They give weight to my comments in May that Resolution Institute takes a robust strategic approach to investment to ensure strong returns in raising awareness of DR, increasing the profile of Resolution Institute and on promoting the professionalism of our members.
Chief Executive Officer
May 2017 >>
The Australasian Law Awards were held in Sydney Thursday 18 May, 2017. Underpinned by our strategic pillar of Influence and Profile, Resolution Institute initiated the inaugural Arbitrator of the Year and Mediator of the Year in Australia, extending the benefits of our long term sponsorship of the New Zealand Mediator of the Year Award.
Our sponsorship of this annual event resulted in high exposure of Resolution Institute to the more than 700 lawyers and guests from international and local law firms, government and in-house counsel teams. Our sponsorship included naming rights for the two awards, prominent logo display, a full colour page advertisement in the program and tables reserved for Resolution Institute at the front of the room. Joining us at Resolution Institute’s table were supporters and sponsors of Resolution Institute in acknowledgment of their contribution.
The highpoint of our sponsorship was of course, the awards themselves. We are thrilled that 10 of the 11 finalists are Resolution Institute members (see details here >>). Our hearty congratulations to them all on this prestigious achievement. The finalists with the highest aggregated scores from an independent panel of judges were Arbitrator of the Year, Alex Baykitch, and Mediator of the Year, Stephen Lancken. Alex and Stephen exemplify the high professional standards and outstanding contribution to the DR industry of our members.
Sponsoring these Awards is important strategically for Resolution Institute as it helps us grow our influence and profile within the legal, government and commercial sectors. The Awards raise the profile of DR within the legal field, showcasing dispute resolvers as highly trained professionals with an important role to play in our justice system. The practical outcomes that we intend are that law firms and in-house counsel will seek dispute resolvers qualified by Resolution Institute and that Resolution Institute will be named as the referrer of resolvers in dispute resolution clauses in contracts.
Our sponsorship of the Australasian Law Awards is unashamedly focused on external exposure, as indeed is our participation as Global Partners of the Global Pound Conference (GPC). The GPC provides Resolution Institute with extended reach to advisors, parties, DR providers and people influential in the DR industry. As with the Awards, this is a significant opportunity for Resolution Institute to raise the profile of DR and to increase the perception of Resolution Institute as the go-to organisation for dispute resolution information and professionally qualified and recognised dispute resolvers.
The GPC also gives us the chance to support vital data collection about dispute resolution. Dispute resolution advocates and providers have long bemoaned the relative paucity of research data available in the field. The GPC provides the opportunity to augment the excellent work currently done by researchers within universities enabling us to grow our research data which in turn enables us to develop evidence based initiatives and practice.
Resolution Institute is savvy in our exposure investments. We seek strong return on investment, as indeed, you, our members do in your business development and marketing activities. We have our eye firmly on raising awareness of DR, increasing the profile of Resolution Institute and on promoting the professionalism of our members. In so doing we make the ground more fertile for you, our members, to sow the seeds that will grow your client base and the use of your DR services.
Chief Executive Officer
April 2017 >>
I think you might like to hear that Resolution Institute members are keen lifelong learners. Our members are also at ease with e-delivery. The statistics that Resolution Institute collects and monitors show that members soak up information that we supply to their in-boxes.
Resolution Institute regularly surpasses the benchmark rate within the not-for profit sector of 28% opening of written communications (see www.hubspot.com). The opening rate of Pulse, published monthly, hovers at around 40%. The opening rate of the approximate 100 Keeping you informed notices p.a. keeps pace with this as well as our 100 local CPD and networking event notices.
These opening rates demonstrate that the Resolution Institute strategic intent of being an information hub is well aligned with member interests. The question, "Will this information be of value to a significant number of our members?" continues to be a robust criterion for our publishing decisions. It aligns with our mission of "Leading excellence in resolution", as we ensure that our members have access to information about trends, professional learning opportunities, DR news, precedents, research findings and thought leadership. Within Pulse, Legal Updates regularly feature within the top three of opened items. Our sincere thanks to Clayton Utz for their ongoing commitment to providing us with these high quality case notes.
