Another important function of the Community Visitors Program is to observe, check and review the progress or quality of approved facilities.
A Community Visitors Panel (CV Panel) is established for each approved facility or agency covered by the legislation to visit at least once every six months.
Each CV Panel is appointed by the Minister for Health and has three members. The CV Panel members are comprised of a medical practitioner or registered health practitioner, a legal practitioner and a community member with an interest and experience in the relevant field.
Panel members are required, as a group, to visit the facility to which they are appointed at least once every six months.
During visits, CV Panel members inquire into a range of matters that are more systematic in nature. These matters include opportunities and facilities for recreation and rehabilitation, the application of the least restrictive alternative, the quality of treatment and care, and the adequacy of information provided about complaints and legal rights.
The CV Panel may also inquire into any matter referred by the Minister of Health or the Principal Community Visitor, or any other matter that the Panel may consider appropriate.
After each visit, the Chair of the relevant CV Panel must forward a report detailing the outcomes of the visit to the Principal Community Visitor. The report is then forwarded to the person in charge of the facility or agency visited.
Issues raised by the panels and their recommendations are detailed in CVP Annual Reports.
Community visitors are now responsible for monitoring services provided in the approved treatment agencies (the community teams) in Mental Health. They conduct annual visits to inquire into the standard of community facilities and services provided to clients, particularly clients receiving involuntary treatment in the community.