• Decrease font size
  • Increase font size
  • Print Page
  • Print to PDF

Plan and conduct investigations

An investigation is any process of inquiry into or examination of a reportable allegation or conviction undertaken by a relevant entity. The Office of the Children's Guardian also has the authority to conduct preliminary inquiries and investigations.

Under the Children’s Guardian Act 2019, the head of the entity must – as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the reportable matter – arrange for it to be investigated and determined following principles of procedural fairness.

Forms now available

  • 7-day notification form
  • 30-day interim report form
  • Entity report form

Go to notification forms

A critical component of a good investigation is planning. The key elements of, and steps in, the investigation should be carefully planned and documented and this should include an assessment of any risks to the investigation. The investigation plan should be revised as needed if circumstances change or more information becomes available. A sound investigation plan will assist heads of relevant entities to comply with the requirements to provide the Children’s Guardian with interim and/or entity reports and will help the relevant entity to demonstrate transparency and accountability.

While many factors will impact on the time it takes to complete an investigation, the investigation is expected to be as timely as possible and the head of the relevant entity is required to provide the Children’s Guardian with reasons as to why an investigation has not been completed within a certain timeframe. 

If a reportable allegation involves an allegation of a criminal offence, it will generally require a report to Police and Police may investigate the matter. A police investigation into a reportable allegation will usually have priority over other investigations. Where police are involved, any investigation by the entity (under the Reportable Conduct Scheme) or the Children's Guardian, may not commence or may need to be suspended until the police advise it may proceed.

However, even if there is a police investigation, the head of the relevant entity still needs to notify the Office of the Children’s Guardian about the allegation and take action (in consultation with police) to manage any risks to children.

Fact sheet: Planning and conducting an investigation (PDF 912.4KB)

Key timeframes that need to be met within the investigation and reporting process

Within 7 business days of becoming aware of a reportable allegation, the head of an entity must notify the Office of the Children’s Guardian that a reportable allegation has been made against one of their relevant workers. Penalties apply to the head of a relevant entity for failing to comply with the notification as delayed notifications can increase risks to children. 

Within 30 calendar days, the head of the relevant entity must provide further information to the Office of the Children’s Guardian. This must be either:

  • the completed investigation report into the reportable allegation or conviction
  • an interim report
  • a reason for not producing the report, and
  • an estimated timeframe for completion of the investigation report.

Fact sheet: Making a finding of reportable conduct (PDF 870.3KB)

Note - it's very important that organisations keep full records of the planning and investigation process, with all related documents held in a secure location and available for review by the Office of the Children’s Guardian, if required.