Ongoing Professional Development
The Practitioner Registration Unit from the Attorney Generals Department sent an update message out to FDRP’s recently. There were two main issues that practitioners should be aware of.
That the unit will begin undertaking random checks to ensure that FDRP’s are completing your Ongoing Professional Development obligations and that your registration will be suspended if you do not maintain your ongoing registration obligations such as having an independent complaint handling body.
What are your OPD obligations?
The Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner ) Regulations 2008 set out the standards for ongoing professional development (OPD) in regulation 14.
(1) A person who is accredited as a family dispute resolution practitioner must undertake at least 24 hours education, training or professional development in family dispute resolution in each 24 month period starting on the day of the person’s accreditation as a family dispute resolution practitioner.
(2) If the Secretary becomes aware that an accredited family dispute practitioner has failed to comply with subregulation (1), the Secretary may, by written notice, give the person a specified period within which to comply with the requirement.
How to meet your requirements?
There isn’t a lot of specificity about what the edges of the definition of “24 hours education, training or professional development in family dispute resolution” but there are plenty of opportunities to comply with your obligations for free as part of your Mediation Institute membership or for a fee if you would like more formal education and training.
Free Professional Development with Mi and others
1. Family Dispute Resolution Tutorial Webinars every Wednesday.
Come along to one of our FDR Tutorials / Discussions every Wednesday. Free for members and low cost for non-members.
You would only need to attend once a month to meet your professional obligations.
We also add events by other providers that you can attend to the calendar. If you are aware of quality events make sure you let us know.
This weeks OPD Events
Events for week of 22/02/2021
This Week Navigation
2. Participating in FDR Role Plays
You have the opportunity to participate in FDR role plays being undertaken as part of our CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution course.
Role plays take 2 hours including simulation and feedback and there are opportunities for members to participate as mediators from time to time giving you the opportunity to calibrate against the standards established in the qualification.
You can navigate to the sheduler by clicking on the link in the Mi Members course.
Courses and more
The FDR Practitioner Registration Unit of the Attorney Generals Department may contact you over the coming months in relation to your ongoing professional development (OPD). The Unit plans to conduct an audit of FDR Practitioners to ensure that they are keeping up with their OPD obligations.
You should ensure your evidence is ready to provide to them if they contact you. You may like to keep a logbook of activities, certificates of completion if you are undertaking courses and other relevant education, training and professional development.
The FDR Practitioner registration unit wants you to understand that if you do receive a request, it will be a formal request for information and not responding could result in the cancellation of your accreditation. Do not take this lightly and make sure that you meet the very reasonable ongoing professional development obligations that come with our role.
Complaint Handling Obligations
You must at all times have available to your clients an approved complaint handling service. If you work with a government funded service they are likely to have this in place.
If you are doing any independent work at all you must have a professional membership that includes complaint handling for FDR cases.
Mediation Institute provides complaint handling for FDR Practitioners, Family Group Conference Facilitators and NMAS Accredited Mediators.
You must maintain your membership by renewing every two years. If your membership lapses or is cancelled you will no longer be compliant with your registration. It is clearly identified on our application form our obligation to notify the Attorney Generals Department if your membership lapses or is cancelled.
You must keep your contact details up to date with the Attorney Generals Department and also with Mediation Institute if we are your membership and complaint handling body.
It is your responsibility to notify the AG’s Department of any changes to your status, if you retire or change your complaint handling service. Not informing the Unit of any changes in work place may be a breach of your obligations and could result in cancellation of your accreditation.
If you provide FDR services privately and your situation changes, it is up to you to inform the Unit. It is not the responsibility of your office manager or assistant to tell them. You are the registered practitioner and an excuse that someone else didn’t do it for you was clearly indicated as not being a good excuse.
FDR Practitioner Obligations:
If you are unsure about your obligations read the FDR Practitioner regulations or the factsheets on the Attorney Generals Department website.
According to the notice from the AG’s FDR registration unit “Practitioners not having a suitable complaints mechanism seems to be the most commonly breached obligation, followed by not updating contact details. If you are accredited, you must comply with your obligations. If you can’t comply, then send a reply email to request that we cancel your accreditation. You will be welcome to submit a fresh application for accreditation when you can demonstrate that you can meet the requirements to be an accredited FDR practitioner. If you simply don’t have any clients at the moment, but are still complying with all of your obligations, then you don’t need to cancel your accreditation.”
You can contact the office at Mediation Institute if you have any questions about any of this.
Suspended FDR Practitioners
If you have been suspended by the Attorney Generals Department because of non-compliance once you meet the compliance obligations you can apply for the suspension to be lifted.
If it was because you are working privately without a complaint handling body you can join Mediation Institute to become compliant.
Please disclose your suspension and the terms for re-instatement on your membership application. We are required to provide you with a Pending Registration certificate (even if you hold a FDRP Registration Number) if you are suspended.
You are not a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner while your registration is suspended and should not be claiming to be or issuing s60i Certificates.
Once the suspension is lifted by the Attorney Generals Department we will re-issue your Membership Certificate indicating that you are once again a FDR Practitioner and you can get back to doing the important work that we do.