Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
Tabled paper 283
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Claire Martin
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_________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 34 While the majority of the complainants allegations of unprofessional conduct were unsustained or unresolved, some evidence of inappropriate conduct was found which indicated a need for improved training of child protection staff. Acknowledgment by the Department that there were some systemic issues to address paved the way for acceptance of the recommendations made by the Ombudsman. The Department advised a number of initiatives to address the recommendations, some of which were in direct response to the investigation report and some of which had been developed independently as a result of the child reform agenda. In summary, these initiatives include: The development of an NT FACS training framework which will provide comprehensive training to child protection staff and address a number of the administrative deficiencies identified in my investigation and which resulted from inadequate training and supervision. Implementation of this initiative commenced in March 2005. The establishment of forums to facilitate communication and sharing of knowledge between FACS and other bodies with an interest in child protection and welfare such as the Family Court, Federal police and lawyers. This initiative commenced in December 2004. The development and trailing of a model for workplace coaching covering issues of leadership, team building and behaviour change. The trial was carried out in 2005. A bulk recruitment strategy to fill vacancies in the child protection area, which commenced in October 2004. As the Community Welfare Act is currently under review and new legislation is likely to be implemented in the near future, a number of recommendations relating to review of policy are necessarily on hold until new legislation is implemented. At that time significant policy development will be necessary and the Department has been requested to ensure that the Ombudsmans policy recommendations are given consideration at that time. Reform and improvement of child protection system in the Northern Territory is an ongoing process, which will not cease once the new legislation and associated policy is implemented. It is clear that this is recognised by the Department and its extensive efforts to address training, resourcing and other major issues needs to be acknowledged.
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