What happens at conciliation?


When this Fact Sheet refers to “You” it means the applicant, and includes his or her nominee, representative or support person. When it refers to “We” or “Us” it means the AAT.

What is a conciliation?

Conciliation is an informal, private meeting at which you and the National Disability Insurance Agency can talk about your application and try to reach agreement. It is the form of alternative dispute resolution that we use when we review National Disability Insurance Scheme decisions.

At conciliation, an AAT Conference Registrar or Member will ask you and the Agency to tell each other about the issues in the case from your perspective, discuss information about the case and hear each other’s point of view, and will help you consider possible options for reaching agreement.

The Conference Registrar or Member cannot make a decision about your application but can offer opinions about the factual and legal issues in the case, and may make suggestions about how you and the Agency might reach agreement.

Return to top of page

What are the benefits of conciliation?

We encourage you and the National Disability Insurance Agency to reach your own agreement if at all possible. People usually feel more satisfied with an outcome they have negotiated themselves than with a decision which is imposed on them.

Conciliation is an opportunity for you and the Agency to listen and understand each other’s side of the story. So that you will be free to explore all options for reaching agreement, what is said at conciliation is private.

Sometimes it might be possible to agree on some facts or issues but not reach full agreement. If you and the Agency consent, the things that have been agreed can be recorded for the purpose of the hearing. This will save time at the hearing which will be focussed on the things that have not been agreed.

If you reach full agreement at conciliation, we will put your agreement in writing for you and the Agency to sign. An AAT Member will then make a legally binding decision that reflects your agreement.

Return to top of page

When is conciliation held?

If your case plan includes conciliation, it will usually be scheduled within 4 weeks after your case conference.

Before the conciliation, your AAT Contact Officer will contact you to discuss the date, time and place of the conciliation, what will happen and how you can prepare for it.

Return to top of page

How can I prepare for conciliation?

The best way to prepare for conciliation is to think about what outcome you want, and think about what you can negotiate and compromise on. You should come to the conciliation willing and prepared to reach agreement with the National Disability Insurance Agency if possible. However, you do not have to agree to anything you do not think is acceptable.

It may help to make notes before you come to conciliation about what is important to you.

You must do everything that your case plan requires you to do before the conciliation. If there is any information you have not already given us about your application, you must bring it to the conciliation.

Return to top of page

What will the National Disability Insurance Agency do to prepare?

The National Disability Insurance Agency must do all of the things that the case plan requires them to do before the conciliation and come to the conciliation willing and prepared to reach agreement with you if possible.

The Agency must ensure that their representative at the conciliation will have full authority to settle the case if agreement is reached.

Return to top of page

Do I have to take part in the conciliation?

Yes. You must participate in the conciliation. If, for any reason, you do not think you can take part on the date arranged, tell us as soon as possible but note that we will only grant an adjournment if there are very good reasons to do so. If you do not take part in the conciliation and you do not have a good reason, your application may be dismissed.

Return to top of page

What if we cannot reach agreement?

If you and the National Disability Insurance Agency cannot reach agreement, or only reach agreement about some parts of your case, we will record this on your case plan and send you a copy.

The Conference Registrar or Member will discuss with you the arrangements for your case to go to a hearing, and will confirm the date and place of the hearing.

For more information about hearings, see our fact sheet Review of National Disability Insurance Scheme Decisions: What happens at a hearing?

Return to top of page

Contact us if you need more information or have any questions

Contact us by mail, phone, fax or email.

Version: July 2014