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Alternative Dispute Resolution

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Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Office of Safeguarding

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the Office of Safeguarding (OoSG) is a service designed to resolve tertiary complaints and allegations of misconduct that do not require statutory oversight and involve or adversely impact upon a child or vulnerable adult who is in receipt of a diocesan service. 

ADR at the Office of Safeguarding:

  • places the child or vulnerable adult at the centre of the process
  • values the investment made by a child or vulnerable adult in the relationships between the important people in their lives
  • provides a forum in which the purpose of communication is to understand
  • recognises that worthwhile relationships between people can be hard work
  • works to restore a sense of welcome and promote longevity in the relationships that are central to a child or vulnerable adult’s participation in the life of the Diocese.

ADR may be:

  • more flexible and responsive to the needs of individuals
  • an opportunity for the timely resolution of a concern
  • an informal process that gives individuals the right to make a commitment to decisions that they have made through the ADR process
  • more likely to preserve goodwill between the individuals involved which is especially important when the individuals have a commitment to the relationship continuing
  • restorative by focusing on how to improve and repair important relationships between children, adults and the Diocese.

For a tertiary complaint or allegation to be eligible for resolution by ADR it must meet the following three criteria:

  1. One of the adults involved in the dispute must be a diocesan ‘worker’, i.e. a person who carries out work in any capacity for the Diocese and includes apprentices, clergy, contractors, employees and volunteers.
  2. The concern must involve or adversely impact upon a child or vulnerable adult who is a part of a diocesan faith community or in receipt of a diocesan service.
  3. The concern must relate to a ministry the Diocese conducts or a service a diocesan agency provides.

ADR will not apply to a complaint or allegation that requires statutory oversight of the diocesan response. For example, conduct defined in Schedule 2 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012.  

As children get closer to adulthood, the ADR service affords them a greater level of independence in the resolutions process. 

With parental permission, a member of the ADR service may meet with a child under the age of 16 years to hear their experience of the concern and the child’s experience may then be shared by the facilitator when the facilitated conversation is held. 

A child 16 years or older may elect to independently participate in a facilitated conversation. 

Whether to involve a child in the ADR process and the appropriate means for this involvement is a discretionary matter for the ADR service.