The Fair Work Commission engages various organisations to conduct research on client experience at the Commission.
On this page:
- Bargaining discovery research
- Flexible Delivery Model pilot review
- Assessment of Fair Work Commission research
- Case law benchbooks user experience research
- Unfair dismissal client service survey
- Agreements user experience research
- Unfair dismissal correspondence user testing
- Unfair dismissal user-experience research
- Working better for small business
- Citizen co-design with small business owners (modern awards)
Bargaining discovery research
We have engaged Pivot Management Consulting to undertake research to better understand how we can assist employers and employees to bargain through enhanced information resources and services.
We invite participation from employer (management) bargaining representatives and employee bargaining representatives (including union delegates and individual bargaining representatives).
This research will expand our understanding of:
- how employer and employee bargaining representatives conceive and understand enterprise agreements and bargaining (including the purpose and process)
- enablers to commence bargaining and reach agreement
- solutions to overcome barriers to bargaining and pain points
- how employer and employee bargaining representatives prefer to access information and support
Pivot Management Consulting will be facilitating online workshops of up to 90 minutes duration and conducting telephone interviews of up to 60 minutes duration in November 2023.
We are seeking management and employee bargaining representatives from small and medium sized enterprises with varying levels of experience, including:
- Participants with experience of bargaining for an enterprise agreement (that resulted in an enterprise agreement being made, or not); and
- Participants with informal bargaining, problem-solving or single-issue negotiation, but no experience of formal bargaining for an enterprise agreement.
Pivot Management Consulting will prepare a report of insights and findings from the research that will be used for various purposes, including development of enhanced tools, resources and services.
Contact for further information
Queries about the research and expressions of interest to participate can be directed to email@example.com.
Please note, this research is not recommended for management bargaining representatives and employee bargaining representatives who are currently engaged in enterprise bargaining. You are still welcome to share your views and ideas about bargaining resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details of the Commission’s collection, use and disclosure of information for this research, please see
our Privacy notice (PDF).
Flexible Delivery Model pilot review
We are currently piloting an alternative approach to our Unfair dismissal and General protections (dismissal) staff conciliation services. During the pilot, we are testing a new Flexible Delivery Model.
The pilot is an opportunity to review and optimise our processes to meet our users’ needs. We have used feedback we have received to design the pilot. A lot of it is published below.
About the Flexible Delivery Model pilot
Randomly selected cases will be used for the pilot, which will be managed by our Flexible Delivery Team. This team includes dedicated case managers and conciliators. They contact both parties (applicant and respondent) earlier than usual in the process.
Conciliators decide the most efficient way to manage each case. Not all cases will need a conciliation conference. Some will be resolved without a conciliation conference and without the parties meeting. In other cases, parties will still need to meet through a telephone conference with the help of a staff conciliator.
The pilot review will measure:
- satisfaction, and
We welcome feedback from employees, employers and representatives about their experiences of the Flexible Delivery Model to help us to continue to refine and improve our approach through the pilot.
We are conducting online surveys. Feedback for the pilot review can also be directed to: email@example.com.
For details of the Commission’s collection, use and disclosure of information for the Flexible Delivery Model pilot review, please see our Privacy notice (pdf).
Assessment of Fair Work Commission research
We have engaged the University of Melbourne Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law (CELRL) to undertake an independent assessment of the Commission.
The CELRL will draw on documentary analysis and qualitative research with Commission Members, staff and external stakeholders for the assessment. It will cover performance across a range of key initiatives, services and operations over the past 10 years, with a particular focus on the present and opportunities to improve into the future.
The assessment criteria and research questions will be adapted from the Council of Australasian Tribunals’ Australia and New Zealand Tribunal Excellence Framework (pdf), the Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions and the Report on Government Services.
The findings and recommendations from the assessment will be set out in a Discussion Paper that aligns with the Commission’s 4 strategic priority areas (excluding major cases):
- Fairness and access to justice
- Innovation and performance
- Organisational capability
Questions about the project and expressions of interest to participate can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Case law benchbooks user experience research
We have engaged Paper Giant to undertake user experience research on our Case law benchbooks.
Case law benchbooks are plain-language guides to Fair Work legislation that explain key principles of case law in an accessible way. They can be viewed online or downloaded in PDF format from our website.
