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Requesting in-house facilitation

For: Claimants Employers and managers Advocates

In-house facilitation is an alternate dispute resolution method that may allow you to resolve a claims-related dispute.


About in-house facilitation

In-house facilitation is a process modelled on mediation which is focused on the future.

Role of the facilitator

Each session is managed by a facilitator.

Facilitators are trained and experienced mediators whose role is impartial. This means they do not:

  • make the decisions
  • authorise or endorse the terms of any settlement.

Methods used

In most cases, facilitation takes place face to face. However, you can take part by phone, through a telephone ‘shuttle’ service, or by video conference, if available.

Facilitation sessions run for three hours and begin at either 9 am or 1 pm, depending on the preference and availability of participants.

Cost

There is no cost or fee for facilitation.

However, if you take part in a facilitation session you are responsible for any costs you incur, such as travel to and from the session and professional fees. Comcare does not reimburse any costs associated with taking part in this process.

Relationship with a review or appeal

In-house facilitation can run at the same time as a reconsideration or appeal.

If you are planning to seek a review through a reconsideration or an appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, you should continue with the process and submit these.

You do not need to wait to find out if your matter is suitable for in-house facilitation before you pursue these review processes.

The process for in-house facilitation

Step 1: Assessing if in-house facilitation is suitable

We need to assess suitability of the matter before we arrange a facilitation. This is because not all matters are appropriate or suited to the facilitation process.

This assessment includes a phone conversation with a facilitator. You are asked to clearly outline the issues in dispute and the outcome you are seeking should the matter proceed to facilitation.

Following this conversation, we confirm with you whether the matter is suitable for facilitation or whether a review or appeal option is more appropriate.

Step 2: Setting up the facilitation session

If the matter proceeds to facilitation, we confirm the participants and inform them before we schedule the session.

We send an invitation to participants which:

  • confirms a mutually agreeable date and time
  • provides the location and access information (if face to face).
  • includes a blank Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is essentially a confidentiality agreement. This is prepared by the facilitator and presented to all participants to sign when the face to face facilitation begins.

In addition to the facilitator, participants may include:

  • the employee and their support person or advocate (optional)
  • a representative from the liable agency or employer (employer representative)
  • a Comcare delegate with the authority to resolve the issues relating to your claim, under the provision of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Participation is voluntary but if you are concerned about your health or wellbeing, you should seek advice from your medical practitioner before confirming your attendance.

Step 3: The facilitation session

The facilitator speaks with each participant individually before the facilitation begins. This is called a private session and occurs before the joint session starts.

Private sessions can occur throughout the facilitation. They allow you time to speak:

  • with the facilitator one-on-one
  • with your advocate or support person without other participants being present.

The role of your advocate or support person is to provide moral support. They are not usually allowed to speak during the joint discussions, but they can reflect on the process and help you consider resolution options during private sessions.

The facilitation begins with an outline of the issues in dispute and moves to identifying options to resolve the matters. Each option is explored and tested to ensure it is feasible and can be supported before the process moves to a draft agreement.

For this process to be of most benefit, we recommend that participants come prepared to discuss the issues in dispute and the outcome they seek.

All parties are required to take part in good faith and use respectful communication. The process allows for regular breaks and we encourage participants to take these when needed.

Step 4: After the facilitation

Any agreement reached has a 7-day cooling-off period to allow for legal or other advice before the agreement is finalised.

Participants are sent a survey to complete after the facilitation. This is your opportunity to provide us with feedback on the process and your experience of facilitation. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is anonymous.


More information

If you would like to discuss the possibility of a facilitation for a current claim-related dispute, or if you would simply like more information:

  • call us on (02) 6160 3985 or 1300 366 979 and ask to speak to a facilitator
  • email your contact details and enquiry to facilitation@comcare.gov.au and a facilitator will contact you.
Page last reviewed: 10 February 2020
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 12 Jul 2020

https://www.comcare.gov.au/claims/disagree-determination/in-house-facilitation