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Overview on the Case Manager's Job
- This page tries to give an overview on the Job of a Case Manager as it is current practice in CAcert Arbitration. It is (and probably will always be) a collection of infos, hints and practices, not an "official policy". If you have any ideas your contributions are appreceated.
The foundation and ruling document for the Case Manager is the Dispute Resolution Policy (DRP).
Some initial ideas about the Case Manager have been collected in the Case Manager Handbook, but it is quite outdated.
Many detailed checklists and practices can also be found on the Arbitration Training Pages.
- Due to lack of resources currently every Arbitrator also does the job of a Case Manager, and it's not unusual that the Case Manager who starts an Arbitration ("Initial Case Manager") switches into the role of the Arbitrator and transfers the Case Manager job to someone else once the Arbitration is started properly. This may be confusing if you try to seperate the jobs of Arbitrator and Case Manager, but currently there are not enough active Arbitrators and Case Managers to make the clean separation.
- On the one hand the Case Manager is the secretary and assistent to the Arbitrator. He looks after the more formal things and deadlines and assists the Arbitrator as they decide on how to share the work in communication and research.
On the other hand the Case Manager is the second pair of eyes to the case. Therefor he should notify the Arbitrator if he notices inconsistencies or vagueness in rulings or other decisions. In extreme cases, the Case Manager should be the one to notify the DisputeResolutionOfficer (DRO), or, as a backup, the arbitration mailing list, for example if he considers a ruling very unfair, but the Arbitrator insists on it.
- Also the Case Manager is something like a backup for the Arbitrator. If the Arbitrator is not able to continue the case the Case Manager should be able to brief the replacement Arbitrator on everything relevant to the case.
What you should do
- Since there are not many Case Managers available the request for a "silent Case Manager" is common. This is done by an initial Case Manager who has the time to handle a request as Arbitrator and is prepared to do almost all the work of a Case Manager by himself. Nevertheless even a silent Case Manager has some obligations:
Second pair of eyes. You should at least read the mails from the Arbitrator and the replies of the involved parties, and notify the Arbitrator of inconsistencies or other possible problems.
Keep an eye on the status page. You should subscribe to the status page, so you are notified of changes. Though write access to the status page is restricted, errors sometimes occur when a wrong page is modified.
Archive the mail correspondence. If the Arbitrator is unreachable you should be able to provide all original mails to a successor. Archivation may be done on the CAcert mailserver (usually in seperate folders per case) if you are using IMAP access to your CAcert mail. If you are using POP3 you should have some sensible backup schedule of your local mail storage.
What you may do
- The things above are the minimum things a Case Manager should do. Since you want to be an active Case Manager there are a lot of other things you may do if you have the time for it:
Initiate new cases. As Case Manager you have access to the Disputes-Queue of CAcert's Issue Tracking System (OTRS). As requests are placed there by the Support Triage people you may initiate a new Arbitration case from them as it is described in Training Lesson 4 and the following lessons.
Find an Arbitrator. According to DRP the Case Manager selects the Arbitrator. So, if you initiated a case you may appoint an Arbitrator for it. Please avoid appointing Arbitrators who are not available, but if you consider the case as urgent for some reason you may say so on the arbitration mailing list. In such a case usually an Arbitrator can be found.
Communicate with the parties till an Arbitrator is found. You may contact the parties of an Arbitration before an Arbitrator can be found. For example you may ask a Claimant if she considers her case as urgent, ask for obviously necessary information which is missing in a dispute filing or propose formal options, like escalating a case. During this initial phase of a case you are also the primary contact person for a Claimant, and you should act as her assistant, for example by forwarding mails to appropriate loactions within CAcert.
Have a look at deadlines. If the Arbitrator sets any deadlines you may poke him a bit if the deadlines are passed and the Arbitrator did not react. You may also poke him if the case seems to make no progress for months. If you cannot reach the Arbitrator for, let's say several weeks, you may ask the DRO for a replacement Arbitrator.
Do research for similar cases. This is most useful on non-standard cases. Browse through open and closed cases for other cases that relate to the current case. If you find some add them to the "Similar Cases" part of the case's status page, the Arbitrator may be happy to be able to have a look at them.
Do case specific research. You may always do "public" research, that is, use sources accessable to any member of the Arbitration team, for example private pages or Arbitration cases in the Wiki or archived mails in OTRS. You may also ask support for information if the Arbitrator has authorized you to do so, or when there are standard procedures (for example in Arbitration training lesson 20 and following) in which such requests are authorized. For example, in a typical "Name Mismatch" case you may ask Support for the list of Assurers who have assured the account in question, even if the Arbitrator has not explicitly authorized you.
Update the status page. If you find out something in your research, of if something else happens, for example a party of the case sends a statement, you may update the case's status page accordingly. Please be careful with privacy relevant information. On the public pages names should only be included as the first name and first letter of last name. Research results may also be private, so if in doubt put them on the private page. Nevertheless the progress on the case and the information relevant for the ruling should be part of the public page, so every party involved can follow. It may be necessary to anonymize information when putting them on the public page!
Assist the Arbitrator in communication. For example the Arbitrator may ask you sent the Initial Mailing or to contact all Assurers who have assured a specific account.
Answer questions, and make proposals, about formal things and procedures. For example if you get the impression that a party has problems understanding a complicated case you may propose to "find an experienced Assurer to assist the party". Of course you should be careful not to forclose the ruling.
What you should not do
- You should not make any rulings for the case, forclose them or try to influence the Arbitrator to make a specific ruling. Even if they seem obvious, or if they always have been made in such a case, this decision making is the primary job of the Arbitrator.
You should not question an Arbitrator's decisions before other parties of the case. If the Arbitrator insists on a decision, he's the one responsible for it. In extreme cases the DisputeResolutionOfficer should be notified. You only may inform the parties of the possibility to appeal the case according to Dispute Resolution Policy chapter 3.4, as part of your privilege to make proposals about procedures.
Inputs & Thoughts
Text / Your Statements, thoughts and e-mail snippets, Please
Text / Your Statements, thoughts and e-mail snippets, Please