To support the continued improvement of these tools, including designing a fit-for-purpose future state experience, we need to better understand the individual needs, motivations and pain points of benchbook users.
Paper Giant has engaged with employers, employees and representatives as well as Commission Members and staff to understand how benchbooks are used and find opportunities to improve our case law resources for different audiences.
Email email@example.com for more information about this research and to express interest in participating.
Unfair dismissal client service survey
The Commission engaged Wallis Social & Market Research to conduct a survey to invite feedback and ideas from unfair dismissal applicants, respondents and representatives.
Findings from the survey are being used to benchmark and monitor service performance and inform improved practices and resources.
Agreements user experience research
The Commission initiated external user experience research to seek feedback from users about case management practices and ideas that could improve service delivery relating to enterprise agreements, including the timeliness of approvals and information materials.
The Commission wrote to Ai Group, ACCI and ACTU to invite their affiliates and members to participate in this important research. Following this, six workshops were held with a broad range of frequent and infrequent users. These workshops were supplemented by in-depth interviews and written contributions from users who were unable to attend a workshop.
The Commission has acted decisively on the feedback. We heard that parties were unsatisfied with timeliness and have taken measures to successfully address that. In fact, based on performance for agreements lodged and finalised in the last seven months, compliant and complete applications are being approved within a median of 17 days from lodgment. Similarly, all applications, simple and complex, lodged and finalised in that period have been approved in a median of 34 days from lodgment. Timeliness is projected to continually improve over the coming months.
Another important piece of feedback was the desire for more accessible education and information resources to assist in making compliant and complete applications. The best way of improving timeliness is for the Commission to be able to approve agreements that are complete and compliant at the time of lodgment. While it was recognised that the Commission has useful resources on its website, there are several recommendations about the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Commission working together to improve the advice and educative resources available to the public.
A detailed explanation about what the Commission has done in response to each of the recommendations to the research and the final report can be downloaded below.
The Commission has recently commenced consultations with users of the enterprise agreement system which have indicated that the changes appear to have improved service delivery. While this is pleasing, the Commission is committed to further improving service delivery.
Unfair dismissal correspondence user testing
The Commission wants to improve access and reduce complexity for tribunal users. As part of this broad focus, we engaged independent consultants to explore the experiences of unfair dismissal users.
The resulting Unfair dismissal user-experience research (pdf) report identified several opportunities where we could enhance users’ experiences. One opportunity was refining the Commission’s unfair dismissal correspondence to be more user friendly.
In line with the report's recommendations, we have been working to improve our case management correspondence. In 2019, we published a statement setting out our approach to plain language redrafting of unfair dismissal correspondence (pdf).
To help us find out if our improved documents meet their objectives (that is, that they are more readable and effective, and that their tone and emotional impact are improved) we engaged Pivot Management Consulting to critically test the refined documents with applicants and respondents of the unfair dismissal process.
Unfair dismissal user-experience research
The Commission engaged Cube Group to conduct unfair dismissal user-experience research with employers and employees throughout 2017.
The purpose of the research was to examine client experiences and explore ways to improve case management practices and information resources.
Findings from the research are being used in the design of the Commission’s new case management system and a range of other initiatives designed to improve services and information resources for self-represented and first time users who are unfamiliar with tribunal procedures.
A consolidated report of findings from the research is available to download:
Further research, including client service surveying and user-testing research will continue throughout 2018 to help identify further improvements to case management practices and information resources and to monitor the effectiveness of changes implemented.
Working better for small business
Mr Bruce Billson, of Agile Advisory, has undertaken a program to generate ideas and feedback about how the Fair Work Commission can better meet the needs of small business.
Consultation meetings were held across the country to hear candid observations, practical insights and real-life experiences from small business employers and their representatives.
A report of consultation findings and recommendations is available to download:
Citizen co-design with small business owners (modern awards)
The Commission engaged Sweeney to undertake qualitative 'citizen co-design’ research with small business operators in 2014 as part of the initial stage of the 4-yearly review of modern awards.
The research reviewed the usability of a selection of modern awards and an Exemplar Award to address some of the structural issues identified in modern awards.
This research has informed the Commission’s approach to preparing exposure drafts and its approach to further simplifying awards.
The report details the findings of focus groups and in depth interviews undertaken with 47 small business owners from both metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria and New South Wales.