The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution resolves issues in Victorian government schools.

We work with parents, students and the school community using an independent and fair process.

The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution can be approached to facilitate a final attempt at consensual resolution if the Department's usual systems have been exhausted but a complaint remains unresolved.

What we do

  • We review and solve escalated, complex disputes in Victorian government schools.
  • We use an alternative dispute resolution approach. This allows everyone to work through the issues in a timely way and for free.
  • We support everyone in the matter, including parents, students and principals.
  • We are independent of the Department of Education and Training.
  • We want the best outcome for students and their education.

How we resolve issues

We manage each issue 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.

Our staff are experts in alternative dispute resolution and school education.

We can also call on a pool of experts to help solve problems. These experts come from a range of fields, including:

  • school education
  • child development
  • cultural liaison
  • disability
  • family disputes
  • mental health
  • bullying preventing.


The guidelines for the independent office explain our functions and role.

Download guidelines in Word format (docx, 939kb)Download the guidelines in PDF (PDF, 582kb)

Chair and deputy chair

The independent office is overseen by an independent chair and a deputy chair. They 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.


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.


Office members

The following office members are experts that may be engaged during a 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.

Fact sheet

Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution fact sheet (docx, 124kb).
Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution fact sheet (pdf, 383kb).

Annual Report

The Annual Report of the Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution is contained within the Department of Education and Training's Annual Report.  The Department's Annual Reports are available here.

Department Annual ReportPage number of Department Annual report that Independent Office Annual Report commences on