Better Public Services Result 9 - Case Study: A better public services approach to dispute resolution
Resolution Services staff members Lofi Talimano and Susan Ratana during the FastTrack roadshows throughout the country
Fast tracking rent arrears disputes and a two year project to pilot a best practice approach to dispute resolution across the public sector are just two of the innovative initiatives recently rolled out by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
A new channel for rent arrears disputes
Rent arrears (many of which are not disputed) make up about 76 per cent of current Tenancy Tribunal applications (around 43,000).
Last year an innovative approach was taken by Resolution Services, within MBIE, offering landlords and tenants a quicker way to confirm an agreement already reached between both parties, without requiring formal mediation.
A pilot in the early part of 2014 saw FastTrack Resolution prove a success. Of the 1,800 applications received during the pilot, more than 85 per cent were processed and resolved within two working days. Previously this could have taken between 10 to 12 days.
Adrienne Meikle, General Manager of Resolution Services says the FastTrack approach reduces the cost and effort of dealing with government for a significant proportion of the service’s users, contributing to the Better for Business (Result 9) programme. It is enabling staff to be freed up to focus on more complex mediations, significantly reducing customer waiting times for mediation and access to the Tenancy Tribunal.
“In November, FastTrack was rolled out nationwide, but not before a comprehensive FastTrack roadshow was held throughout the country to inform property management companies and landlords of this new service.”
Adrienne says, “Hundreds attended the roadshows from Whangarei to Dunedin and more than 500 of them told us what they thought. We were overwhelmed with the positive comments we received and most people told us they would use FastTrack at some stage in the future.”
“Very good service should save time.” New Plymouth landlord
“Excellent service and glad to see a solution for the easy cases.” Tauranga property manager
“Thank you for this common-sense approach.” Auckland Central property manager
“Thank you!” Nelson landlord
“Great innovation – well done!!” Wellington property manager
Adrienne says since FastTrack was rolled out nationally in November, results are already evident, with just over 700 applications received and nearly 80 per cent resolved within 48 hours.
“We know that FastTrack is already making a real difference for a vast majority of landlords and tenants throughout New Zealand.”
More information can be found at: http://www.tenancy.govt.nz/fasttrack-resolution
A whole of government approach to dispute resolution
A two year pilot project is underway with a focus on identifying and implementing best practice in government dispute resolution.
The Government Centre for Dispute Resolution (GCDR), hosted within Resolution Services at MBIE, received funding through the Better Public Services Seed Fund last year to explore and demonstrate the value of enhanced dispute resolution services to government agencies.
Adrienne says, “The GCDR is an exciting opportunity for us to improve the quality and effectiveness of dispute resolution regimes, both within MBIE and across government – it’s a real opportunity for positive change.”
The team has three key deliverables for the pilot:
- Creating a consistent, coherent picture about what government expects form dispute resolution services.
- Creating a toolbox of resources that government agencies can use to help design effective dispute resolution systems.
- Demonstrating the value of effective dispute resolution to parties, government and the economy.