Health Care Complaints Act 1993 No 105
Current version for 4 July 2014 to date (accessed 18 December 2014 at 18:18)
Part 2Division 8

Division 8 Conciliation

46   Appointment of conciliators

(1)  On the referral of a complaint by the Commission to the Health Conciliation Registry, the Registrar must appoint a conciliator to conciliate the complaint.
(2)  The Registrar may appoint more than one conciliator to conciliate the complaint if the Registrar thinks it is desirable to do so.

47   Notification of arrangements for conciliation

Within 14 days after the referral of a complaint by the Commission to the Health Conciliation Registry, the Registrar must give written notice to the parties to the complaint of the following:
(a)  that the complaint has been referred for conciliation,
(b)  that the conciliation process is voluntary and that the consent of the parties is required,
(c)  the objects of the conciliation process,
(d)  confidentiality provisions concerning conciliation,
(e)  the effect of any agreements arising out of conciliation,
(f)  the reasons why conciliation is considered to be appropriate.

48   Conciliation to be voluntary

Participation in the conciliation process by the parties to a complaint is voluntary.

49   Role of conciliator

The function of a conciliator is:
(a)  to bring the parties to the complaint together for the purpose of promoting the discussion, negotiation and settlement of the complaint, and
(b)  to undertake any activity for the purpose of promoting that discussion, negotiation and settlement, and
(c)  if possible, to assist the parties to the complaint to reach agreement.
Note. A conciliator has no power to impose a decision on the parties, to make a determination or to award compensation.

50   Assistance to parties at conciliation

(1)  At the conciliation of a complaint, a party to the complaint is not entitled to be legally represented.
(2)  A party to a complaint may be assisted by another person (not being an Australian legal practitioner) if the assistance is provided:
(a)  to the complainant, or
(b)  to another party to the complaint and the Registrar or conciliator gives permission because the party would be disadvantaged without the assistance.
(3)  This section does not prevent an officer of a corporation that is a party to a complaint from representing the corporation.
(4)  Contravention of this section does not invalidate the conciliation of a complaint.

51   Confidentiality of the conciliation process

(1)  Evidence of anything said or of any admission made during the conciliation process is not admissible in any proceedings before a court, tribunal or body.
(2)  A document prepared for the purposes of, or in the course of, the conciliation process (or a copy of such a document) is not admissible in any proceedings before a court, tribunal or body.
(3)  This section does not apply to evidence or a document if the persons who attended, or were named during, the conciliation process and, in the case of a document, all persons named in the document, consent to admission of the evidence or document.
(4)  A person cannot be required (whether by subpoena or any other procedure) to produce evidence or a document that is inadmissible in evidence in proceedings before a court, tribunal or body because of this section.

52   Conclusion of the conciliation process

(1)  The conciliation process is concluded:
(a)  if either party terminates the conciliation process at any time, or
(b)  if the parties to the complaint reach agreement concerning the matter the subject of the complaint.
(2)  The complainant must notify the Registrar without delay if the parties reach agreement otherwise than during the conciliation process.
(3)  The conciliation process is terminated if the conciliator terminates the process after having formed the view:
(a)  that it is unlikely that the parties will reach agreement, or
(b)  a significant issue of public health or safety has been raised.

53   Preparation and distribution of report on conclusion of conciliation process

(1)  On the conclusion of the conciliation process, the conciliator who was involved in the process must prepare a report to the Registrar concerning the conciliation.
(2)  The report may state only:
(a)  the outcome of the conciliation process, and
(b)  whether or not a recommendation is made that the Commission investigate the complaint.
(3)  As soon as practicable after receipt of the report, the Registrar must give a copy of the report to the Commission, the parties to the complaint and the appropriate professional council (if any).

54   Furnishing of other information to Registrar concerning conciliation process

A conciliator who was involved in a conciliation process must furnish information to the Registrar (otherwise than in a report under section 53) sufficient to enable the Registrar to comply with section 55.

55   Six-monthly reports to professional councils

(1)  As soon as practicable after 1 April and 1 October in each year, the Registrar must furnish a report to each professional council setting out the following information in relation to the complaints which have been dealt with under this Division during the previous 6 months:
(a)  the number of complaints dealt with,
(b)  the background of each complaint,
(c)  the nature of the issues the subject of the conciliation process,
(d)  any issues of a general nature arising out of each complaint relevant to the professional or educational standards of the profession concerned.
(2)  A report must not contain any information which identifies a party to a complaint.
(3)  A professional council must not use a report furnished to it under this section except for the purpose of providing general information to health practitioners concerning the professional or educational standards of their profession.

56   Complaint may be referred for investigation

(1)  Despite section 20A, the Commission may investigate a complaint that has been dealt with under this Division but only if:
(a)  the report under section 53 contains a recommendation that the Commission investigate the complaint, or
(b)  new material concerning the matter the subject of the complaint becomes available and that material raises a matter that would cause the Commission to refer the complaint for investigation in accordance with section 23.
(2)  Before investigating the complaint, the Commission must consult with the appropriate professional council (if any). If either the Commission or the appropriate professional council (or both) is (or are) of the opinion that a complaint should be investigated, it must be investigated.

57   Health Conciliation Registry and conciliators to be independent in dealing with complaints

A member of staff of the Commission employed in the Health Conciliation Registry or a conciliator is not subject to the direction and control of the Commissioner in relation to dealing with any particular complaint that has been referred to the Health Conciliation Registry for conciliation.

58   Offence for conciliator or staff of Health Conciliation Registry to disclose information obtained in conciliation

A conciliator or a member of staff of the Commission employed in the Health Conciliation Registry must not disclose information obtained during the conciliation of a complaint (including to a member of staff of the Commission that is not employed in the Registry) except in any one or more of the following circumstances:
(a)  with the consent of the parties to the complaint concerned,
(b)  in connection with the administration or execution of this Division,
(c)  if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or minimise the danger of injury to any person or damage to any property,
(d)  in accordance with a requirement imposed by or under a law of the State (other than a requirement imposed by a subpoena or other compulsory process) or the Commonwealth.

Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months, or both.

58A   Offence of concealing a serious offence

A conciliator is not liable to be proceeded against under section 316 of the Crimes Act 1900 in respect of any information obtained in connection with the conciliation process.
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