Disability service providers should start preparing for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Royal Commission, established in April 2019, has released its Terms of Reference. These Terms of Reference establish what matters the Commission will be considering.

For disability service providers who may be called to give evidence in the Commission, it is essential to begin preparing your internal governance, compliance and document systems for when you may be called.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference are purposefully drafted in a manner that is broad and authorises the Commissioners to investigate a large number of matters.

On its terms, the Royal Commission will not only focus on abuse, neglect and violence against people with disability, but ‘all aspects’ of quality and safety of services to people with disability.

What service providers need to do to prepare for the Commission

Service providers in the disability sector may be called before the Commission. In light of this, it is an essential time for all service providers to begin preparing there documents and systems.

Disability sector service providers should be looking to complete the following:

  • Engage legal advice to advise on the Commission process, and obligations of providers in this process;
  • Establish document and complaint procedures;
  • Establish a point of contact within the organization, who will have operational responsibility over managing contact with and requests from the Commission;
  • Prepare a briefing paper for their governing bodies and consider appointing a ‘board sub-committee’ to oversee Commission related issues;
  • Perform reviews of specific safety/ quality/ service issues in order to identify and mitigate risk, these risks may include staffing issues, logistic issues;
  • Review insurance policies and coverage.

What JFMLAW can do:

  • Give advice around policies and procedures to put in place to improve compliance in the organisation;
  • Advise on governance issues;
  • Assist with the production of documents in response to notice to produce;
  • Advise on your compliance obligations.
  • Prepare written submissions to be delivered to Commission;
  • Brief a barrister to appear for the organisation in the Commission, if required
  • Prepare witness statements;
  • Advising in relation to claims for confidentiality and legal professional privilege;
  • Assist in the preparation of witnesses.

JFMLAW has extensive experience working with not-for-profits and those in the disability sector. Our expertise in this area includes assisting with compliance and governance areas.

For any queries about preparing for the Royal Commission into disability abuse, we at JFMLAW have the answers. Call us on (02) 9199 8597