Introducing Voluntas Pilot program. Conflict Resolution for Volunteers


On behalf of a hard working group of volunteers mediators and supporters from the ADR and Volunteer sector I am pleased to announce the pilot “Constructive Conversations” pilot program to be conducted by Voluntas.

For more information call 02 9036 0333

Here is the project description.


VOLUNTAS PILOT SCHEME (February – June 2016)

Voluntas is an independent group that will offer free conflict resolution services to volunteers in a Pilot Scheme from November 2015.  The Pilot will focus on assisting volunteers and volunteer managers to have “Constructive Conversations”.  The service will be provided by volunteers who are accredited mediators.

 The Pilot Scheme will involve an independent person assistingparticipants to[1]:

  • listen to and be heard by each other
  • work out what the disputed issues are
  • work out what is important to each person
  • develop options that take into account each person’s needs and desires
  • explore what might lead to a workable agreement

Voluntas offers the opportunity to prevent conflicts from escalating by helping with respectful, even-handed discussion at no cost. The participant’s role is to listen to other points of view, contribute to the discussion and to ideas for moving forward. If resolution is possible it can restore relationships and maintain dignity.

What Sort of Disputes Will Be Included in the Pilot Scheme?

 Voluntas will offer free, independent conflict resolution services for conflicts that involve a volunteer or volunteers.

A volunteer is a person who willingly gives their time for the common good and without financial gain.

Examples of conflict covered by the Pilot:

  • Interpersonal disputes between volunteers
  • disputes between staff or management and a volunteer
  • complaints about volunteer recognition, rank or role
  • disputes between staff in a volunteer organisation

 Examples of conflict that may not be covered by the Pilot:

  • disputes involving threats of physical violence or abuse
  • disputes between board members or between CEOs and the Board
  • disputes between organisations
  • disputes where the government is a party

If Voluntas decides the dispute is not appropriate for the Pilot Scheme, it will provide advice about other conflict resolution service providers, such as Community Justice Centre, Office of Small Business Commissioner, Ombudsman, private mediator or lawyer.

 Voluntas and the Centre for Volunteering will work together to promote the Pilot


The Centre for Volunteering is the first contact point for the Pilot Scheme. Volunteers and organisations are asked to call them if they are aware of, or are involved in, a conflict that could benefit from the assistance of the “Constructive Conversations Program”. The pilot will involve the following steps:

The Centre for Volunteering will refer conflicts to Voluntas

  1. If assessed to be suitable, Voluntas will refer the conflict to an appropriate nationally accredited mediator on its panel
  2. The mediator will contact the participants to confirm that they agree to receiving assistance in “Transforming Conflict through Constructive Conversations”, and then assess if the dispute is appropriate for the Pilot Scheme
  3. The mediator will arrange the process including any preliminary meetings
  4. Voluntas and the mediator will organise venues and make other arrangements
  5. Participants and organisations will be asked to evaluate the service and share their story in an unidentifiable way.



Centre for Volunteering     and      Voluntas Contacts

Gemma Rygate

 Heesun Chung

Avril Samuels

 02 9261 3600

 Sarah Somogyi (Negocio Resolutions)

 Steve Lanken (Negocio Resolutions)

02 9036 0333

What is Voluntas?

 Voluntas is a coalition of like-minded people including mediation professionals and members of Volunteer and Not-For-Profit organisations. Voluntas will provide quality dispute management services to individual volunteers and volunteer-run organisations at no cost.

Unresolved conflicts and badly managed disputes give rise to risks and costs that damage volunteers and their organisations. We believe that early assistance in transforming conflict through constructive conversations will make a difference in the Volunteering sector to improve dignity, respect and fairness. We aim to create an organisation through which mediation professionals offer time and expertise for free to the volunteering sector.

Voluntas also provides more opportunities for Australian mediators to be mentored and supported whilst practising and developing their mediation skills.

[1] ‘Your Guide to Dispute Resolution’, NADRAC, 2012, available at:

Negotiation and Mediation Training for Law Society of NSW March 2016

negotiation business


Steve Lancken @stevel2000 will be delivering skills based training in Negotiation and Dealing with People you find Difficult in March this year.  Each program qualifies for 6 CLE points and it is possible to “carry over” excess points to the next year for programs attended in March.

The Courses will be interactive and skills based.  The skills learned can be applied immediately.

Details below.  Call me on 0418 272 449 if you want more information or wish to discuss content.

Some comments from previous participants;

Instructor was good and presented very well. He was very professional and engaged with everyone – Workshop Participant, June 2015

 The program gave clear, decisive steps towards negotiation procedures, processes, and step-by-step outcomes – Project Manager, Sigma Air Conditioning, February 2015

 The workshop is good that it is skills based and very practical. Excellent balance of discussion, lecture, media, games and role play – HR Consultant, Salvation Army, November 2014

 The only change in relation to the workshop is that it should be more widely marketed; a great skills-based workshop that many may benefit from – Workshop Participant, May 2014

Advanced Negotiation Skills (1 March 2016)

Communication techniques for dealing with difficult people (2 March 2016)


Advanced Negotiation Skills (21 March 2016)