Wurru-Ki – A peer resolution program

Wurru-Ki (meaning 'to speak') is a program that provides all Barwon Health employees, volunteers, contractors or consultants (‘workers’) with a confidential, informal and alternative option for seeking to resolve any workplace behavioural concerns they might have in relation to any other worker by engaging with peers who have been appointed as either peer contact officers or peer resolution officers.

Wurru-Ki adds to, but operates independently of, Barwon Health’s Managing Complaints of Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct guidelines, and accords with the Vanderbilt approach to conflict resolution. It is designed to work across Levels 1 and 2 of the Hierarchy of Control and fits within the framework of Barwon Health’s Code of Conduct, policies, procedures and enterprise agreements.

Hierarchy of control with Wurru Ki
Most individuals just want the behaviour to stop, however they choose not to lodge formal complaints, fearful of the process and potential consequences, such as victimisation, and self-resolution can be confrontational, difficult and daunting. Wurru-Ki therefore provides an alternative and non-confrontational means of ceasing the behaviour and preventing any re-occurrence. The system does not require a decision as to who is right or wrong, or who is to blame, rather the focus is on agreement being reached on a way forward.

Even though a worker may seek resolution to their concerns through Wurru-Ki, it nonetheless remains open to them to escalate their concerns to a formal complaint at any time under Barwon Health’s Managing Complaints of Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct guidelines.

Peer contact officers: Here to help

Peer contact officers are the first point of contact for any individual (the ‘initiator’) who wishes to raise any workplace behaviour matter that is of concern to them. Peer contact officers will discuss the issue and advise of the options available for addressing the initiator’s concerns, one option being having the matter referred to a peer resolution officer. At an initiator’s request, peer contact officers will make such referrals.

Peer contact officers can be contacted directly by telephone or email. Click here for a list of peer contact officers. Alternatively, an email can be sent to wurru-ki@barwonhealth.org.au with your contact details and a peer contact officer will be in touch with you.

Upon referral, peer resolution officers will then speak with the initiator and then with the person who is the cause of the concerns (the ‘respondent’) and subject to the respondent’s willingness to take part, work with both of them in an effort to facilitate an agreed resolution between them.

Peer contact officers and peer resolution officers are appropriately trained for their roles. They operate objectively and impartially, and will not investigate matters nor advocate for any person.

Matters in which resolution officers become involved will be reported to the Wurru-Ki director, irrespective of whether or not an agreed resolution is reached. Where an agreed resolution is reached the Wurru-Ki director will need to give approval to what has been agreed for such agreement to take effect. Giving such approval may require the Wurru-Ki director to liaise with the relevant chief officer / director / co-director.

Confidentiality 

The system provides for matters to be raised anonymously, although there are limitations on how any matter raised anonymously may be addressed. Fundamental to the effectiveness of Wurru-Ki is the maintenance of confidentiality, to the extent the seriousness that any matter raised will allow. Under Wurru-Ki there is a responsibility upon peer contact officers and peer resolution officers to report to the Wurru-Ki director any matter they consider might be criminal in nature, might require mandatory reporting or might warrant summary dismissal (i.e. termination of employment). Any such reporting may then require the Wurru-Ki director to initiate a formal process, which may include a formal investigation, given Barwon Health’s duty of care responsibilities and/or mandatory reporting obligations.

Without prejudice

The system operates on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, that is, nothing that might be said or agreed to within Wurru-Ki can be used against any person in any separate investigation or disciplinary process.

The system is also designed to operate parallel to Barwon Health’s formal investigation and disciplinary processes, however it is not be available for matters in relation to:
- Industrial disputation or employment contract/enterprise agreement interpretation
- Enterprise agreement negotiations
- Performance management
- Matters that are at the time before a court or tribunal.

Statistics and an 'issues safe' will be confidentially maintained by the Wurru-Ki director for monitoring and record keeping purposes.

Want more?

For detailed reading on how Wurru-Ki works and the processes involved, click here for the Wurru-Ki manual.

Additionally, find some answers to your frequently asked questions here. 

Traditional Owners

We, Barwon Health, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.