4.1 Who will hear and decide the appeal?

A member of the PRSB Review Division hears appeals, usually sitting alone. The President allocates PRSB Members to each appeal. For senior or specialist positions, complex or multi-party matters or for training, the appeal may be heard by two members (at least one of whom must be the President or Deputy President).

The PRSB Member hearing the appeal will make sure they do not have any conflict of interest. The hearing list is published online and shows which PRSB Member has been allocated to your appeal. This may be subject to late change for example, due to illness.

 

4.2 Who else is in the room?

The Chief Commissioner is entitled to be represented in the appeal (by teleconference unless required to appear in person). Usually, the LPR undertakes this role but it may be another person. The LPR assists the PRSB Member with any questions about the position, the work location and the selection process.

The Appellant and Selectee cannot be represented by any other person.

The appeal is open to the public, unless the PRSB Member orders the hearing (or part of it) to be closed. This might occur if the position is sensitive (for example, a covert position) or if there is to be a discussion of a sensitive matter (such as a probity or health issue) (s.157). You can request the PRSB Member to close the hearing.

The PRSB hearing room has a table for participants, one for the PRSB Member and chairs for observers. Sometimes others will come to watch to prepare for their appeal.

There will be place-cards indicating where you should sit. As you face the PRSB Member, Appellants sit on the left- and Selectees on the right-hand-side, in alphabetical order of surname.

 

4.3 Can I record the proceedings?

No. You are not permitted to make a recording of the hearing but you may take notes. Failure to comply with this direction may be contempt of the PRSB (s.162).

 

4.4 Can other documents be submitted instead of attending?

If an Appellant cannot attend in person or participate by teleconference, they may elect to have the appeal heard and determined in their absence or withdraw (s.145(4) and s.158A).

Additional documents or written submissions may only be lodged by an Appellant or on behalf of the Chief Commissioner if the PRSB Member finds that exceptional circumstances exist (s.145(2)). You will need to ask for leave (permission) and provide an explanation of the exceptional circumstances (for example, a significant operational matter, illness or travel).

A Selectee who cannot attend or participate by teleconference may seek leave to file a written statement. If leave is given, the PRSB Member may give directions on interview-style questions or issues to be addressed in the written submission.

The PRSB Member may request a party or the Chief Commissioner to provide additional documents if they are important to the making of the decision.

 

4.5 Referee reports

The Transfer and Promotion Unit obtains a referee report from a current or recent supervisor nominated by each short-listed (interviewed) candidates. This referee reports are part of the panel’s assessment of candidates’ relative efficiency, are used to verify information given by candidates and as a final vetting process to ensure suitability for the position.

The PRSB allows those Appellants who were not interviewed to also have a referee report considered in the appeal. The Notice of Appeal allows a referee to be nominated. This must be a current or recent supervisor with substantial time supervising you. The onus is on the Appellant to make sure the referee is available. The PRSB will contact the referee and request a report in a form provided, which is returned directly to the PRSB by a specified date (usually noon on the Friday before the hearing). If a referee report is not provided in that timeframe, the PRSB may proceed to decide the appeal without it. 

Consistent with TPU and PRSB practice, referee reports will not be provided to any of the parties, unless the PRSB Member considers this to be necessary. For example, as a matter of procedural fairness, the relevant party may be permitted respond to adverse comments.  Victoria Police obtains a referee report for all short-listed candidates. The Selection Panel uses the Referee Report to verify information provided in written KSC responses, in the interview, and as a final vetting process to ensure suitability for the position.

The PRSB will request a reference from the nominated referees of non-shortlisted applicants. The referee must be a recent supervisor, with substantial time supervising you. The referee must submit the report to the PRSB Secretary.

If a Referee Report includes significant information (for example, adverse comments relating to a person’s capacity for the position) the PRSB Member will provide that person with an opportunity to respond.

 

4.6 If you've had a serious incident, proven complaint or a discipline issues

The selection panel is provided with summary, probity reports of short-listed candidates using the Register of Complaints, Serious Incidents and Discipline (ROCSID). This information is used to help the panel to assess ‘good conduct’, as part of the test of ‘efficiency.’ Short-listed candidates are provided with their own ROCSID report prior to the panel interview so they can review it for accuracy.

A further check is undertaken of the preferred candidate (for any current investigations) prior to final selection by the delegate. For high-risk positions, a more detailed form of probity check is also .

The PRSB receives the ROCSID reports for those parties who were short-listed as part of the Selection File. Because the PRSB could overturn the selection, it is also provided with ROCSID reports for any Appellant who was not short-listed. The PRSB will email any such report (with password protection) to the relevant person before the appeal, so they can consider its contents and correct any errors. Apart from this, for privacy reasons, probity reports are not provided to Appellants, Selectees or the LPRs.

