Initial consideration by the Board
The Board undertakes an initial assessment whenever it receives:
- A notification from an employer about a teacher
- A complaint about a teacher
- A notification from a teacher in relation to a change in criminal history.
- Information from police.
- Information from other teacher regulatory authorities
- Other information that, in the Board's opinion, calls into question whether a teacher is a fit and proper person to teach or competent to teach.
The Board can decide to:
- Commence a preliminary investigation;
- Commence an inquiry;
- Transfer information to police; or
- Prosecute offences under the Teacher Registration (Northern Territory) Act 2004 (the Act).
The Board can also decide that no further action is required - for example, if the Board considers that no real conduct or competence issue is raised, or the matter has been dealt with appropriately by the employer, or the matter is unlikely to require a disciplinary response.
However if the matter came to the Board's attention from a complaint the Board must commence a preliminary investigation or inquiry.
The teacher, employer and complainant (if relevant) will be advised of the Board decision in writing. The Board may also share information with other teacher regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand.
After deciding to hold an inquiry, if the Board has immediate concerns including in relation to the safety of children, the Board may if it considers necessary to do so:
- Suspend the registration of the teacher; or
- Impose conditions on the registration of the teacher.
The teacher and employer will be advised of the Board decision. Teacher regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand will be advised in the case of suspension and may be advised of conditions imposed if appropriate.
The Board must appoint an investigator to conduct the investigation, being:
- The Director of the Board; or
- An investigation panel including at least two Board members.
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to assist the Board to decide whether or not the Board should do any of the following:
- Take further action under the Act without first holding an inquiry; or
- Hold an inquiry in relation to the teacher or authorised person.
The basis of the preliminary investigation is the specific alleged conduct and/or issues of competence and whether or not the teacher or authorised person is a fit and proper person to teach and/or competent to teach.
Once a preliminary investigation has been commenced the Board must give written notice to the teacher. The teacher may if they wish to, give the investigator a written statement within 14 days of receiving the written notice.
The role of the investigator is to investigate the allegations and provide a report with recommendations to the Board. The investigator must observe the rules of procedural fairness. The investigator may, by written notice, require a person to give information to the investigator and may contact relevant parties and witnesses during the investigation.
The Investigator prepares a report for the Board providing a recommendation. The Board is not bound by the recommendation of the Investigator but must take it into account.
After receiving the recommendation the Board must decide to:
- Take no further action;
- Take further action under the Act in relation to the teacher or authorised person without
- First holding an Inquiry; or
- Hold an Inquiry in relation to the teacher or authorised person.
The further action which can be taken by the Board without proceeding to an Inquiry is to impose condition/s on the Teacher’s registration or suspend registration (suspension will only apply to ensure that the Teacher meets a requirement prior to teaching again).
The Board cannot cancel registration or disqualify a person from registration without first holding an Inquiry.
Please refer to the Preliminary Investigation Fact Sheet for further information.
An Inquiry may be commenced by the Board after receiving the relevant information or may occur following a Preliminary Investigation undertaken by the Board.
The Board may only hold an Inquiry if it is reasonably satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so. If a person is no longer registered to teach in Australia/New Zealand this may impact on its decision to proceed with an Inquiry as the options for disciplinary action under the Teacher Registration (Northern Territory) Act 2004 are limited. If this is the case the Board may share information with other teacher regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand in relation to its decision.
The Board appoints a committee to conduct the Inquiry. The Inquiry Committee must be comprised of two Board members and a Chairperson, who is a legal practitioner with a minimum of five years’ experience in Australia.
The purpose of an Inquiry is to assist the Board to decide whether or not it should do any of the following:
- Impose or vary a condition on the person’s registration or authorisation.
- Suspend the registration or authorisation;
- Cancel the registration or authorisation.
- Disqualify the person from registration or authorisation.
The basis of the inquiry is the specific alleged conduct and/or issues of competence and whether or not the teacher or authorised person is a fit and proper person to teach and/or competent to teach.
Once an inquiry has been commenced the Board must give written notice to the teacher. The teacher may if they wish to, give the inquiry committee a written statement within 14 days of receiving the written notice.
The Inquiry usually takes place in a court or tribunal room. The Inquiry Committee decides the procedure of the Inquiry and it is conducted with as little formality and technicality, and as quickly, as proper consideration of the subject matter allows. The Inquiry is open to the public unless the Inquiry Committee decides otherwise.
A complainant and other witnesses may attend to give evidence at an Inquiry hearing. The Inquiry Committee may, by written notice, require a person (including the Teacher) to appear before the Inquiry Committee or to give information to the Inquiry Committee.
The Teacher may choose to represent themselves, have a support person present or obtain representation (such as a lawyer, advocate or union representative).
The Inquiry Committee must report its findings and provide recommendations to the Board as soon as practicable following the Inquiry. The Board is not bound by the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry Committee but must take them into consideration.
The Board will consider the report of the Inquiry Committee at a Board meeting and may decide to do one of the following:
- Impose or vary a condition on registration/ authorisation;
- Suspend registration/authorisation;
- Cancel registration/authorisation
- Disqualify a person from registration/authorisation for a specified period.
- Take no further action.
Please refer to the Inquiries Fact Sheet for further information.
If you have been asked to provide information at an Inquiry please refer to the Providing Information to Inquiry Committee Fact Sheet.
Outcome of disciplinary proceedings
- At the completion of disciplinary proceedings the Director of the Board will advise the teacher in writing of the Board's decision and will provide an information notice which sets out the reasons for the decision.
- If the disciplinary matter resulted from a complaint being lodged the Board will also advise the complainant of the Board's decision and provide an information notice to the complainant setting out the reasons for the decision.
- The Board will also advise the Teacher's employer and/or former employer of the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings. Where a person is disqualified from registration or registration is suspended or cancelled the Board will notify other teacher regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand.
- The Board may also share relevant information with other teacher regulatory authorities in Australia and New Zealand in relation to disciplinary findings.
Cessation of registration on being found guilty of a sexual offence
- A teacher who is registered, ceases to be registered on being found guilty of a sexual offence. Likewise an authorisation is revoked on the person being found guilty of a sexual offence.
- The Board will notify other teacher regulatory authorities in Australian and New Zealand and will notify current or former employers as required.