06 Aug 2021
A Victorian psychologist has been reprimanded and a condition placed on his registration after he failed to hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance and made false declarations at renewal and audit.
Mr Robert Postlethwaite, a registered psychologist, was alleged to have failed to maintain appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII) for approximately 12 months and recklessly made false declarations to Ahpra about his PII arrangements at renewal of registration and in a subsequent random audit.
The Psychology Board of Australia’s (the Board) Professional indemnity insurance arrangements registration standard requires registered psychologists to have appropriate PII arrangements in place when practising. Mr Postlethwaite was unable to provide evidence of his PII arrangements as part of a random audit to show compliance with the Board’s registration standards.
The Board referred the allegations to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in June 2020. Mr Postlethwaite agreed with the Board that by failing to maintain appropriate PII he had breached his obligations under the Board’s registration standard and contravened the National Law.
In May 2021 the tribunal found that Mr Postlethwaite had engaged in professional misconduct and ordered that he be reprimanded, and a condition placed on his registration. The condition requires Mr Postlethwaite to provide a certificate of currency showing appropriate PII coverage on an annual basis.
The tribunal noted that Mr Postlethwaite’s failure to renew his PII in early 2018 appeared to be an isolated event and also noted a number of mitigating factors, including that Mr Postlethwaite had been practising for almost 40 years; had no prior disciplinary outcomes; had cooperated with the Board, and did not seek to excuse his actions and demonstrated insight and remorse.
In recording the reasons for its decision, the tribunal observed ‘It needs to be made clear to members of the profession that they must comply with section 129 the National Law and the registration standard, because the requirements are there to protect the public. It also needs to be made clear to members of the profession that they must never be reckless when they make relevant declarations to the Board.’
The tribunal’s decision is published on the Austlii website.