Learning & events

Online Masterclass series : Dispute Resolution skills for the public and community service sectors

with Shiv Martin

Tuesday 2 and 9 February | 9am - 1pm AEDT | Online

Essential conflict resolution skills for public servants and regulatory organisationsDispute resolution practitioners working for government agencies and other publicly funded organisations face unique challenges and opportunities. In addition to understanding fundamental mediation skills, they must also be skilled in negotiation, complaints management and stakeholder relations. Their work is influenced by an overlaying framework of legislation and public policy in a resource limited environment. Each of the following Masterclasses will focus on essential conflict resolution skills that promote fair, efficient and positive outcomes for all parties to a dispute or complaint in a public service context.


Lesson Plan

Introduction to interest-based negotiation and hybrid dispute resolution models

In this first session, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of interest-based negotiation and how this approach promotes better outcomes in complaints handling and conflict resolution processes. We will examine different conflict resolution models, including mediation, conciliation, conferencing, and shuttle negotiation and consider how different models may suit different organisations. In this first Masterclass, participants will have the opportunity to engage in practical activities to build their skills in different styles of negotiation.

Prioritising negotiations and stakeholder mapping

Identifying and managing relationships with key stakeholders is a core element of conflict resolution practice. Where there are limited resources and time to conduct negotiations, it is important to identify the most important discussions that need to occur. This session will cover the practical technique of stakeholder mapping and discuss how communication styles can be tailored depending on the priority assigned to stakeholders. We will also discuss how conflict resolution teams can triage their workload to improve timeliness and client satisfaction.

Breaking the ice - uncovering interests an options

In the third masterclass, we will consider the importance of understanding an individual’s underlying interests to a dispute. We will look at practical methods for how to start a conversation about an individual’s underlying interests. We will then focus on how we can use the information we have gathered about underlying interests to encourage creative and effective option generation. Participants will part-take in scenario-based activities that enable them to practice and develop their skill set in interest-based negotiations and option generation.

Essential conflict communication skills

This session will focus on understanding why some people, particularly those who may be suffering a psychosocial disability, past trauma or other disadvantage behave in unreasonable and difficult ways. We will also look at how to manage complex disputes involving individuals in high stress situations. Participants will learn strategies to connect and collaborate with such complex individuals and also be introduced to relevant underlying neuroscience concepts. We will consider a variety of academic and government resources that are available in this area.

Designing systems and teams for conflict resolution

In this session, we will discuss the importance of designing the right systems and workflows for best practice conflict resolution. The training will include discussion about effective intake conversations as well as using policies and information resources to enhance your dispute resolution processes. We will look at practical tools that are available to help us analyse the success of our dispute resolution processes and then look at opportunities for systemic improvement.


About the presenter

Shiv Martin

Shiv is a nationally accredited mediator, lawyer, statutory decision maker and certified trainer. She has engaged in complex dispute resolution in the government and legal sectors for over 10 years. As a trainer, Shiv has a unique and diverse set of expertise in Law, Management, Adult Education and Mediation.

Shiv is currently an Assistant Information Commissioner, Queensland. In this role she makes statutory decisions on the information and privacy rights of individuals, corporations and government entities. Shiv also runs her own practice, Integrative Conversations and conducts private mediations and conflict resolution training.

As a Conference Registrar for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Shiv conducted conferences and conciliations in a broad array of public sector disputes including tax, worker’s compensation and disability support (NDIS matters) and social services complaints.

As an experienced community mediator, Shiv has a keen interest and skill in conducting cross-cultural and intergenerational mediations. She is an active member of the South Queensland Dispute Resolution Centre where she continues to train, coach and assess aspiring mediators for Mediator Accreditation.

Shiv’s greatest area of strength and passion is training and coaching in dispute resolution. She has taught students of the University of Queensland and Newcastle University. She has also trained many public service decision makers in negotiation skills and strategy.

Shiv also advises organisations on designing and implementing appropriate policies, systems and practices around effective conflict resolution and complaints handling. Most recently, Shiv has partnered with MODRON in introducing and supporting dispute resolution practitioners in transitioning to online dispute resolution platforms. Some of the organisations that Shiv has trained for include:

  • Office of the Information Commissioner (Qld)
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • Australian Financial Complaints Authority
  • High Conflict Institute
  • Resolution Institute
  • Department of Justice and Attorney General (Qld), Dispute Resolution Branch
  • Ombudsman South Australia
  • Newcastle University; and the
  • University of Queensland

Timing: Please note this session runs from 12–1:30pm AEDT

Technology required: Zoom application, PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone, Internet connection, sound/speakers or a headset and an in-built microphone.