Third-Party Neutrals for Environmental and Natural Resources Issues
A "third-party neutral," such as a mediator or facilitator, can often be helpful in preventing, managing, or resolving conflict. "Third-party neutral" is a term of art which refers to someone who assists parties in seeking resolution of a conflict or dispute, or in facilitating efficient and effective process, and does not represent any of the parties involved. The Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Program staff can assist the BLM Field in both evaluating the need for a third-party neutral and in identifying a source.
In some situations, such as established or low-conflict facilitations, an "in-house" employee can appropriate fill the role of a neutral. In other cases, the role needs to be filled by an external "third party," such that all participants are comfortable with the neutrality of the individual. (Generally, external third-party neutrals charge a fee for their services, and in a conflict or dispute involving a BLM office, it is important that all parties involved have agreed on who will share in the costs for the neutral.) The Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Program can assist BLM offices in finding neutrals for either type of situation.
Sources of Neutrals
The Department of the Interior keeps an "In-house Roster of Facilitators" made up of DOI employees with training and experience in facilitation. These employees can provide facilitation services for teams, meetings, off-sites, or in some situations, even for more complex multi-party collaboratives. In some cases where a BLM employee would not be an appropriate neutral, an employee from another bureau might have the necessary distance but can still provide their services free of charge. (Requesting offices are still responsible for necessary travel.) The DOI In-House Roster of Facilitators is available to DOI employees within the network on an internal SharePoint site here. For more information, or to apply for inclusion on the roster, please contact us .
There is also an "Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity" contract now available to quickly and easily hiring third-party neutrals for a number of natural resources or environmental collaboration or dispute resolution needs, including facilitation services as well as situation assessments, conflict coaching, training and curriculum development, and many other services. Many different practitioners across the US are currently available through this contract's roster, and practitioners not already on the roster may be added provided they meet experience and other requirements. To make use of this contract to find and hire an outside third-party neutral, please contact us .