Evaluation of the Independent Review of a Major Life Decision Affecting People Who Have an Intellectual Disability
The Intellectual Disability Review Panel was established to safeguard the rights of people with intellectual disability and review certain decisions about provision of services made by the Victorian Department of Human Services. Disability legislation in Victoria is under review, and this study was undertaken to contribute to that debate and further understanding of the roles and processes of the panel. This article reports a study that examined the views of stakeholders about the panel's role and processes in reviewing the individual plans of 26 residents moving from an institution, and advising the department about the service models. A survey was sent to participants in each of the hearings to seek their views about the panel's involvement, outcomes and hearing conduct. Eighty-six (39%) of surveys were returned in relation to 25 hearings (96%). The findings demonstrate conflicting views about the panel's processes and outcomes. A failure to appreciate that the panel is bound by legislative principles rather than just fulfilling a mediation role is one explanation for the dissatisfaction of family members. It is proposed that the identified shortcomings of the hearing process, exacerbated by poorly prepared individual plans, might be addressed by the panel adopting a more investigative role.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-12-01