February 25, 2008

UK Researcher Advocates Legislative Support for Ombuds Programs

David Esplin, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire Business School, finds that there is a compelling evidence to justify a increased use of ADR methods in dealing with employment disputes in the UK. In his paper, "Employment Dispute Resolution In Great Britain, The Case For Change, An International Perspective," Esplin draws on ADR programs in various countries including the Ombuds programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Naval Medical Center, the Transportation Security Administration, and the World Bank. Citing research by Mary Rowe and Carole Houk, he concludes that Ombuds lower litigation costs and increase stakeholder satisfaction.

Esplin recommends statutory changes to promote the growth of Ombuds in the UK:

[C]onsideration should be given to creating some form of legislative provision to encourage employers to use mediation structures similar to the USA Ombudsman and [integrated conflict management] systems as a replacement for grievance style hearings in the resolution of employment disputes.

Esplin, Employment Dispute Resolution in Great Britain, see pp. 15-19.)

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