Electronic Guide to Federal Procurement ADR

Appropriate Dispute Resolution, as ADR is now being called in many circles, is quickly and quietly gaining momentum as the conflict management tool of choice for resolving contractual disagreements within the business sector. Since most of us grew up in a culture that treats negotiation and conflict resolution as a form of competition, we have a lot to learn about communicating more effectively in resolving conflict, especially conflicts arising out of government contracts. The concepts presented in this Guide will enhance the skill and ability of government and industry personnel in resolving contractual issues.

Non-adversarial and timely conflict resolution is not a new concept for federal contracting: that was the original intent of the Congress in establishing the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, and follow-on ADR legislation. Unfortunately, our current dispute resolution process is not timely and, more often than not, an adversarial relationship is the normal by-product of resolving most controversies. Improving our current processes for resolving contractual issues through the use of ADR techniques is a national priority. President Clinton, the Congress, the Attorney General and senior executives in industry and our federal agencies have endorsed the use of ADR techniques. We now solicit your help and active support in making ADR a reality.

Finally, almost all-current writings on ADR address this subject from the perspective of various problem resolution techniques, and the use of third party neutrals. While these intervention techniques are important, we also encourage internal process design to better integrate ADR approaches with normal day-to-day business operations. This should facilitate early problem intervention and allow business leaders to play a greater role in deciding when and how to resolve fundamental business related issues. The ADR concept is evolving. We designed our Electronic Guide to provide you with ready access to the latest ADR information and resource materials. I commend the Guide to you and wish you all the best in your ADR endeavors.

Chair, Contracts and Procurement Section
Interagency ADR Working Group