ABOUT THE INTERAGENCY ADR WORKING GROUP
The Interagency ADR Working Group was established by Presidential Memorandum dated May 1, 1998, to assist federal agencies in developing and implementing ADR programs. The Working Group's members are ADR professionals in agencies across the Federal Government. The President appointed the Attorney General as the leader of the Interagency Working Group.
The Sections of the Working Group
To accomplish the tasks of the Working Group, discrete Sections were created within the Working Group to assist federal agencies in creating ADR programs in specific subject matter areas. Those Sections are:
- Workplace Conflict Management
- Contracts and Procurement
- Administrative Enforcement and Regulatory Process
The Working Group has operated primarily through these Sections to provide technical assistance and guidance on best practices in ADR program development. These Sections regularly conduct training sessions, meetings, and colloquia on all aspects of ADR.
The Working Group's Steering Committee
The Steering Committee is the staff-level committee that supports the work of the Sections and the Working Group. Many members of the Steering Committee serve as their agency's designated Dispute Resolution Specialist and are also responsible for the operation of ADR programs within their own organizations.
Since its inception, the Interagency ADR Working Group has broadened its scope to include subcommittees for Arbitration, Ethics, Collaborative Governance, Environmental ADR and other areas.
Reports on Federal ADR Programs
The Interagency ADR Working Group has submitted two Reports to the President regarding ADR programs through the federal government. These reports are detailed accounts of the current ADR programs in every federal agency.
- Report for the President on the Use and Results of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, April 2007 (PDF)
- Report to the President on the Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group, May 2000
In 2014, the Interagency ADR Working Group additionally described a number of innovative programs implemented since the 2007 Report.
- Congress authorized each U.S. district court to use ADR processes in all civil actions, including adversary proceedings in bankruptcy with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998.
- Congress made the ADRA permanent by reauthorizing key provisions and deleting the sunset provision with the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-320 (amending Pub. L. No. 101-552 and Pub. L. No. 102-354), 5 U.S.C.§§ 571-581 (2011).
- Congress authorized each Federal agency to adopt an ADR policy, designate a Dispute Resolution Specialist, institute ADR training for employees, and use ADR processes for the resolution of issues in controversy relating to administrative programs in the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1990 ("ADRA").
- Congress enacted the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 (Reg Neg Act), "to encourage agencies to use negotiated rulemaking when it enhances the informal rulemaking process." The Reg Neg Act was reauthorized in 1996 and is now incorporated into the Administrative Procedure Act, at 5 U.S.C. §§ 561-570.
- On September 27, 2012, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a joint memorandum calling for department and agency commitment to the goals identified in the Memorandum on Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution (ECCR). Among other things, memorandum encourages the use of appropriate and effective upstream collaboration to minimize or prevent environmental conflicts. See September 27, 2012 Joint OMB/CEQ ECCR Memorandum
- On May 1, 1998, President Clinton ordered each Federal agency to promote the greater use of ADR techniques and negotiated rulemaking. See Presidential Memorandum on ADR, May 1998
- On April 1, 1995, Attorney General Janet Reno issued an order to promote the broader use of ADR techniques in appropriate cases involving the United States. See Attorney General Order on Alternative Dispute Resolution, April 1995