Good Governance - Effective use of IT

Written evidence submitted by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) (IT 11)

CEDR is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution. It is the largest independent alternative dispute resolution body in Europe and offers leading expertise in consultancy, training, and coaching to enhance skills and capability in negotiation and conflict management..

Working in the UK and internationally CEDR works across the public and private sectors and has provided training and guidance for a number of Government bodies in the UK and other jurisdictions. (See http://www.cedr.com)

Key points

· The key points in this short response summarise the guidance note on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and conflict management produced by CEDR for EURIM. The guidance note forms supplementary material and can be accessed at:

http://www.eurim.org.uk/activities/psd/ADR_expanded.pdf  

· CEDR’s response refers to one issue in particular identified by PASC in its issues and questions paper:

Question 6: What skills does Government have and what are those it must develop in order to acquire capability?

· EURIM identifies that one skill gap is the awareness and use of ADR.

· The supplementary material refers to two aspects of the ADR and conflict management skill gap. The first is a more detailed understanding of available dispute prevention mechanisms. The second, and most often neglected, is awareness of aspects of effective communication and negotiation which form the core of those mechanisms.

· Maintaining good working relationships for better project delivery is no revelation but it has been submerged under concepts of partnering and alliancing which focus more on the joint intentions of the parties regarding the project than they do on  the skills they need to work collaboratively to achieve those intentions.

· Project participants need to be "conflict literate" and understand that project failures are more likely to occur in an atmosphere of blame avoidance. This is associated with another point EURIM makes in its response, that key messages from unsuccessful IT programmes have not been learned. That, perhaps, is not surprising when the culture of blame is allowed to permeate a project and more so when a project is abandoned.

January 2011