Community Visitors have broad powers to inspect facilities, documents and records, in the course of their duties, to ensure the best interests of the person receiving treatment.
The Principal Community Visitor is required to ensure that seclusion & restraint registers held are inspected at least once every six months.
Community visitors inspect the medical records for all seclusions longer than four hours, and in every case where there is some concern about whether the seclusion has occurred in accordance with the Mental Health and Related Services Act.
The legal member of community visitors panels may, during a panel visit to an inpatient facility, also inspect the seclusion register held at the facility.
More broadly, in carrying out their duties, community visitors and panel members have extensive powers under the legislation, these include:
- able to visit an approved mental health treatment centre or alcohol mandatory treatment or assessment facility established under the respective legislation, without notice at any time, and a residential secure care facility at any time with reasonable notice;
- any part of the facility or premises of the facility, centre or agency;
- and communicating with persons who are receiving treatment or care or who are detained at the facility or premises of the agency;
- documents or records relating to persons receiving treatment or care at the facility or from the agency; and
- any records or registers required to be kept on or under the respective Act.