Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in New South Wales
The Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in New South Wales was established on 14 November 2007.
The New South Wales Governor commissioned the Hon James Wood AO QC to conduct an inquiry to determine what changes within the child protection system are required to cope with future levels of demand once the current reforms to that system are completed.
The Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW was provided to the Governor on 24 November 2008 and was released by the Government on the same day.
The Wood Report can be accessed here.
The Government’s action plan
The NSW Government welcomes the Report and will release an action plan in response in March 2009, aimed at reshaping the child protection system in NSW and making children safe.
A special unit within the Department of Premier and Cabinet has been established to co-ordinate the Government’s action plan.
As part of its work, the Department of Premier and Cabinet is leading an interagency Implementation Unit comprised of agencies concerned with the child protection system in NSW and the Wood Report’s Recommendations.
Consultation with stakeholders
Commissioner Wood consulted widely with stakeholders in the course of the Inquiry.
The Government is committed to ensuring that stakeholders and the general public are now given the opportunity to voice their response to the Wood Report.
If you would like to post a comment to be considered by the Government as it formulates an action plan in response to the Inquiry, please click here and follow the links.
The Minister for Community Services and DoCS Senior Executives met with key stakeholders on 25 November to outline the main recommendations in the Wood Report and outline future arrangements for stakeholder consultation.
This included the formation of:
- a forum for peaks to address high level policy and implementation issues (Child Protection Advisory Group)
- a forum representing DoCS-funded services with a focus on service system issues (Service System Advisory Group)
- a forum representing service user groups and carers to address matters relevant to those specific areas (Community and Carers Advisory Group).
The Minister advised that the three stakeholder forums would operate for a period of two years.
There was also discussion about forming small specialist skill working groups to address specific issues as and where needed.
This model is flexible – drawing in a wide range of stakeholders, catering for both high level discussion and decision-making and detailed specialist work.
The CPAG is chaired by the Minister for Community Services. The agenda and minutes of the meetings will be placed on the Department of Community Services website to better inform other stakeholders and the wider community about the work program and to enhance transparency.
The CPAG will meet monthly (or more often if required) until March 2009 when the whole of government action plan is completed and quarterly thereafter. The first meeting was held in December 2008.
Meetings for both the SSAG and CCAG will be held monthly and chaired by DoCS Director-General.
In addition, where there are tasks that require specialist expertise or skills, a group may be formed to draw in expertise. The emphasis will be on drawing in particular skills or experience, rather than organisational affiliation and the focus is on delivering an outcome within a short timeframe.
The first meeting for these forums is scheduled for January 2009.
It is intended that feedback from these forums will be directed back to DPC and the whole-of-government process via the DPC participants.