17th August 2017
The Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) can now conduct various types of investigations under the Disability Act 2006. As part of these investigations, DSC Authorised Officers can visit and inspect premises of disability service providers being investigated.
A number of senior DSC staff have been appointed to this position.
What do these inspection powers involve?
These inspection powers allow DSC Authorised Officers to:
- Inspect Victorian disability services as part of an investigation.
- Make enquiries in relation to relevant persons with a disability.
- Obtain access to relevant documents to examine, copy, and remove them.
- See and interview a person with a disability, their relatives, support persons, staff and volunteers.
DSC Authorised Officers will ask for consent to enter a private bedroom in supported accommodation and to view medical records.
How can staff recognise a DSC Authorised Officer when they visit?
DSC Authorised Officers will be equipped with an official DSC Authorised Officer identification card. Officers will show their identification to the person in charge at the service, and talk to them about why they are making a visit.
You can call DSC on 1800 677 342 and speak to a member of the DSC Resolutions team to confirm the identification or authority of the Authorised Officers.
When or why would DSC use their inspection powers?
DSC may conduct a visit and inspection as part of their investigation. For example, if DSC is notified of a time-critical concern that affects the safety and wellbeing of people with a disability in a disability service (e.g. there is no food in a shared supported accommodation home or there are unsafe practices), the Commissioner can decide to inspect the service to investigate the concern.
This allows DSC to assess the actual conditions at the time of the concern. Collection of evidence and information is time-critical.
What happens to the information gathered by Authorised Officers?
Information gathered by Authorised Officers will be used to assist with the investigation.
At the end of the investigation, DSC will communicate its decision, and reasons for decision to the disability service provider and other specified persons. DSC may also determine that the disability service provider should take action to improve the disability services that were investigated, and in these cases, will also issue the disability service provider with a Notice to Take Action.
The information gathered during an inspection may also be shared with appropriate statutory bodies including but not limited to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Disability Insurance Agency, and Victoria Police.
What if I have more questions?
If you have further questions, you may contact DSC on 1300 728 187 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Final Report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services, May 2016
- Government’s response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services, November 2016
- Disability Amendment Act 2017