Resolving a Dispute
What is Conciliation?
This is used to refer to a number of different processes. The most common are:
- where a third party acts as a conduit, transmitting offers of settlement between the parties but taking a much less active role in the negotiation than a mediator, or
- the processes used in agencies that administer legislative rights, in which case participation may be mandatory and the conciliator may be obliged to ensure that the solution reached adheres to the relevant legislation.
NADRAC defines conciliation as:
“… a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a dispute resolution practitioner (the conciliator), identify the issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The conciliator may have an advisory role on the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution, but not a determinative role. The conciliator may advise on or determine the process of conciliation whereby resolution is attempted, and may make suggestions for terms of settlement, give expert advice on likely settlement terms, and may actively encourage the participants to reach an agreement. Note: there are wide variations in meanings for ‘conciliation’, which may be used to refer to a range of processes used to resolve complaints and disputes including: − Informal discussions held between the parties and an external agency in an endeavour to avoid, resolve or manage a dispute − Combined processes in which, for example, an impartial party facilitates discussion between the parties, provides advice on the substance of the dispute, makes proposals for settlement or actively contributes to the terms of any agreement”.