Concerned about conflicts of interest? Build a Chinese Wall!

Several months ago, we were asked by one of our clients if there was a mechanism for restricting access to specific cases on our case management system. The problem was triggered by one of their part-time mediators who also worked for another mediation service. They had identified a couple of cases where there was a potential conflict of interest.

Clearly a case management system has different levels of user access to the data – administrator, user, super user. However restricting specific cases is a very different scenario. What is needed is a Chinese Wall.

The Great Wall of China

The Oxford English dictationary defines a  Chinese wall  [after the defensive wall built between China and Mongolia in the 3rd cent.  b.c.] as “a prohibition against the passing of confidential information from one department of an institution to another.”

We’ve developed a technological solution in Progress Mediation to create chinese walls where appropriate for individual cases.

Thus, an administrator marks the case as being restricted to a specific system user. Other users are still able to access the case without any restrictions. When browsing the list of cases it’s possible to view existing open or closed cases, but none of the details.

Conflict checking

Clearly all new cases entered onto a system need to be checked for potential conflicts of interest. Recent trends have shown that family mediators are becoming more mobile, and often work between different mediation services. There is therefore an onus on each mediator to be aware of cases where there could be a conflict of interest, and to report them accordingly. Despite the best technological endeavours, this obviously leaves room for human error…

Progress Mediation is a web-based case management system, designed specifically for family mediation. It supports both private and legal aid cases.