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Recommendation 13: A victim-centred and fair report and complaint system


The recommendation

Ambulance Victoria should establish a new organisational response to reports and complaints of unlawful and harmful conduct that consists of:

  1. a Workplace Harm Unit that –
    1. provides the first point of contact for reports and complaints of unlawful and harmful conduct to be made
    2. provides impartial, confidential, timely information and advice about the report and complaint system, including about complaint pathways, processes and procedures
    3. assesses and triages reports and complaints, taking necessary steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those involved, including through formal referral mechanisms to appropriate internal or external providers and agencies and escalating more serious matters for formal action as necessary
    4. facilitates informal resolutions using flexible dispute resolution and restorative practices
    5. ensures that all relevant report and complaint policies, procedures, information and communication available to staff are up-to-date
    6. collects and analyses data to identify trends and emerging risks that are assessed and compared with available data from the health sector and shared with the Chief Executive Officer, the Executive Committee and the Board on a quarterly basis, together with any actions implemented to respond to trends of concern
    7. is an advocate for leading practice complaint handling and standards within Ambulance Victoria
  2. a Specialist Support Unit to provide advocacy and direct support for those who have experienced unlawful and harmful conduct
  3. an Investigations Unit that consists of specialist investigators and is responsible for the investigation of complaints.

The new organisational response should be developed in consultation with the workforce, and with relevant unions and professional associations.

What we are doing

  • Conduct a review of matters considered by Professional Conduct Unit over past two years
  • Continue to receive reports and complaints during transition period
  • Develop and implement a new reports and complaints operating model, informed by an Expert Advisory Group and consultation with workforce and key partners, including our unions and professional associations
  • Consider how to better incorporate restorative engagement principles into new model (informed by work under R2)
  • Develop and implement transition plan for relevant work

Where we are up to


Ambulance Victoria’s new Professional Standards and Behaviours Department (PSBD) is now operational. This is a key milestone in embedding a fair, effective and transparent report and complaint system.

Through this new model, all parties to a complaint (i.e. complainants, respondents, witnesses and people leaders) have a case manager as a single point of contact, who supports them to understand the process and provides updates on progress. The process will be timely and all parties can provide feedback about the performance of the report and complaint system. AV will measure its performance against agreed benchmarks and monitor risks and trends to inform prevention and continually improve.

The PSBD replaces the former Professional Conduct Unit. The new department was designed in consultation with the workforce and unions. AV is transitioning any open matters with the Professional Conduct Unit to the PSBD.


  • In 2022, Ambulance Victoria began work to design a Professional Standards & Behaviours Department, to replace the existing Professional Conduct Unit. The work has included developing a project plan and schedule, communications and change plan, and advanced the design of an Expert Advisory Group. This work also included designing a proposed structure and roles for the new department, and consulting on the structure with the workforce, unions and our partners (see Recommendation 14). As the new department is being established, Ambulance Victoria has put in place interim, expert measures, to support the organisation to resolve complaints quickly and fairly, minimise re-traumatisation, and prevent further harm, and to improve the experience for our people.
  • Of the original historical complaints (received before 1 July 2022), over 82 per cent have now been resolved, bringing certainty to the parties of those complaints and, where complaints have been substantiated, appropriate outcomes and accountability. We continue to resolve the remaining complaints as quickly as possible, while maintaining a fair process. Complaints received since July 2022 are being triaged and resolved with fewer delays.
  • In 2022, Ambulance Victoria reviewed matters considered by the Professional Conduct Unit over the previous two years and referred any relevant matters to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) and/or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Ambulance Victoria continues to liaise with IBAC and AHPRA as they review those matters, and refers any new matters where appropriate.


  • AV has begun initial work on the design of the new reports and complaints system, in line with the model proposed by the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission and reporting to the Chief Operations Officer. AV has appointed an Interim Director of the Professional Standards and Behaviours Department.
  • AV has developed a proposed organisational structure and foundational roles for the Professional Standards and Behaviours Department and will shortly commence formal consultation with the workforce and unions. Planning to enable recruitment to certain priority roles is well advanced to enable critical work on the reforms to progress. Recruitment to remaining roles in the department will occur after consultation takes place.
  • For now, people can continue to bring reports or complaints of unlawful or harmful workplace behaviour to AV’s existing Professional Conduct Unit. To support the Professional Conduct Unit’s handling of existing complaints, as well as new complaints made during the transition period, AV has engaged the specialist services of an external law firm. People can also make complaints confidentially to the Chief Operations Officer.
  • AV has begun initial work to plan to transition of complaint handling from the Professional Conduct Unit to the Professional Standards and Behaviours Department.


Q1 FY24

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