Judith Scott and Associates offer a full range of dispute resolution services. Disputes are complex and costly for businesses and relationships. We bring a personalised, professional service, working with you to understand your organisation and your particular needs before developing the service that best meets your requirements to investigate, prevent, manage or resolve disputes.
We understand conflict and the need to manage it at the earliest opportunity, we therefore also offer collaborative (or joint) problem solving and training in managing difficult situations as part of our services.
Our company size and structure means that we can meet your needs in a flexible responsive manner. Judith takes personal responsibility to ensure that we deliver a high standard of service to all our clients.
Mediation and Joint Problem Solving
Mediation is a cost effective way of resolving a dispute quickly and confidentially. It is a simple informal process that allows parties in conflict to work with an independent person to agree on a solution to their problem. The aim of mediation is for the parties to resolve the matter by agreement. Generally the earlier the parties enter into a mediation process the broader the opportunities are for resolution. Judith, as one of the most experienced mediators in New Zealand, is an ideal person to work with parties in dispute to assist them to find the best solution for their problem.
She is also one of a few mediators in New Zealand to be experienced in and, to offer joint problem solving services. Joint problem solving is similar to mediation but occurs earlier in the dispute process. Rather than the parties coming to the mediation table with solutions, Judith works with them to redefine the problem they are seeking to resolve and then work together to find a solution. This process is ideal for designing and implementing change in the workplace, collective bargaining negotiations and to resolve conflicts over contract interpretations.
In providing this service Judith is not an advocates for either party. She is independent people committed to the processes of problem resolution. Her role is to work with the parties to identify the real issues, help them explain those issues to each other and find a way through the problem that allows them to find a resolution to resolve their issues and move forward.
Employers are increasingly expected to show that they have undertaken a fair and thorough investigation of complaints that are made about or by employees. Conducting an investigation can be time-consuming and complicated. The difficulty in meeting the standard required by the Employment Court or the Employment Relations Authority cannot be underestimated. The standard established under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and discussed in such cases as Alatipi v Chief Executive of Department of Corrections  NZERA Wellington 9 , De Bruin v Canterbury District Health Board  NZEmpC 110 and- Margaret Harris v The Warehouse Limited NZEmpC NZEmpC 7 is a high one.
People conducting investigations must be able to act objectively, without bias or interest in the outcome. The person should also be skilled in conducting investigations. Not getting it right can be costly from both in economic and business credibility perspective. Increasingly businesses are finding that using an external investigator is a way of reducing this risk. Judith’s legal background and experience on the Employment Tribunal make her an ideal candidate for this work. She brings an independent and sensitive approach to this work resulting in fair and confidential outcomes.
Not all investigation’s carried out are as a result of an employee complaint, Judith also works with organisations to review problem areas in the workplace and manage change. Recent work has involved management union relationships and dysfunctional workplaces. In these cases a confidential investigation is undertaken with the report including suggestions of how to effectively address the issue. The report usually does not identify individuals. The advantage of this type of report and independent investigator is that employees feel free to openly discuss the issues.
Judith extensive background in dispute resolution systems and structures makes her an ideal person to develop, review and make suggestions for improvements your dispute resolution system and structure. Whether it is your internal complaints procedure or customer focused system she will work with you to ensure that your systems are fit for purpose.She also offers training in conflict resolution and management.
Upskilling employees and managers to avoid and manage conflict can avoid expensive and time consuming litigation. In particular annual performance reviews and performance discussions can be a challenging process for both managers and employees. High emotions and nervousness are often a feature meaning that the real message may not be delivered or heard. As a result, we tend to avoid them. But that’s not the right answer. The key is to learn how to handle them in a way that produces a better outcome: less pain for you, and less pain for the person you’re talking to. Judith Scott and Associates have developed a number of training course to assist you to so this. Training is provided to help clients avoid and manage conflict in their workplace by assisting them to develop skills to assist them in negotiations, having difficult conversations, coaching, joint problem solving and managing conflict. Courses provided can be tailored to meet the particular needs of your organisation and delivered in a cost effective manner.
Call Judith to discuss how we can work with you to meet the training needs of your organisation.