education.vic.gov.au

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to provide information and support for staff participating in parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions.

Summary

Details

Parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions seek input from government departments and agencies and the wider community to inform investigations of particular issues. They may also seek input from private individuals, subject matter experts and non-government organisations.

School staff may be asked to participate in a parliamentary inquiry or royal commission if an investigation relates to school-based education and learning, or the health and wellbeing of students. This may be in the capacity of an expert, or in relation to specific incidents or experiences.

Parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions may invite written submissions, require information to be provided, compel school staff to appear and take evidence from witnesses under oath. They can conduct their activities in public hearings and private deliberations. They may also ask for staff and student participation in roundtables and forums, and hold community consultations and school site visits.

If school staff are approached by a committee or commission about participation in an inquiry, they must contact the Director, Executive and Ministerial Services Branch, Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division for advice and support via parliament.education@education.vic.gov.au

Participating in inquiries and commissions

School staff must comply with Victorian Government protocols for participating in parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions.

If participating in an inquiry or commission, school staff must:

  • provide full and accurate information about factual and technical background to policies and their implementation
  • refrain from providing personal opinion, defending or making judgments about government policies
  • seek the appropriate approvals for written submissions, which may include ministerial and Cabinet level approval

Protocols are set out in:

Witnesses at parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions have certain protections. For example, their evidence cannot be used against them in legal proceedings and a witness generally cannot be sued (e.g. for defamation or breach of confidence). Evidence rejected for not addressing the terms of reference or for being frivolous or offensive is not covered by these protections.

Support from Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division

Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division provides guidance and support to school staff participating in parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions. This includes:

  • procedural advice about making submissions, appearances, and responding to requests for information and other assistance, such as site visit requests
  • co-ordination of briefings
  • co-ordination of responses to reports and recommendations
  • support for Department officials appearing at hearings, roundtables and consultations, or hosting site visits
  • co-ordination and liaison with key program areas and stakeholders, including the Legal Division, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, committee and commission secretariats

For information and advice about participating in parliamentary inquiries or royal commissions, contact Director, Executive and Ministerial Services Branch, Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division via parliament.education@education.vic.gov.au

Current parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions

For information about current parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions relating to the Department of Education and Training, contact parliament.education@education.vic.gov.au

Relevant legislation

Department policy outlining the process for school staff participation in parliamentary inquiries and royal commissions

Reviewed 22 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Executive and Ministerial Services Branch Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division

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