Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Health Services Commissioner
Field of Law
Stage of career
Address: 26th Floor, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne. 3000
Phone: (03) 9032 3100 or 1300 582 113
Visit the Office of the Health Services Commissioner website
Contact person: Ms Angela Palombo, Legal & Policy Officer
Description of Organisation
The Office of the Health Services Commissioner (OHSC) resolves complaints from consumers of health services in Victoria. OHSC also handles complaints about holders of health information across in Victoria.
The OHSC uses information from both health service and health information complaints to improve the quality of healthcare and across both areas.
The OHSC administers two pieces of legislation governing health service complaints and health information privacy. They are:
Health Records Act 2001 (Vic.)
Health Services (Conciliation & Review) Act 1987 (Vic.)
The Health Services (Conciliation & Review) Act 1987 will be expected be replaced by the Health Complaints Act 2016 within the next 12 months. This means certain functions and the role of the office will change as well as the name of the office.
Number of legal positions within organisation:
Currently, the number of people for each position is as follows:
Assistant Commissioner: 1
Legal officer: 1
Investigator and Quality Lead: 1
Complaints handling staff: 15 (includes assessment officers, conciliators and managers)
- Some of the complaints handling staff hold a law degree
- The Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner and Investigator may hold a law degree
The number of staff may change with the introduction of the Health Complaints Act 2016
Does your organisation have a human rights officer?
No. However, all officers need to be aware of the Charter of Human Rights when dealing with complaints/stakeholders.
Staff at the OHSC are employed as public officers and should respect and promote the human rights set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities by:
i) making decisions and providing advice consistent with the charter; and
ii) Actively implementing, promoting and supporting human rights.
Information for university students/graduates
Do you have a graduate clerkship program? (involving practical legal training and admission to practise)
The office does not have a graduate clerkship program.
What are you looking for in an applicant?
Maturity, life experience, analytical ability, empathy.
Understanding of Legal frameworks
Experience and/or qualifications in Alternative Dispute Resolution/ Mediation/ Conciliation/ Investigations.
What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?
Admin Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Health Law
What prior work/volunteer work is viewed favourably?
Any health related work
What sort of volunteer/internship opportunities are available?
The OHSC may host a law intern, should the student’s university provider approach the office about this and the internship is part of course work.
For instance, the OHSC has hosted law student interns in their final year (enrolled in a legal internship subject) in the past. The internship program is coordinated by the University and the student is required to produce a 10,000 word paper about an aspect of the law relevant to their subject/course and the OHSC. The internship program runs for 20 days.
Information for practising lawyers
What are you looking for in a permanent employee?
Maturity, life experience, ability to work in a team, empathy, analytical ability, integrity, responsive, impartiality, respectful, accountable.
Where do you advertise your positions?
Do you use a recruitment agency?