The role and functions of the Health Complaints Commissioner are established under the Health Complaints Act 2016 which provides a framework to resolve complaints about health services, investigate and take regulatory action against general health service providers and to contribute to health service quality improvements. The Act streamlines and modernises Victoria’s health complaints scheme as well as introducing significant powers for the Commissioner, including conducting Minister and Commissioner-initiated investigations, setting minimum complaint handling standards, and enabling complaints data reviews.

One of the most significant powers under the Act is the introduction of a regulatory regime for general health service providers, requiring providers to comply with a mandatory code of conduct, and giving the Commissioner powers to investigate and ban service providers who breach standards in the code. This regulatory regime is an important safeguard and protection for the public through regulation of health service provision.

In carrying out her regulatory functions, the Commissioner has regard to a number of regulatory practice principles which have been developed in consideration of the framework under the Act which the Commissioner must apply. The principles underpinning all regulatory functions are those functions are exercised:

·         legally

·         consistently

·         impartially

·         using a risk-based approach

·         in a proportionate and intelligence-led manner

·         focussing on outcomes

·         transparently

·         collaboratively and

·         efficiently

In applying these principles in the exercise of all regulatory functions, it enhances the accountability and transparency of decision-making and allows the Commissioner to contribute to the continuous improvement of the health sector.

More information about the regulatory practice principles can be accessed in the following document.