Who is in charge of your conflict management system? Who makes decisions about changes to the system? And who is that person or those persons responsible to? These are all questions related to the independence of the conflict management system.
The Independence Focus measures how secure the fairness system is from employer arbitrariness and manipulation. Without independence, the system is incapable of meeting most of the other Focuses. While the system need not be totally separate, it must be independent enough to be unbiased. For example, the system must have the power to get the facts of the case. It cannot operate effectively without access to all the information necessary to make a fair decision.
A fairness system will score high on the Independence Focus when it can operate free of external pressures. This is not meant to challenge the employer’s right and responsibility to manage and make decisions in the normal course of business. Decision-making responsibility for business rests with the employer. This Focus measures how well the system is protected from the misuses of that responsibility.