Communique from the Co-Chairs of the Governance Advisory Panel - 6 September 2022
The Child Safe Governance Review Governance Advisory Panel met for the second time on Tuesday, 6 September 2022.
The meeting agenda focussed on:
- a forward meeting plan for the panel
- a report from the Chair of the Lived Experience: Expert Reference Group
- a report from the working group looking into a baseline assessment of organisational cultural at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) and
- the reporting of incidents and concerns with a child safety lens.
Forward Meeting Plan
The Governance Advisory Panel has considered and agreed on a forward meeting plan. The forward meeting plan will ensure that each of the Terms of Reference are given due consideration to support the Panel’s recommendations. The Panel also noted the need to engage consumer voices in informing the Panel’s recommendations and further consideration of how this can be facilitated will be undertaken.
Report from Chair of the Lived Experience: Expert Reference Group
Dr Maria Harries, spoke about the establishment of a Lived Experience: Expert Reference Group to enable input from the lived experience of victim-survivors to the Panel’s consideration of the Terms of Reference. Dr Harries informed the Panel that initial conversations are ongoing with participants in the reference group. Dr Harries noted that one of the critical components of establishing the reference group is to demonstrate to victim-survivors that their input will be meaningful to the work of the Panel.
The Panel agreed that it must be clear how the Lived Experience: Expert Reference Group can provide input to the Panel and how the interface with the Panel will occur. Panel members agreed that any input and interface must be guided by a trauma informed approach and noted that some members of the Panel had undertaken education and training in a trauma informed approach to working with people with lived experience of abuse.
Report of the Working Group – Baseline Culture Assessment of the LGH
The working group presented a paper with a number of observations for discussion and consideration by the Panel.
The Panel recommended that future surveys of people and culture are designed within a strategic and operational framework that optimises engagement of staff. This would allow the LGH executive team and its frontline staff and managers to better understand and assess the organisational culture, both at a point in time and on a trend basis and provide a useful platform for designing and implementing meaningful improvements at LGH.
The intention of any survey, and how the survey results can be used, must be very clear to participants and staff must have a commitment that the feedback they are providing will be heard.
The Panel also agreed that developing effective ways of encouraging all staff to participate in people and culture surveys, including those that do not have ready access to computers in the workplace, is crucial to delivering meaningful results.
Reporting of Incidents and Concerns with a Child Safety Lens
A number of staff from the Department of Health joined the meeting to provide the Panel with information on the overarching framework, processes and systems relating to the reporting of incidents and concerns around child safety matters within Tasmanian Health.
The Panel heard specifically about:
- the function, purpose and application of the current Safety Reporting and Learning System (SRLS) 
- work underway to identify a replacement for the existing SRLS system which would incorporate more effective functioning for the reporting of child safety concerns.
Some senior managers joined in the discussion with the Panel about current issues in complaints and incident reporting at the Launceston General Hospital and what can be done to improve the reporting culture.
Members of the Panel, who are staff members, shared their experiences on the culture of reporting and use of the SRLS system at the LGH.
The Panel agreed to establish a working group with the Project Manager for the Child Safe Organisations Project to provide practical insights and input to the Project, and the design of the systems and processes which need to be implemented at hospital level. The working group will provide a report on their discussions at the next Panel meeting.
The next meeting of the Governance Advisory Panel is scheduled for 20 September 2022 and will be held in Launceston.
The Chief Executive Hospitals North / North-West and the Director LGH Operations will present on the LGH Organisational Structure, management and leadership roles and accountability frameworks.
The Panel will also continue its consideration of the reporting culture at LGH and practical ways to improve systems and processes for the reporting and management of adverse incidents and other patient safety issues. To support its consideration, the Panel will hear from the Project Manager for the Child Safe Organisations Project on proposed changes to support effective reporting and management of child safety concerns by, and within, the Tasmanian Health Service and its hospitals and health services, including reporting to the Tasmanian child protection authorities.
The Chief Medical Officer will also lead a discussion on reporting child safety and other concerns to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority, where they involve doctors, nurses or allied health professionals.
The report back of the Panel working group on reporting child safety concerns will inform the Panel’s deliberations, as will input from the Lived Experience: Expert Reference Group.
 The Safety Reporting and Learning System (SRLS) is a tool used by staff across the Department of Health to report, take action and learn from safety concerns and incidents in order to protect service users, the public and staff from unintended harm, damage or loss.