U.S. Office of the Special Counsel

Semester: 2018 Fall

Students: Jingmaio Yang, Gaelen Perrone, and Joao Marinotti

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose authorities come from four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit’s Mediation Program mediates Prohibited Personnel Practice (Civil Service Reform and Whistleblower Protection Act) and, infrequently, USERRA cases.

HNMCP conducted consultation projects with OSC’s ADR Unit in the spring of 2012 and 2013, and the fall of 2015. HNMCP also conducted an OSC-wide project in the fall of 2013. The ADR Unit projects assessed a number of program issues including the convening process, selection criteria, confidentiality, evaluative techniques, mediator staffing and web site content. OSC continues to make policy and program decisions based upon prior HNMCP analysis and recommendations. OSC’s ADR staff constantly evaluates its own case performance, but has found it challenging to obtain formalized participant feedback. OSC has engaged HNMCP once again to help in assessing the current instrument and make recommendations for an optimal evaluation process.

Activities & Deliverables

  • Gain an understanding of OSC’s ADR Unit mediation and evaluation processes through a stakeholder assessment;
  • Analyze the data to discern what factors the current questions are measuring, the extent to which other sources of disappointment (in addition to the mediation process itself) may be present, how best to measure/gather information on those, and understand various perspectives on goals or desired outcome from evaluation process;
  • Research comparable ADR programs and results to assess best practices;
  • Generate recommendations regarding the most effective and efficient evaluation and mediation process, including ways to put feedback into the larger workplace context;
  • Present of findings to OSC staff.
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