As well, the opening rates of e-communications, provided us with the impetus to publish the Resolution Institute peer reviewed journal, The arbitrator and mediator, in 2016 using the online e-zine publishing tool, issuu. The email announcing its publication had a 47% opening rate. On issuu, the journal has had 360 reads, with 82% of readers accessing it from a desktop, 10% from a smartphone and 8% from a tablet. Available for download and for printing, the journal delivered and accessed in e-format, helps to guarantee its viability and its appeal to the digital natives who are the dispute resolution professionals of the future.
Over the past 12 months, visitors to our website have increased by 14% from 58,906 p.a. to 67,371 p.a. More than half a million pageviews were accessed over the past year with the most read including the mediation training and assessment information pages (with a combined viewership of almost 30,000), CPD tracker and the membership categories information. The directory received more than 8,000 page views. Events, standard DR clauses for use in contracts and the PI/PL Insurance pages were viewed more than 4,000 times. To provide the online resources that our members and increasingly consumers need, we are refreshing the website with streamlined information architecture, increased user-centred navigation, improved visual appeal, greater directory accessibility and responsive design to suit tablet and smartphone access.
In the past 15 months, we have witnessed increases from 50+ to 250+ followers on Facebook, 375 to 575 on LinkedIn and 300 to 360 on Twitter (March 2017). To get a sense of perspective, Resolution Institute followers compare favorably with, for example, the Dispute Resolution Branch, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland Government and Mediators Beyond Borders International which have respectively, 258 and 410 LinkedIn followers.
Typically Resolution Institute posts twice daily on each of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter providing up to date industry developments, resources, events and news. Our Facebook reaches around 100 users per day with top posts recently including an ABC News story about new farm business debt mediation laws in Queensland and a podcast by US DR practitioner Tammy Lenski about the risks of sweeping conflict under the rug.
Our LinkedIn posts reached an average of 2,600 users per month. The most popular posts over the past three months included an RI mediation training workshop in Wellington, NZ, the call by the NSW Attorney-General to resolve legal disputes away from court and an Infographic on What is mediation? What are the prerequisites that determine a successful mediation?
Our tweets in March attracted over 9,000 impressions and more than 200 profile visits. Since the beginning of the year, the ABC news story on the Queensland farm business debt mediation was a top tweet as were a Cinergy conflict master questions blog post on “necessary conflict” and an RI Fellow, Ian Bailey AM SC being honoured on Australia Day.
Communicating current, topical and interesting information is a hallmark of a go-to leading organisation within an industry. Resolution Institute is committed to taking this role as a professional membership organisation serving the information needs of our members and other industry stakeholders.
Of course, we are alert to the risks of information overload. We know that a small number of our members report this as a problem; and simultaneously, we know that our members, along with the broader community are fast developing skills in scanning communications to identify items of relevance to them.
In our continuous review of our communications strategy, our current focus is on capturing and grouping information for more targeted communications which occur with appropriate frequency. We would love to hear from you, our members, about what you like about our communications and what you would like more of, less of or different. Just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your thoughts.
Chief Executive Officer
March 2017 >>
In the past 12 months more than 15 government agencies or private regulatory bodies have sought Resolution Institute’s advice about DR schemes being reviewed or developed. Business areas include farm debt, motor vehicle repairs, land valuation, copyright and conduct and compensation for competing land tenure. Resolution Institute has provided advice about:
- designing dispute systems
- developing panels of dispute resolvers
- implementing appropriate levels and systems of training and accreditation and
- preparing schedules of fees that serve the interests of consumers, practitioners and the agency itself.
In addition, Resolution Institute has made submissions to more than 10 government inquiries since the beginning of 2016. This level of activity indicates the maturity of the DR market in Australia and New Zealand, where DR provides options, rather than an “alternative”, for resolving matters. Proudly we acknowledge Resolution Institute’s significant voice in shaping the delivery of DR in our communities and its instrumental role in growing the DR pie for the benefit of members and consumers.
