5 August 2003
89 per cent success rate in government usage of ADR
The second report on ‘Monitoring the effectiveness of the Government’s commitment to using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)’ reveals that ADR has been successful in settling 89 per cent of cases referred to ADR by government departments.
Issued by the Department for Constitutional Affairs on 5 August 2003, the report also states that ADR was used or attempted in 617 disputes across Government between April 2002 and March 2003. However, of the 617 offers of ADR made, only 27 per cent were accepted. Estimated savings were over £6m.
These statistics show a significant increase in case numbers from the 49 recorded the previous year. The report also illustrates the diversity of cases settled through mediation, a number of which were conducted by CEDR Solve.
There has been a considerable increase in the level of ADR activity within government departments and, as acknowledged in the report, CEDR has been a key contributor to the Government’s awareness-raising drive and has also trained several Government legal practitioners.
The report confirms that many government departments have now included ADR clauses in their standard procurement contracts, in line with guidance issued by the Office of Government Commerce.
Ongoing initiatives also mentioned include the joint NHSLA, AVMA and CEDR clinical negligence project (now in its second phase) and a pilot mediation scheme for resolving disagreements over the application of the ‘Compact on Relations between Government Departments and the Voluntary and Community Sector’, set up with the assistance of CEDR. The Government Legal Service (GLS) Liaison Sub-Group on ADR also reviewed a draft of CEDR’s ADR guide for public authorities.
David Lammy, Minister for Civil Justice Policy commented: “Progress on this scale clearly demonstrates that the pledge marks a major step on the road away from a culture of litigation, towards a culture of settlement. This order of improvement demonstrates Government’s very real commitment to use ADR to settle its disputes, in suitable cases.”
On a European note, the Government has welcomed the ‘EU Green Paper on ADR in civil and commercial disputes’ but urged the Commission to focus on encouraging best practice and facilitating the use of ADR in civil disputes, before attempting regulation. This is also the view reflected in CEDR’s response to the Green Paper.
Karl Mackie, CEDR Chief Executive commented, “the government and DCA are to be commended for their leadership on ADR action. While culture change will take time to bed in, the diversity of cases and departments involved in training are a healthy indicator. What isn’t stated is that the UK is also leading the EU in this field.”
The full report can be found at ‘Monitoring the effectiveness of the Government’s commitment to using Alternative Dispute Resolution’ (August 2003).