Identifying a Relevant Person

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​The role of the relevant person

Suspension and expulsion are serious disciplinary measures. It is important that the student has a person to support and advocate for them throughout the suspension or expulsion process.

The Ministerial Order and this guidance refer to such persons as “relevant persons”.

For definitions of parent and carer, see Legal Obligations​

Who can be a relevant person?

For a student under 18 years of age

For a student is who is under 18 years of age and is not considered a ‘mature minor’, the relevant person may be one of the following:
  • A parent
  • An adult nominated by the parent in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance
  • An adult appointed from the Suitable Persons List in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance.
 

For a student in out-of-home-care

For a student who is in out-of-home-care, the relevant person may be one of the following persons:

  • A parent
  • An adult who is residing with, and providing care to, the student in the out of home care arrangement
  • An adult nominated by the parent or carer in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance
  • An adult appointed from the Suitable Persons List in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance.
 

For a student who is considered a mature minor

For a student who is considered a mature minor, the relevant person may be one of the following persons:

  • An adult nominated by the student in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance
  • An adult appointed from the suitable persons list in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance.

For further advice on determining whether a student a mature minor, see: Decision Making Responsibilities for Students

For a student who is 18 years of age or older

A student who is 18 years of age or older is considered an adult and can participate in the suspension or expulsion process without a relevant person present.  However, such students should be encouraged to:

  • Identify an adult (such as a parent or relative) who can support them during the process
  • Request that an adult be appointed from the Suitable Persons List in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ministerial Order and this guidance.
 

Separated parents

In circumstances where there is more than one parent or carer who would like to participate in the suspension and expulsion process, it is important to involve all of them in the process.

If the principal of a Victorian government school needs advice and assistance on how to proceed with the suspension or expulsion in these circumstances, it is strongly recommended that they contact the Department’s Legal Division. The Legal Division can be contacted on (03) 9637 3146 or via email on legal.services@edumail.vic.gov.au

Appointing a relevant person

Where a student’s parent or carer is available and willing to act as the Relevant Person during a suspension or expulsion process, no nomination is required.

In situations where the parent or carer is not available, they (or the student in the case of a mature minor) can nominate an alternative Relevant Person. The student, parent or carer and the person being nominated must complete and sign a Relevant Person Nomination and Acceptance Form.

The completed and signed form should be provided to the principal before the suspension or expulsion process proceeds.

Once a Relevant Person has been appointed, the suspension or expulsion can proceed as outlined in Suspension Process and Expulsion Process​.

In some cases the parent or carer may not be available or willing to act as the Relevant Person, and the student, parent or carer may also be unable to identify an alternative Relevant Person. In these cases someone from the “suitable persons list” should be appointed as the student’s Relevant Person by the school principal.

The Suitable Persons List

Student Support Service Regional Networks (SSS Regional Networks) will establish and maintain a “suitable persons list” of people who are eligible to fulfil the role of the relevant person for students within the network. Suitable persons are experienced Department of Education and Early Childhood Development staff who have received training on suspension and expulsion procedures and can represent and advocate for a student throughout the process.

To be eligible for membership of the Suitable Person List, a person must:

  • Be employed by the Department
  • Have completed suspension and expulsion training
  • Be able and willing to support and advocate for students during a suspension or expulsion process, until the conclusion of the process (which may include an expulsion appeal).
    It is anticipated that members of the suitable persons list will be school or network-based, such as Student Support Services Officers, student welfare coordinators, or other school-based staff. The exact profile and number of members on each list will be determined at the SSS Regional Network level, taking into account the number of schools and students in the network. 

Administration of the Suitable Persons List

Each network should nominate one person (e.g the SSS Network Coordinator, the Network Executive Chair, a principal from within the Network, or a staff member from the regional office if the Network has delegated management to the regional office) that has responsibility for:

  • Establishing the Suitable Persons List for their SSS Regional Network
  • Maintaining an up to date, online list for their network accessible by all school principals in the network
  • Ensuring all members of the list have undertaken suspension and expulsion training
  • Maintaining records of use of the list
  • Providing advice for principals when issues arise in selecting a suitable person.
Small SSS Regional Networks, in consultation with the regional office, may decide to group together for the purpose of administering the Suitable Persons List, to ensure appropriate geographic spread and school representation.
 

Using the Suitable Persons List

Prior to appointing a Relevant Person from the Relevant Person Nomination and Acceptance form, the principal should notify the student and their parent or carer that a relevant person is being appointed for the student and the reason for this.

To appoint a Relevant Person from the Suitable Persons List, the principal should select a suitable candidate from the online list and make direct contact with the candidate to establish their availability to act as the Relevant Person.

Note: a principal may not appoint as relevant person any member of the suitable persons list who is employed at the same school as the principal. 

The principal must complete and sign the Request to Appoint a Person from the Suitable Persons List form and arrange for appointed person to sign it also, then provide a copy of this form to the person administering the Suitable Persons List for the SSS Regional Network.

The principal will inform the student of the appointment of the Relevant Person and arrange for contact between the student and their Relevant Person. Once a person from the Suitable Persons List has been appointed, they must act as the relevant person until the conclusion of the suspension or expulsion process.

For support in appointing a Relevant Person from the Suitable Persons List or if there are any serious concerns about a person who has been appointed from the list, the principal should contact the person in the SSS Regional Network responsible for administering the list.

To access the Suitable Person List for your SSS Regional Network or Region see:

If you have difficulty accessing the site, please contact Health, Wellbeing and Engagement staff in your region. See: Regions

Record keeping

Schools must keep the completed and signed Relevant Person Nomination and Acceptance form
or Request to Appoint a Person from the Suitable Persons List form as part of the student’s record. A copy of the Request to Appoint a Person from the Suitable Persons List form (where applicable) should also be provided a copy to the officer responsible for maintaining the network’s suitable persons list.

Documentation related to the appointment of relevant persons is to be considered a record of the suspension or expulsion. The Public Records Office of Victoria requires suspension records to be destroyed one year after the student leaves the school and expulsion records to be destroyed one year after the expulsion or when the student ceases to be of compulsory school age (whichever is later). For more information on record keeping, retention and destruction see: Records and Information Management

Forms and flow charts

​​