Complaints and appeals against accreditation decisions
The Australian Physiotherapy Council Limited (the Council) is required by section 48(4) of the National Law to have a process for internal review of certain accreditation decisions.
An Education Provider has thirty (30) days to seek a review of an accreditation decision, including the outcome from an Annual Report.
There are Two Grounds for an Application to Review a Decision:
- The manner in which the accreditation process was conducted was procedurally unfair. This may include, but is not limited to, matters such as the sequence and timing of the accreditation process, the process of review and evaluation of documentation and the conduct of the site visit; or
- The decision of the Directors was unjustified or patently unreasonable in the circumstances, i.e. that the decision was not supported by substantial evidence on the record or that the decision was made on capricious or arbitrary grounds and not the application of objective standards.
The Education Provider is Required to:
- Lodge the appeal with the CEO of the Council in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of the Council letter advising the Education Provider of the accreditation decision; and
- Pay the scheduled fee to meet the cost of the review at the time of lodgement of the appeal. The fee will be refunded in part or full if the outcome of the review is in favour of the education provider; and
- Clearly state the grounds for seeking a review of the decision supported by evidence. The onus is on the education provider to provide such evidence.
Upon Receipt of an Application for an Internal Review of the Decision, the Council’s CEO will Acknowledge Receipt of the Application and Establish an Internal Review Panel Comprising Three Members, namely:
• A nominee of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA)
• A nominee of the Council of Physiotherapy Deans, Australia and New Zealand (CPDANZ); and
• A person nominated by the Board of Directors with experience in investigation of complaints, who is not a physiotherapist.
The nominees must be familiar with accreditation processes and must not have been involved in the accreditation of the program that is the subject of the review, nor have any perceived or actual conflict with the Education Provider or its personnel, in accordance with procedural fairness. This panel must be convened within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the appeal.
The Internal Review Panel will limit its scope to the grounds stated by the education provider in the application for review of the decision.
The Internal Review Panel shall be provided with the documentation lodged by the education provider, a copy of the accreditation decision letter, the Executive Summary and Accreditation Report, and any other documentation from the record of accreditation process, as requested. Although the Internal Review Panel will predominantly make its decision based on documentary material, it has the discretion to make any such inquiries as it deems necessary to inform deliberations before coming to its conclusion.
The Internal Review Panel is entitled to obtain independent legal advice if a question of law arises during the review. The Council is responsible for the cost of its independent legal advice.
The outcome of the review by the Internal Review Panel should be notified to the Education Provider no later than ninety (90) days from date of lodgement of the appeal with the Council. A statement clearly outlining the reason for the decision of the Internal Review Panel will be provided.
The decision of the Internal Review Panel is taken to be the decision of the Board of Directors and supersedes any prior decision made by the Board of Directors. The decision by the Internal Review Panel is final.
The Council’s CEO will provide a notification of outcome to the: Education Provider, Board of Directors; and Physiotherapy Board of Australia (the Board).