Child Safe Governance Review - Terms of Reference
The Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings was established on 15 March 2021 by Order of the Governor of Tasmania, following an Independent Inquiry established at the request of the Department of Health on 22 October 2020.
The focus of the Commission is to inquire into the adequacy and appropriateness of the Tasmanian Government’s responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.
At the hearings in the week of 27 June 2022, evidence was provided by victim-survivors and staff. Hearings relating to the Department of Health continued on 4-5 July 2022.
This evidence will inform a Child Safe Governance Review of the Launceston General Hospital, Human Resources, and as relevant across the Department of Health.
Authority to establish
The Governance Review will be informed by the establishment of a Governance Advisory Panel which will be appointed under Section 13 of the Tasmanian Health Service Act 2018 to provide advice to the Secretary. An independent chair or independent co-chairs will be appointed to the Governance Advisory Panel.
The Governance Advisory Panel will include independent experts with qualifications in governance, child safety, hospital administration and human resources management.
Key stakeholders including unions and staff will also be invited to participate as members in the Governance Advisory Panel and to participate in the Governance Review more generally.
The Review will examine the governance of the Launceston General Hospital and Human Resources, in particular with a focus upon the handling of serious misconduct such as institutional child sexual abuse.
The Governance Review will specifically examine the governance structure of the Launceston General Hospital and Human Resources through a child safety lens, to ensure public confidence in the safety of the service and make recommendations as to changes required to improve:
- Organisational structure
- Management and leadership including roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
- Implementation of mandatory training in leadership and management, through the One Health Cultural Improvement Program, including a focus on accountable leadership and management (already underway)
- Implementation of mandatory training in Child Safety, including grooming behaviours and mandatory notifications, through the Child Safe Organisation Project (already underway)
- Implementation of the Department of Health Child Safe Organisation Framework and establishment of the Child Safety Panel (already underway)
- Establishment of an independent Central Complaints Management Unit in the Office of the Secretary, responsible for the review of all reports of inappropriate behaviour or misconduct by an employee, in particular child sexual abuse or grooming behaviours, separate from Human Resources
- Policies, procedures, protocols, Quality and safety frameworks, systems and data as they relate to the above.
The governance review will consider changes currently in progress or implemented since 2019 to strengthen governance and protect the safety of children in our health service, including the work underway in the Department’s Child Safe Organisation Project. This includes the continued implementation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and associated child safe standards to provide all Department of Health staff, volunteers and contractors, the tools to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all children.
The Review will complement the recently established One Health Cultural Improvement Program that is focussed on improving the following critical cultural change priorities:
- Leadership and Accountability
- Leadership and Management Capability
- Workplace Values and Behaviours
- Health, Safety and Wellbeing
- Systems and processes to help reinforce our One Health Cultural Improvement Program.
The Governance Review team will report its recommendations to the Secretary, Department of Health by November 2022.
The Governance Review may also extend its recommended child safety organisational improvements if relevant to the organisational structure of all public Tasmanian health services.
The Secretary will personally lead the implementation of the recommendations, with a commitment that the change will be implemented across the entire Department of Health, including all health services and corporate areas.