Recording basic information of the parties, problem and process. Progress can be monitored. It helps to learn from experience.
Record keeping is not a goal in itself. It can be time consuming. Not everything needs to be recorded. Record information that helps monitoring, learning and solving things that are not clear. The following practices are reported as being useful:
What are the basic records?
Use the dispute map as the record for the important elements of the dispute. These elements can be registered on paper as well.
Documents submitted by the parties, intake forms and other forms should be kept.
Short notes after each meeting can record: time spent, key things learned and agreements about next meetings or steps in the process. Entries in the case file should be made as soon as possible after the event.
When an agreement is reached provide each party with a copy of the agreement. If necessary submit the written agreement to authority figures, witnesses and relatives.
When the facilitator in a particular dispute changes record the date and the name of the new facilitator.
How can these records be kept?
Maintain standardised structure and layout of case files (see the templates below)
Respect the privacy of the parties and other people involved in the dispute.
The documents within the case file should be reviewable in chronological order (things that came first should be shown first). This way, case file reflects the continuum of service provided and the process can be reconstructed on paper.
Every document in the case file should be dated and signed by the person responsible for the activity.
Organise all case files in such a way that it is easy to retrieve information at a later stage (i.e. by alphabetical order, filing date or type of problem).
Organise the outcomes thematically so analysis of objective criteria and sharing rules is easy.
Where available keep electronic record keeping system.
The following forms provide the back-bone of records that can be kept in relation to a conflict:
In an effort to find peaceful resolutions to sensitive land rights issues, indigenous communities in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri met with government officials and landowners in September for UNDP and Ministry of Justice and Interior supported peace table talks. The meetings aimed to give all parties the opportunity to voice their concerns and seek a mutually agreeable solution to land rights disputes.
Local solution: Conference Comments
Conference Votes: 10
Some things to consider in relation to record keeping:
When keeping records, be careful that the formality does not obstruct carrying out the facilitation as well as possible.
However, record keeping is important for monitoring facilitators, you can find a lot of information in case files about how facilitators work.
Respecting privacy is very important. Records are confidential and only disclosed for legitimate purposes.
Local solution: Record keeping
It is important to maintain/keep documents obtained from mediation processes, as it can ensure implementation of the agreement. Also, results from the mediation can be monitored properly and shared as lesson learnt with the others as well as for future mediation works. Thus the following suggestions are contributions to assist mediators in keeping documents properly:
Documents and materials involved in mediation processes have to be kept at mediators’ offices; put them in files and in computers, if possible and must be ensured for its confidentiality.
In case of agreement; provide each party a copy as well as people involved in the processes such as authorities, witnesses and relatives etc.
Evidence from practice
Sharing the Agreement: Making sure that both parties, the facilitator, and the head office have a copy of all agreements means that it is easier to continue a dispute resolution if there is a problem after an agreement is reached
Use Information Technology: Where available, using electronic copies of documents means that storage and retrieval of information can be useful. It may also be possible to use these electronic systems to facilitate faster development of invitation letters, agreements etc.
Evidence from literature
12 record keeping standards for medical records. These have been adapted to dispute resolution setting, resulting in 10 standards:
The client’s complete record should be available at all times during mediation
Every page in the record should include the client’s name and/or identification number
The contents of the record should have a standardised structure and layout.
Documentation within the record should reflect the continuum of service provided and should be reviewable in chronological order.
Data recorded or communicated on admission, handover and exit should be recorded using a standardised proforma.
Every entry in the record should be dated, timed (24-hour clock), legible and signed by the person making the entry. Deletions and alterations should be countersigned.
Entries to the record should be made as soon as possible after the event to be documented.
On each occasion the facilitator changes, the name of the new facilitator and the date and time of the transfer should be recorded.
An entry should be made in the record whenever a client sees a facilitator.
The discharge record should be commenced at the time a client presents for help
CARPENTER, I., RAM, M., B., CROFT, G. P. & WILLIAMS, J. G. 2007. Medical records and record-keeping standards. Clinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, 7, 328-331
Maintaining electronic records increases efficiency and reduces costs to organisations, as well as making risk management, and compliance with legal requirements faster and easier.
SPREHE, J. T. 2005. The positive benefits of electronic records management in the context of enterprise content management. Government Information Quarterly, 22, 297-303.