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Social Securities Appeal Tribunal (SSAT) Workshops

The Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) was privileged to be invited to lead two four-day workshops on mediation for the Social Security Appeal Tribunal (SSAT) in Sydney on 7-11 June and in Melbourne on 15-18 June.

These pioneering workshops for decision-makers on the SSAT were led by Clinical Associate Professor Libby Taylor, Acting Director of the DRC, and Robyn Hooworth, a much valued Visiting Instructor to the Centre.

The mediation training was tailored specifically to meet the needs of the SSAT and to provide tribunal members with a diverse range of mediation skills, techniques and strategies that would assist them in the conduct of their pre-hearing teleconferences.

The workshop training included the DRC’s famous LARSQ communication approach of Listening, Acknowledging, Reframing, Summarising and Questioning. Negotiation strategies and techniques were also taught particularly in relation to shifting positional parties, and exploring mutual interests to achieve settlement. Conflict diagnosis and managing difficult parties in the negotiation process were also a feature of the training.

This approach was used to equip the group with a range of skills and techniques to add to their tool boxes to assist them when conducting their pre hearing conference sessions with parties .
The workshops received positive feedback from attendees including:

  • “I found the course stimulating, well structured and enjoyable”;
  • “I appreciated the way SSAT practice was included in the course and thought Robyn and Libby were terrific”; and
  • “good mix of practical and theory.”

Clinical Associate Professor Libby Taylor said “The workshops were enjoyable and very challenging because we had to mould our training to suit what the SSAT needed. “We were training a very experienced and diverse group of professionals, who were very involved and interactive,” she said.

At a debriefing session at the end of June, it was discussed that aspects of the course would be permanently incorporated in the SSAT standard practices.

Based in the Faculty of Law, the Dispute Resolution Centre was established in 1989 and has a national reputation for training, teaching, research and mediation process.

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