Background

The Disability Services Act 2011 (the Act) became operational in 2012 and amongst a number of changes to the old Act it describes the functions and powers of the Senior Practitioner. The Senior Practitioner replaces some of the functions of the Disability Services’ Ethics Committee.

The position of the Senior Practitioner is appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Communities Tasmania and the Act requires the appointee to be a State Service officer and have appropriate qualifications and experience to fulfil the role.

Functions and Powers of the Senior Practitioner

The role of the Senior Practitioner is to advise the Secretary about the provision of specialist disability services and how services can be improved.

The Senior Practitioner must provide an Annual Report to the Secretary which will include information about any restrictive interventions that have been approved.

The Senior Practitioner may delegate their functions and powers to other government employees to help them if needed.

They may also ask for any reasonable assistance from a disability services provider, an employee of the provider or a funded private person.

The Act allows for financial penalties against any disability service providers or private funded people who do not give reasonable assistance or "full and true answers" to questions asked by the Senior Practitioner.

Restrictive Interventions

The role of the Senior Practitioner in relation to restrictive interventions is to:

  • develop 'best practice' guidelines and standards
  • provide education and information
  • provide information as to the rights of people with disability
  • provide advice to the Secretary, the Guardianship and Administration Board, disability service providers and funded private people to improve practices
  • do research, observe and evaluate
  • further information about Restrictive Interventions can be found on the Senior Practitioner webpage at the address provided at the end of this Fact Sheet.

Further information about Restrictive Interventions can be found on the RISET Tas link below.

Access practice resources and restrictive intervention information via RISET-TAS online:

RISET-Tas Link

Powers to Investigate

The Senior Practitioner is able to visit any property of a funded service provider if there are concerns about the care and safety of the person with disability living at the property.

The Senior Practitioner is able to:

  • speak to a person who has a restrictive intervention
  • look at how the restrictive intervention is being used by the service provider or funded private person
  • look at why the restrictive intervention is being used by the service provider or funded private person.

The Senior Practitioner can make copies of any documents and talk to any anyone involved in the use of a restrictive intervention.

The Senior Practitioner will report to the Secretary and provide recommendations.

The Senior Practitioner will also recommend to the Secretary the future plan to stop or reduce a restrictive practice or suggest other ways to support the person without the need to use restrictive practices.

The Act allows for financial penalties to be applied to any funded service providers or funded private persons who do not follow the directions given by the Secretary about restrictive practices.

How do I contact the Senior Practitioner?

Applications for approval to use a Restrictive Intervention can only be written by a disability service provider or a funded private person and can be sent to the email address listed below.

Telephone: (03) 6166 3567

Mobile: 0428 197 474

Email: seniorpractitionerdisability@communities.tas.gov.au

Please note: The information contained in this document is provided as an initial guide only. It is not intended to be and is not a substitute for legal advice. Service providers should seek their own independent legal advice with reference to the implementation of the legislation.


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