Two public sector agencies have joined in a ground-breaking initiative to allow them to mediate issues together.
A number of matters fall within the jurisdiction of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) and the Human Rights Act 1993 (HRA). Both laws offer mediation in the first instance as a way of resolving disputes. Mediation has traditionally been provided separately by two different public sector agencies – the Department of Labour (the Department) and the Human Rights Commission (the Commission). The development of an inter-agency co-mediation process provides an effective practical, flexible and efficient response to some of these matters.
In this paper, we track the journey of this initiative. We outline the initial resistance, explain how barriers were overcome, provide examples of the tools we have developed to protect both agencies and the parties to the process, and demonstrate the challenges and benefits of working together.