Veterans' Review Board Service Charter
This Charter sets out our commitment of service to you. It is a public statement regarding the type and quality of services that the veteran community can expect to receive from the VRB.
The VRB is committed to maintaining and improving the quality of its services. We monitor our performance in meeting the commitments set out in this Charter. Your suggestions for improvements are welcome.
The VRB's Annual Report details our performance against the standards we set in this Charter.
ABOUT THE VRB
The Veterans' Review Board (VRB) is part of the Repatriation determining system but is independent of the Repatriation Commission and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The VRB is a tribunal created by Parliament to review decisions about Repatriation pensions (other than service pensions) and attendant allowance. It aims to provide correct, high quality, impartial decisions in a timely and efficient manner.
The VRB is made up of staff who manage its affairs and assist members, and panels of members who hear and decide applications for review. A panel consists of up to three persons with a wide range of skills, including service experience and legal qualifications. All panel members are independent persons appointed by the Governor-General.
The VRB will:
1. Treat you with courtesy and respect
- When you visit us, we will acknowledge your arrival and attend to you promptly. We will ensure our office is tidy and functional and that you are made to feel as comfortable as possible.
- We will answer your telephone call promptly during normal office hours. We will identify ourselves to you and give you accurate and helpful information. We will return your call if a more detailed answer is necessary.
- When you write to us, we will reply to your letter within 14 days. We will answer fully the questions or issues you raise. If a full reply is not possible within 14 days we will indicate when it will be available. We will use language that is clear and easy to understand. All letters will include the name and telephone number of the person who wrote to you.
- We will listen to and carefully consider the matters you put to us.
2. Provide equitable access
- We hold hearings in all capital cities and in some regional centres.
- Wheelchair access is available to all our offices.
- If you let us know your needs, we will assist you with special access or other requirements.
- If you are telephoning from outside the metropolitan area, we can return your call to save you some of the cost of an STD call.
3. Provide explanatory material
- We will send you pamphlets which will help you to prepare your case.
- We will provide, on request, a booklet designed to assist representatives appearing at the VRB.
- We will tell you about organisations that may be able to assist you to prepare your case.
4. Give you an opportunity to be heard
- You or your representative will have the opportunity to present your case to a VRB panel.
- You may appear in person and/or be represented at a hearing (refer to 6). Alternatively, you may choose to have a telephone hearing.
- You may prefer your case to be considered in your absence by reference to your application and all relevant files.
- You or your representative may make written submissions.
- We will arrange a hearing as soon as possible after you or your representative advise us that you are ready.
- We will conduct hearings in an informal atmosphere but with due regard to the importance of the matter and your dignity.
- Hearings with you and/or your representative present, or telephone hearings, are tape recorded and retained for two years. We will provide a copy of the tape on your request at any time up to two years after the hearing.
5. Provide confidentiality
- VRB hearings are held in private.
- Information about your case will not be given to other people unless authorised by law or with your consent.
6. Allow representation
- You can conduct your own case at the VRB or be represented by an advocate. A number of ex-service organisations provide advocacy services free of charge.
- You may seek assistance in preparing your case but this will be at your own expense if you do not wish to use the free services.
- You may be represented by anyone, at your own expense, other than a legal practitioner (precluded under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986).
- You may bring a friend or relative to your VRB hearing, whether or not you are represented.
7. Provide reasons for our decision
- We will give our decision and reasons in writing as soon as possible after the hearing and usually within 28 days.
- We will let you know of your rights of appeal.
8. Listen to any comments or complaints
- We welcome your comments or suggestions about our operations.
- We will respond quickly to complaints.
- If you have a complaint, it is best first directed to the local Registrar. If the complaint cannot be resolved by the Registrar, we will let you know of further avenues available to you.
9. Cooperate and be independent
- We will cooperate with all persons interested in assisting us in furthering our aims of providing correct, high quality, impartial decisions in a timely and efficient manner.
- We will guard our independence in the interests of all parties.
To enable the VRB to meet its commitments you need to:
- Respond to requests from VRB Registry staff in the way we ask.
- Give us complete and accurate information within required time limits.
- Treat VRB Registry staff and members in the way you would wish to be treated, that is with courtesy and respect.
- Keep hearing or other appointments, or tell us beforehand if you cannot keep an appointment.
- Let us know of any change of circumstances which might affect your VRB application for review, including any change of address.