Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 (review and referral)
The Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 provides for the voluntary registration of disability workers and students, and the regulation of registered and unregistered disability workers.
This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
The Victorian Disability Workers Commissioner may make orders:
- prohibiting an unregistered disability worker from providing all disability services, or imposing conditions on the provision of disability services by an unregistered disability worker, for up to 12 weeks (interim prohibition order)
- prohibiting an unregistered disability worker from providing all disability services, or imposing conditions on the provision of disability services by an unregistered disability worker, for a specified period or permanently (prohibition order).
VCAT can review decisions about prohibition orders (including interim prohibition orders) on unregistered disability workers. We also accept referrals from the Disability Worker Registration Board of Victoria about registered disability workers or disability students.
Cases we can hear
VCAT can review a decision by the Commissioner to impose an interim prohibition order or prohibition order on an unregistered disability worker.
For cases about registered disability workers, the Board must refer a matter if it reasonably believes:
- the disability worker behaved in a way that is considered professional misconduct
- the disability worker’s registration was improperly obtained because the worker or someone else gave the Board information or a document that was false or misleading.
A registered disability worker or disability student can ask the Board to have their case referred to and determined by VCAT. The Board must tell the registered disability worker or disability student of the VCAT referral in writing.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Section 215(1)(p) and 211 of the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
For reviews, you must make your application within 28 days from when:
- the decision was made, or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.
You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.
There are no time limits for referrals to VCAT.
What does VCAT take into account when making a decision?
When undertaking a review, VCAT needs to be satisfied that it is necessary to make the interim prohibition order or prohibition order for any of the following reasons:
- to avid a serious risk to the life, health, safety or welfare of a person
- to avoid a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public.
As part of the review, we must also determine that one of the following applies to the unregistered disability worker:
- has contravened an approved code of conduct
- has been convicted or found guilty of a prescribed offence
- has been refused an National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) worker screening check clearance or has had an NDIS worker screening check clearance suspended or revoked by an NDIS worker screening agency
- is the subject of an interim bar in relation to an NDIS worker screening check clearance
- is the subject of a prohibition order in relation to health services, disability services or other services involving the care of children that is made under another Act or a banning order issued under the NDIS legislation.
For a registered disability worker, VCAT can either determine that the worker has no case to answer and no further action is to be taken, or that the disability worker has:
- behaved in a way that constitutes unsatisfactory professional performance
- behaved in a way that constitutes unprofessional conduct
- behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct
- an impairment which detrimentally affects the worker’s capacity to provide disability services in a safe manner
- improperly obtained registration because the worker or someone else gave the Board information or a document that was false or misleading.
For disability students, VCAT may determine that the student has:
- no case to answer and no further action is to be taken
- an impairment which detrimentally affects the student’s capacity to undertake supervised practice in a safe manner.
What can VCAT order?
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
For cases involving a registered disability worker, we can:
- caution or reprimand the disability worker
- impose a condition on the disability worker’s registration and determine the review period for the condition
- require the disability worker to pay a fine ($30,000 or less) to the Board
- suspend the disability worker’s registration for a specified period
- cancel the disability worker’s registration. VCAT may also disqualify the worker from applying for registration for a period of time, or prohibit the worker from using a specific title or providing a specified disability service temporarily or permanently.
If we determine a disability student has an impairment, we can:
- impose a condition on the student’s registration
- suspend the student’s registration.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.