The ACT Official Visitor Scheme provides independent oversight of services for people in government institutions and community facilities who are dependent on service providers.
The objective of the Scheme is to identify and address systemic service issues in the diverse environments of:
Children and Young People
Official Visitors are engaged as independent statutory office holders, appointed by the Minister for Human Rights for their skills and expertise. They are appointed for a maximum term of three years and may be re-appointed for a further term.
Official Visitors visit Bimberi (youth detention facility) and residential out-of-home care facilities for children and young people, the Alexander Maconochie Centre (prison), mental health facilities, accommodation for people with disability (including aged care facilities) and accommodation for people requiring housing assistance.
The Official Visitor Scheme has appointed several Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Official Visitors to better meet the needs of Indigenous people in respect to Corrections and Children and Young People. People in other types of accommodation can request to meet with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Official Visitor.
Official Visitors are empowered by law to meet and talk with entitled people in visitable places to hear their concerns and help them resolve any complaints. They observe the environment and staff interaction with residents and patients, make enquiries and inspect documents, communicate with residents and patients to ensure they are being cared for and supported with dignity, respect, and identify any issues of concern. They can visit unannounced.
Official Visitors can raise issues with service provider management and the relevant Operational Directorates and may meet with and discuss matters with the Public Advocate, the Public Trustee and Guardian and other ACT Government officials, including the Human Rights Commission. Serious complaints of assault or other criminal activity may be referred to police.