Conciliation FAQs

What is Conciliation?

Conciliation is a flexible, quick and cost-efficient way of managing and resolving complaints in relation to a health service you received. Conciliations are a collaborative process (rather than adversarial), and confidential.  Conciliation is about good faith. This means you will have the opportunity to ask the health service provider questions about what and how treatment decisions were made, the policies and procedures that related to the health service you received, and whether there are any options to address the concerns you raised in the complaint. This meeting will be facilitated by an impartial conciliator.

What does the conciliator do?

The conciliator’s role is to facilitate a conversation between you and the health service provider and assist both parties to sort out past difficulties and develop strategies for dealing with future issues. The conciliator is not a judge, does not decide who is right or wrong and does not take sides. The conciliator helps both sides talk about the matters that concern them and makes sure the conversation progresses fairly and constructively. The conciliator may also provide general information about the law and how the law may apply to the complaint, but the conciliator is not a legal advocate for either side.

Is conciliation compulsory?

No. Conciliation is voluntary and you do not have to participate. However, we encourage you to participate as it an effective way of resolving complaints informally and quickly. It is a process that encourages positive and constructive dialogue. You are able to withdraw from conciliation at any time.

Does conciliation cost money?

No. Conciliation with the ACT Human Rights Commission is free and informal.

Why is the meeting confidential?

Conciliation meetings are confidential and privileged. This means that in so far as the law permits, everything said in the conciliation room stays in the conciliation room. This obligation to keep confidence applies to the conciliator and to both parties. It also means that should the matter go to court, then neither party can bring evidence about what the other said or did during the conciliation meeting.

Confidentiality is critical for a successful conciliation. It encourages parties to talk openly and candidly about what really concerns them and it assures both parties that discussion cannot and will not be disclosed to others.

How long will the conciliation meeting last?

Commit 3-4 hours on the allocated time and date for the conciliation meeting. Conciliations are usually scheduled from 9:30 – 12:30 or 1:30 – 4:30.

Where are conciliations held?

Conciliation meetings are usually held at the Commission’s offices.

Who can I bring to the meeting?

Generally, you and a representative of the health service provider will attend the conciliation meeting. If your complaint relates to a clinical matter, there may also be an appropriate clinician representing the provider. You may bring a support person, interpreter or other advocate to the meeting, but you must discuss this with the conciliator prior to the meeting.

Agreements reached in conciliation

If you reach an agreement, the terms will be put in writing and signed by both parties.