Education and training of staff on human rights principles

ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) staff regularly reflect on their application of human rights in their dealings with teachers. For example, regulatory decisions based on the ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010 can impact a person’s right to work. Staff working on policy and legislation development as well as teacher regulation participate in meetings regarding legislation implementation and its impact on a person’s right to work and consider:

  • The right to privacy and reputation
  • The rights in work
  • Recognition and equality before the law.

Reviews undertaken of internal policies and procedures for compatibility with human rights

In the reporting period, the Pre-service Teacher Professional Experience Policy was approved, and the Continuing Professional Learning and Program Accreditation Policy; Initial teacher education Program Accreditation Policy; Teacher Registration and Permit to Teach Policy; and the Teacher Registration Qualifications Policy were all reviewed. Human rights are a key focus of TQI’s policy development and review processes.

Any guidelines or checklists developed to incorporate consideration of public authority obligations under s 40B of the Human Rights Act in decision making

TQI takes into account the Human Rights Act when making registration and regulatory decisions. The development of the TQI Regulatory Framework commenced in the reporting period. The completed Framework will ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act. TQI’s recruitment processes include an emphasis on the value of people who are from diverse backgrounds.

TQI has sought and gained the Minister’s approval to appoint a member representing the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector to the TQI Board. Giving ECEC a voice on the Board will assist with TQI’s work, commenced in the reporting period, to find the best model for enabling teachers from the sector to register with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute. The new model is expected to provide a better awareness of value of the professionalism, skills and knowledge of those teachers working in the ECEC sector.

Dissemination of information about agency obligations under the Human Rights Act to clients

TQI publishes all TQI policies on its website. TQI policies include information relating to human rights including to privacy, to respect, to non-discriminatory treatment, and to appeal decisions. When informing a person of a regulatory decision, TQI includes reference to a person’s right to appeal that decision and to whom to address the appeal. Teachers applying for registration or renewal of registration are informed via the online application form.

Privacy principles are adhered to. TQI informs people or organisations requesting information about a teacher or teachers of the legislated obligations that TQI must adhere to regarding the sharing or not of personal information.

Human Rights Act considerations included in the complaints handling framework

The TQI complaints policy includes reference to a complainant’s human rights including the right to:

  • a timely response
  • assistance to raise a complaint
  • privacy
  • respectful communication, and
  • recognition of special needs and cultural differences.

Inclusion of Human Rights Act obligations in contracts and tenders

TQI follows the ACT Government’s guidelines regarding contracts and tenders.

Internal dissemination of information to staff on the legislative scrutiny process

TQI distributes to staff all publications and brochures provided by the JACS Directorate and the Human Rights Commission.

Liaison with the Human Rights Advisors on human rights principles of the legislative scrutiny process

TQI prepared two Cabinet submissions to seek Cabinet’s approval for the Minister to make 6 appointments to the TQI Board. To assist with the formation of a Board consisting of persons from diverse backgrounds, TQI sought applications via Diversity ACT. When seeking nominations from the peak bodies, TQI included when drafting the letter from the Minister seeking nominations from peak bodies to fill vacant positions on the Board, a paragraph stating that the ACT Government values the contribution of people from diverse backgrounds.

Reviews or preparations for reviews of existing legislation for compatibility with the Human Rights Act

It is anticipated that the TQI Act will be reviewed in 2022 or soon after. The review of the Act is expected to allow teachers from the ECEC sector to register with the TQI and thus provide a better awareness of value of the professionalism, skills and knowledge of those teachers working in the ECEC sector.

A review of the Act is also expected to strengthen legislation to protect the safety of children and young people who are in the care of registered teachers.