Resolution Institute’s lead in the regional and international conferences of RAIF in Sydney in late 2016, the Resolve, Relate and Restore Conference in Wellington (not yet run as a result of the earthquake) and the Global Pound Conferences in Sydney and Auckland in 2017, provides important exposure for Resolution Institute. In these three instances, Resolution Institute has been pivotal in seeking and gaining the participation of more than 50 law firms or influential leaders who have generously agreed to be presenters. We anticipate that the GPC events will provide exposure of Resolution Institute, as a GPC Global Partner, to more than an additional 100 business leaders and legal advisors. The 2018 National Mediation Conference (being extended to include other DR methodologies) and the Resolve, Relate and Restore Conference (generously sponsored by Family Works, Guided Resolution, and Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment, of Education and of Justice) provide an extra platform for exposure of Resolution Institute within the DR community.
Resolution Institute’s connections with law firms also have deeper roots. Clayton Utz on a monthly basis prepares legal updates for Pulse, Herbert Smith Freehills and Kensington Swann are providing facilities for the upcoming GPC conferences and firms such as Baker & McKenzie (VIC), Belperio Clark (SA), Corrs, Dentons, Colin Biggers & Paisley, Holman Webb (NSW) and Jackson McDonald (WA) sponsor Resolution Institute Chapter events on a regular or periodic basis and firms such as Bell Gully, Cameron & Co, Holland Beckett and Mc Caw Lewis also provide invaluable sponsorship for NZ events. (A full list is published in our annual report page 4 >>). In Melbourne and Sydney, more than 30 law firms accepted Resolution Institute invitations to attend cocktail events focusing on nomination services in adjudication and arbitration.
Resolution Institute regards you, our members as our best advocates of RI and of dispute resolution. In the March edition of Pulse, we feature initiatives by Chapter and Special Interest Group in South Australia and NSW to reach out to DR stakeholders through partnerships with the SA Business Commission and with Holman Webb in Sydney. These exemplify Resolution Institute collective member efforts over many years to engage with potential clients or referrers of work, in their business development activities recognising that “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
When organisations merge or rebrand, their risk analysis usually includes potential detriment to reputation or brand awareness, as indeed the Board’s analysis has done for Resolution Institute. Resolution Institute is heartened by the evidence that we continue to have high visibility to government and business organisations, that our members continue to reach out into the community and that our profile is expanding in ways that offer opportuniies to exert influence in shaping and growing DR opportunities across Australasia.
Chief Executive Officer
February 2017 >>
The GPC Sydney and Auckland events are just around the corner. There will only be 40 seats for each stakeholder group. We expect that many of our members, particularly those focused on commercial disputes, will be keen to get a seat in the room at a table with people who could be future clients to participate in this important worldwide conversation about how matching DR to meet client needs. The individual sponsorship packages provide a marketing advantage which includes a place for you and one for one of your clients, as well a range of other benefits. We encourage you to think seriously about demonstrating your commitment to shaping the future of DR by supporting this event in Sydney >> and in Auckland >>
Resolution Institute is one of nearly 60,000 not-for-profits registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) out of an estimated 600,000 NFP organisations in Australia. The NFP sector employs approximately 890,000 people and contributed about $43 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP). Presenting on making conflict between Chair and CEO healthy at the Association Forum’s CEO and Chair Symposium attended by some 50 NFPs, I was reminded again about the importance of culture. At Resolution Institute, we have a culture of greeting conflict positively and seeing the opportunities it provides for future growth and innovative solutions. This constructive ethos and the skills that flow from it, provide Board and staff with a diverse set of tools for effectively addressing challenges and enriching relationships. Feedback suggested that this is not universally the case with NFPs and that there is considerable scope for RI members to consider developing processes and products for this sector.