Victoria Police considers the probity reports and may make submissions about a person’s record of ‘good conduct’. For example, a submission may be made if there are proven discipline matters, a high number of complaints, or (unusually) if a yet to be finalised discipline matter or complaint raises concerns about the person’s suitability for the position or rank. The PRSB Member may also raise such matters and seek submissions from Victoria Police. Generally speaking, the PRSB gives no weight to any conduct matter which has not been found proven, unless a submission is made by the Chief Commissioner.

If there is anything adverse in a ROCSID report, the PRSB Member may close the hearing (asking the other parties and observers to wait outside) and will provide an opportunity for the relevant person to explain the matter. The LPR (or other representative of the Chief Commissioner) will remain in the room or on the telephone and will be asked for their views on the relevance of the information. If any other teleconference participants are present, they will be excused or the connection muted. In some cases, the PRSB Member may seek further information, such as files from Professional Standards or relevant discipline inquiry or Board decisions.

If you’ve had a discipline matter, it’s not necessarily the end of your advancement opportunities. Many good people have made mistakes and gone on to have great careers. The PRSB Member will be looking for you to show how you have reflected upon and learned from the incident to be confident that such conduct won’t be repeated.

 

4.7 Do I have to attend the hearing?

Appellants and Selectees may appear in person or by teleconference (s.158A).

LPRs will participate by teleconference unless there are special reasons for attending in person (for example, issues about eligibility or conduct/probity).

Teleconferencing allows participants to present effectively and hear all speakers. Several people can participate in the teleconference at the same time. You are encouraged to use teleconferencing especially if you are on leave or shift-roster or based a long distance from Melbourne. You will not be disadvantaged. If you request a teleconference, instructions will be provided.

If you are rostered for duty, you should speak to your supervisor about arrangements for your attendance. If you are on afternoon or night shift, consider participating by teleconference to manage fatigue. It is important that you do not drive when tired and that you are adequately rested before your next shift.

If you are the Appellant and unable to attend either in person or by teleconference, you may either withdraw your application or have it determined in your absence (s.145(4)).

For both Appellants and Selectees, if an unforeseeable event prevents your participation in the appeal either in person or by teleconference, you can seek leave to make a written submission (see 4.4 of this Guide).

 

4.8 Can I seek an extension of time to appeal?

An extension of time for lodging an appeal or for other steps under the Act may be granted on the application of any person if the PRSB considers that exceptional circumstances exist (s.164).

Apply for an extension of time by email (or telephone, if urgent) to the PRSB Secretary and provide reasons. A hearing date will be adjourned only in exceptional circumstances (such as in the event of a major incident).

 

4.9 Where will the appeal be heard?

Unless otherwise advised, hearings will be held at the PRSB office at Level 6, 155 Queen Street Melbourne (corner of Queen and Bourke Streets). There is a waiting area and adjoining conference room that you may use.

Please be conscious of noise levels as there may be another hearing in progress.

 

4.10  Parking and public transport

There is limited on-street parking (1 and 2 hour) but a number of local parking stations.

Nearby train stations are Flagstaff, Southern Cross and Flinders Street.

The closest tram is Stop 4 (Bourke Street/Queen Street) on Routes 86 and 96. Other nearby routes are 58 along William Street; 11, 12, 48 and 109 along Collins Street; and 19, 57 and 59 along Elizabeth Street.

 

4.11 How long will the hearing take?

Hearings usually take between 60 to 90 minutes but may take longer if there are unusual issues or several Appellants and Selectees.

 

4.12 Do I have to attend in uniform?

You do not need to attend in uniform and will not be disadvantaged in any way if you do not. Neat business-like attire is entirely appropriate. Consider attending in plain clothes if possible to make more efficient use of your time and Victoria Police resources. Members attending in uniform should present to the PRSB reception on arrival. You will not be disadvantaged regardless of your choice of dress code.

 

4.13 I have accessibility requirements

The PRSB office does not offer wheelchair accessible toilets (they are inside a stairwell). If you require accessible facilities, please contact the PRSB Secretary when you are notified of the appeal.

 

4.14 Can I bring a colleague of family member for support?

Yes. All PRSB hearings are open to the public, unless the PRSB Member orders the hearing (or part of it) to be closed (s.157). This may occur if the position is a sensitive or covert position or there is to be discussion of a sensitive matter (such as a conduct issue.

Non-parties who are on duty who wish to attend in support of a colleague are required to seek approval from their local management.

 

4.15 Can I attend an appeal hearing to observe the process before my hearing?

Yes. However if you are on duty, you will need to obtain prior approval from your supervisor.

Find the latest hearing list here (External link). The list is subject to change without notice so to avoid disappointment, anyone planning to observe a hearing should check the website as close as possible to the scheduled time. There may not be any appeals listed in a given fortnight.

 

 4.16 can I get copies of previous decisions?

Appeal decisions are not published. A sample decision is available here. Remember that every position and appeal is different with different questions asked, so do not rely too much on the sample decision.