31 August 2021

CEO update | August 2021 | Focusing on operations and technology, and more updates




Welcome to my latest update from lockdown here in Sydney. This time of year is always a busy one for us, and this year has been no different. Adding working from home, juggling the responsibilities of home-schooling and family duties during the workday to the mix has only added to the challenges we are all currently facing at the moment. To that end, I wanted to thank you for supporting the staff at this time, most of whom are all working in lockdown locations. I hope our members who are also working in this situation once again are also keeping well.

Operational business plan

The Board, in the August meeting, approved our 12-month operational business plan and budget for the 2021-22 financial year. The operational business plan is informed by ‘Our Strategy’ which outlines our overall organisational priorities and strategic goals. The operational business plan details how we will deliver the key initiatives and projects for the year required to achieve ‘Our Strategy’ and provides a roadmap for when they will be achieved. 

The focus of this year’s plan is to build on the momentum and results delivered in membership over the past 12 months, and it highlights the importance of member engagement and value, our profile, and technology and operational excellence. Importantly it has a high focus on the training lever and developing partnerships to drive revenue and deliver financial sustainability in an uncertain and challenging economic environment, and into future years.

Technology update

In 2020 following the development of ‘Our Strategy’, a Technology Plan for Resolution Institute was developed with the vision to ‘Develop the required business systems and infrastructure strategy to support the current and future needs of the membership and staff’.  

During the 2021-22 financial year we are embarking on the biggest and most critical project included in the Technology Plan, which is to replace our existing Association Management System (AMS – the backend technology platform that enables us to run the organisation and includes our membership database and online member service portal, accreditation and events information, website backend and frontend etc). This system is fundamental to our ongoing sustainability as an organisation. Our current system has many challenges (as many members are aware) and importantly, the system provider is currently reducing the support and maintenance for the system as there is an expectation that it will be decommissioned soon.  

We are currently in the process of selecting a new AMS for implementation later in this financial year. We have gone to market to understand what platforms are available and how they meet our requirements. We have also engaged a Business Analyst who has recently led us through an in-depth process of understanding our current processes, future needs, and how we are to overcome our pain points in the future. This will ensure that the selection of the new platform meets our needs, both present and future.

In addition to the above, we are in the final stages of beta testing for our new online nominations system, QuickFiles. This system has been developed to suit our specific needs as a nominating authority in the state-based security of payment schemes, and for arbitrators, mediators, expert determiners and for domain name disputes. The system automates the process for both applicants and staff and will streamline the way we manage our nominations in the back end. The introduction of 24/7 receipt of applications and ample storage space for the uploading of supporting documents are also key features of QuickFiles that we are looking forward to turning on. This system supports our recently updated nominations policy that was approved by the Board in February this year. 

The last month

August has also seen a number of changes in our events and training with the need to shift from face to face or hybrid to purely online once again due to COVID-19 lockdowns. This will continue to be the case in VIC, NSW, ACT and Aotearoa New Zealand until the restrictions are eased and we are able to run our events in person again safely. We are fortunate that the last year has prepared us to be agile and whilst we are missing the ability to run these events in person again, we are now well accustomed to being able to deliver them online. This does have the advantage that state committee events can be accessed across the whole membership again and opens up the opportunities for members to attend online events elsewhere.

Last week we made a submission to the Commonwealth Government in Australia advocating for a streamlined Dairy Code of Conduct, in particular, a more effective, transparent and user-friendly dispute resolution process. Thank you to members of the Resolution Institute Facilitative Committee and Resolution Institute Determinative Committee and Subcommittees for their feedback and assistance in preparing the submission. More information on the review can be found here and our submission will be posted on our website later this week.

There is a lot coming up in September with the highlight being the National Mediation Conference to be held completely virtually. Resolution Institute is once again a proud sponsor of NMC and we are looking forward to attending the conference to be held from 8–11 September. Registrations are still open and should you wish to join us please register here. Please come and say hi to us at the Resolution Institute ‘virtual booth’!

Until next month, please continue to take care during these challenging times.

Warm regards,