The varied conversations at the Flinders University conference on Reforming Civil Justice included questions about the unique role of each part of the DR system. What is it that Courts do that no other part of the system can do? Deliver solutions to disputing parties? Enforce solutions? How can society provide access to justice for all people in our community? Increasing use of online dispute resolution (ODR) may be part of the jigsaw. In preparation for the panel discussing ODR, I read the HiiL trends report on ODR and the Courts. I found it to be an easy and informative read which paints a picture about innovative ODR approaches in many different jurisdictions. We have included a link to it in Pulse as I think many of you will find it interesting reading that helps you to stay informed about our area of work >>
The ICC mediation competition in Paris once again gave teams from universities across the world the chance to practise their skills and learn more about mediation. Coached by Resolution Institute members the Australian and New Zealand teams showed a depth of knowledge and skill which is evidence of the very strong DR focus in this part of the world. Modelled on the ICC competition, the Australian Chamber of Commerce is launching an Asia-Pacific competition. Resolution Institute is pleased to be providing prizes of mediation training to winning teams. As in Paris, this competition will be looking for experienced mediators to role play and to judge the competition. If you are interested in volunteering for this unique experience, consider signing up by 21 March >>
Chief Executive Officer
January 2017 >>
What a great start to the year to be able to extend our hearty congratulations to two of our members who have been recognised for their contribution in DR. Life member David A R Williams QC was admitted to the New Zealand Order of Merit as a Knight Companion for services to international law and arbitration. David was also a founding board member of LEADR NZ. In Australia, member and highly experienced adjudicator and arbitrator, John Murray AM has been appointed to conduct a significant review of security of payments legislation in each jurisdiction across Australia. Resolution Institute gives its best wishes to both David and John.
Global Pound Conferences in Sydney and Auckland
We are becoming more and more excited about the upcoming GPC events which are being held in Sydney and Auckland on 29 and 31 May respectively. As you may already know, the goal of the Global Pound Conference (GPC) Series is to create a conversation about what can be done to improve access to justice and the quality of resolution services around the world in civil and commercial dispute. Resolution Institute is proud to be a Global Partner of the GPC Series.
The GPC Series will play host to more than 5,000 people, with local events in up to 40 cities, across 31 countries worldwide, over a period of 18 months. The local events will gather data intended to enable the dispute resolution market and all participants to consider the current attitudes to and usage of dispute resolution and to explore how to adapt and extend DR services to align better to disputants’ needs.
Each event brings together key opinion leaders, leading corporations, DR providers and other stakeholders who regularly participate in the resolution of civil and commercial disputes. The line-up of panelists that we are expecting in both Australia and New Zealand will make both programs compelling.
Our thanks to the members of the Local Organising Committees in Sydney and Auckland for volunteering their time to assist in organising these events. We are finalising the programs for the events scheduled for 29 May in Sydney and 31 May in Auckland and registrations will open soon. Registration numbers will be closely allocated and monitored to ensure a spread across the five major stakeholder groups – parties, advisors, influential individuals and organisations, facilitative providers and determinative providers. Keep an eye on the Sydney >> and Auckland >> pages to for the latest updates.
Resolution Institute is currently negotiating to provide valuable sponsorship for a commercial Mediation Competition being organised by the Australian Chamber of Commerce. Scheduled to be held in Melbourne in July, this will be the first regional mediation competition in the Asia-Pacific region conducted along much the same lines as the competition organised by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris annually. Resolution institute is advertising the opportunities for members to volunteer as coaches and as competition judges. We encourage our members to share your expertise to develop the skills of the future generation of mediators and lawyers.
In the meantime, we would like to give our best wishes to the Australasian teams taking part in the ICC Competition being held in the first week of February in Paris. Sixty-six university teams from 33 countries will take part in this biggest annual educational event devoted exclusively to international commercial mediation. We hope there will be a repeat of last year’s clean sweep for Australasia with teams from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Auckland and Monash University who, coached by Resolution Institute members, took the top three spots in the competition, beating law schools from ‘Ivy League’ and other prestigious universities. We keep our fingers crossed!
Finally, if you have not already done so I encourage you to leaf through the 2016 Annual Report. The Report tells the story of a remarkable year for Resolution Institute. As well, for stimulating articles about DR practice and issues, find time to read the arbitrator & mediator. Reading articles of this quality helps us to sharpen our skills and understanding to ensure that we deliver the best quality DR services that we can. While you are in the ‘Members’ area of this website (where both these publications are stored), peruse the other resources available noting the ones you will come back to.
Chief Executive Officer