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Appoint a relevant person
Where a student’s parent or carer is available and willing to act as the relevant person or a student is a mature minor during a suspension process, no nomination for a ‘relevant person’ is required.
In situations where the parent or carer is not available, they – or the student in the case of a mature minor – can nominate an alternative relevant person.
- The student, parent or carer and the person being nominated must complete and sign a relevant person nomination and acceptance form .
- The completed and signed form should be provided to the principal before the suspension process proceeds.
Once a relevant person has been appointed, the suspension can proceed as outlined in the suspension process section of this guidance.
In some cases:
- the parent or carer may not be available or willing to act as the relevant person
- the student, parent or carer may also be unable to identify an alternative relevant person.
In these cases someone from the ‘suitable persons list’ should be appointed as the student’s relevant person by the school principal.
The suitable persons list
Each area executive director or regional director creates a ‘suitable persons list’ of people who are eligible to fulfil the role of the relevant person for students for the purpose of a suspension or expulsion.
Suitable persons are experienced department staff who:
- have received training on suspension and expulsion procedures
- can represent and advocate for a student throughout the process.
To be eligible for membership of the suitable person list, a person must:
- be employed by the department
- have completed suspension and expulsion training
- be able and willing to support and advocate for students during a suspension or expulsion process, until the conclusion of the process – which may include an expulsion appeal.
It is anticipated that members of the suitable persons list will be school or network-based, such as:
- student support services officers
- student welfare coordinators
- other school-based staff.
The exact profile and number of members on each list will be determined at the Student Support Services (SSS) regional network level, taking into account the number of schools and students in the network
Administration of the suitable persons list
Each network should nominate one person (for example the SSS network coordinator, the network executive chair, a principal from within the network, or staff member from the regional office if the network has delegated management to the regional office) that has responsibility for:
- establishing the suitable persons list for their SSS regional network
- maintaining an up to date, online list for their network accessible by all school principals in the network
- ensuring all members of the list have undertaken suspension and expulsion training
- maintaining records of use of the list
- providing advice for principals when issues arise in selecting a suitable person.
Small SSS regional networks, in consultation with the regional office, may decide to group together for the purpose of administering the suitable persons list, to ensure appropriate geographic spread and school representation.
Using the suitable persons list
Prior to appointing a suitable person from the relevant person nomination and acceptance form, the principal should notify the student and their parent or carer that a relevant person is being appointed for the student and the reason for this.
To appoint a relevant person from the suitable persons list, the principal should:
- select a suitable candidate from the online list
- make direct contact with the candidate to establish their availability to act as the relevant person.
Note: a principal may not appoint as relevant person any member of the suitable persons list who is employed at the same school as the principal.
The principal must complete and sign the request to appoint a person from the suitable persons list form (staff login required) and arrange for the appointed person to sign it also, then provide a copy of this form to the person administering the suitable persons list for the SSS regional network.
The principal will:
- inform the student of the appointment of the relevant person
- arrange for contact between the student and their relevant person.
Once a person from the suitable persons list has been appointed, they must act as the relevant person until the conclusion of the suspension or expulsion process.
For support in appointing a relevant person from the suitable persons list or if there are any serious concerns about a person who has been appointed from the list, the principal should contact the person in the SSS regional network responsible for administering the list.
Principals should contact their regional engagement coordinator to access the suitable person list.
Schools must keep the completed and signed relevant person nomination and acceptance form or request to appoint a person from the suitable persons list form as part of the student’s record.
A copy of the request to appoint a person from the suitable persons list form (where applicable) should also be provided a copy to the officer responsible for maintaining the network’s suitable persons list.
Documentation related to the appointment of relevant persons is to be considered a record of the suspension.
For more information on record keeping, retention and destruction refer to Records Management.
Reviewed 22 February 2023