An investigation conducted by the Board is independent of investigations undertaken by the South Australia Police, Department for Education and Child Development (DECD), Catholic Education Office, the Association of Independent Schools of SA or any other statutory authority.
If the Registrar determines an investigation is warranted the teacher concerned will be informed in writing that an investigation has commenced, this notification outlines the nature of the complaint and advises the teacher that the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness apply.
Section 34 of the Act provides the Registrar, or a person authorised by the Registrar, with the authority to undertake an investigation into allegations and during the course of an investigation require a person to answer questions, provide information, produce material for inspection and retain or make copies of any material produced. Failure to comply with the above requirements may incur a maximum penalty $10,000 or imprisonment for 1 year.
Investigations are conducted by the Board’s Investigations Officers. The investigation process is evidence-based and may involve the following procedures when investigating allegations of unprofessional conduct or incapacity:
- interview and obtain statements from witnesses.
- collect evidence identified within the investigation process.
- interview the teacher subject to the allegations. (The teacher is entitled to legal representation or the presence of a support person when being interviewed in relation to the allegations.)
- prepare the investigation file and summary for consideration of the Registrar and legal advisors.
If the Registrar concludes there is insufficient evidence to proceed further with the matter the teacher will be advised and the matter closed. The teacher may receive a letter of warning or advisory counselling about a matter. The Board will be formally advised of this course of action by the Registrar
All documents and information will remain on a confidential file.
If sufficient evidence is found to substantiate the allegations the Registrar may lay a complaint before the Board to determine whether there is proper cause for disciplinary action or whether the teacher’s capacity to teach is seriously impaired. .
“Complaint” is the term used for the formal legal document provided to the Board by the Registrar which outlines the allegations against a teacher and forms the basis of an inquiry into a teacher’s conduct or capacity to teach. It is to be distinguished from general complaints or concerns made about a teacher by others. Evidence is given at the inquiry hearing to support the allegations made in the Complaint. The Registrar becomes the complainant in any inquiry.
Further information regarding the conduct of investigations and conduct of an inquiry can be found at Information Sheet- Matters Pursuant to Part 7 Act.
If a person is requested to attend as a witness to provide evidence at an inquiry they will be contacted by an Investigations Officer who will make arrangements for their attendance. Detailed information regarding the role of a witness can be found at Information Sheet- Witness Information.