The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution works alongside parents, students and Victorian government schools to resolve issues through an independent, simple and fair process.
We help resolve escalated complex disputes arising in Victorian government schools. When handling a dispute, we support everyone (parents, students and principals) to problem solve the issues. We all want the best outcome for students and their education. We are here to help resolve the dispute, and ensure Victoria remains at the forefront of inclusive school communities and excellence in education.
We are independent of the Department of Education and Training. We use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches to allow everyone involved to work through the issues in a timely way and at no financial cost.
Each individual matter is treated according to its needs. We take a flexible approach to help people reach a workable solution. If this is not possible, we can make recommendations to the Department of Education and Training about what to do.
The Independent Office is comprised of experts in alternative dispute resolution, school education and various subject matters. We can call on our pool of experts to help problem solve issues. Our experts are drawn from a wide range of fields including school education, child development, cultural liaison, disability, family disputes, mental health, and bullying prevention.
Watch: The Chair and stakeholders introduce the Independent Office.
Accessing the service
The Independent Office is the final step in the Department of Education and Training’s dispute resolution process.
School complaints are managed through the Department’s
complaints process. Your school should always be the first point of contact for a complaint, followed by the Department’s regional office. If your complaint remains unresolved from the Department’s complaints process and the matter is eligible, the Department will refer it to the Independent Office. You can also contact us directly if you think your matter should be considered by the Office.
You can contact us on 1300 017 593 or at
Complaint process information
The Guidelines for the Independent Office provide an in-depth and clear explanation of the functions and role of the Independent Office, along with frequently asked questions.
Download guidelines in Word format (docx, 939kb)Download the guidelines in PDF (PDF, 582kb)
Chair and Deputy Chairs
The Independent Office is overseen by an independent Chair and two Deputy Chairs, who are experts in alternative dispute resolution.
Frank Handy - Chair
Frank has extensive experience and qualifications in alternative dispute resolution. He has over twenty years of experience in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and other countries, resolving disputes, consulting for organisations, and educating people about conflict management, with a wide variety of private and government organisations.
Treasure Jennings – Deputy Chair
Treasure is currently the Public Transport Ombudsman for Victoria and has a broad range of experience in both the private and public sectors. Her expertise spans all facets of alternate dispute resolution as well as extensive business leadership across a number of industries. Treasure holds a Masters of Dispute Resolution and has a strong passion for the interests of young people and education.
Jo-Anne Mazzeo – Deputy Chair
Jo-Anne is an alternative dispute resolution lawyer with a particular interest in mental health and disability law and diverse experience across similar Review Panels, Boards and Tribunals. She has significant experience working with children and vulnerable cohorts and has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and other Qualifications in mediation, leadership, investigations and training and assessment. She is currently the Principal Legal Officer for the Disability Services Commissioner, the Deputy Chair of the Patient Review Panel and a Senior Lecturer with Monash University.
The following Office members are experts that may be engaged during the course of the dispute:
Experts in school education
Elene Archbold, Brian Henderson, Brian O'Dea, Karen O'Dowd, Jenny Wajsenberg and Warren Wills.
Experts in subject matters
Natasha Belmont, Vera Briggs, Fiona Downing, Richard Gould, Liz Kelly, Fred Stern and Sandie de Wolf.
Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution Fact Sheet (docx, 124kb).
Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution Fact Sheet (pdf, 383kb).