Policy and Stakeholder Support
“Successful management of stakeholder’s expectations and issues”
To achieve improved outcomes in the provision of Policy Advice and Stakeholder Support, as an organisation we will
- Participate in the development and implementation of the Justice Reform Agenda
- Progress Reconciliation to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people
- Pursue opportunities to inform and influence public opinion on criminal justice issues
- Influence relevant policy and legislation
- Pursue the replacement of the Women’s Prison
Inter-agency participation and cooperation
Delivery of timely and accurate information/reports/policy advice
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Action Plan
The Department, in response to Government and community expectations, collaborates with and assists other agencies and stakeholders to achieve the broader goals and strategies of the Criminal Justice System.
Legislation must be maintained and major projects coordinated and progressed to achieve the Justice Portfolio policy agenda.
The Department’s policies and procedures are developed and maintained to ensure they reflect not only the legislative and administrative environment, but also the expectations of its stakeholders.
The policy framework is critical to the Department’s performance, accountability and corporate governance. The framework translates strategic objectives and strategies into policy, standards and procedures, focusing on the delivery of quality services to meet the needs of offenders and stakeholders.
Key Achievements 2003-2004
During 2003-2004, the Department
- increased the number of trained Aboriginal people working with Aboriginal offenders
- continued to improve its data collection and Complaints Management Services
- improved processes to respond to Freedom of Information requests
- continued to provide representation and participated in a number of key forums across the Justice Portfolio including the Mental Health Impairment Implementation Reference Committee and the range of sub-groups attached to that forum that focus upon issues of mental impairment and intellectual disability
- continued with a pilot of Victim-Offender Mediation services
Key Objectives 2004-2005
During 2004-2005, the Department will
- continue to develop the departmental policy framework to ensure an integrated policy system that embodies the principles of Occupational Health Safety & Welfare and Risk Management
- contribute to and participate in forums and activities that progress the Justice Portfolio Strategic Directions
- continue to review processes and systems to improve services to support the victims of crime
- finalise the Correctional Services Act (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill
- work with Aboriginal staff, communities and organisations to progress reconciliation
Like every large organisation, the Department for Correctional Services has a requirement to:
- develop, implement and monitor policy;
- provide policy advice; and,
- services to stakeholders.
Departmental policies, standards and procedures are developed to reflect:
- the philosophies of the wider Criminal Justice System;
- the views of the Government, and the community;
- World’s Best Practice;
- the operational needs of the Department; and,
- available resources both financial and physical.
Stakeholders are consulted in the development and review of policy development.
The Chief Executive and the Director Strategic Services provide high level advice to the Minister, Members of Parliament and to the Ombudsman. In addition, the Department provides advice on policy issues to other stakeholders including:
- victims, who request information about prisoners and the Department’s policies;
- community members who request information about the Department’s policies and procedures;
- prisoners and relatives of prisoners on operational matters; and
- community members and prisoners seeking information pursuant to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Department responds to information requests from the media and it provides information to the community through the media and special events (see page 63).
Stakeholder Support (see page 64)
The Department has a number of stakeholders who require services and advice from the Department while others provide pre or post release services to offenders and prisoners.
Because of the importance to the correctional system of Aboriginal prisoners and offenders, their families and victims and the responsibility the Department has to Aboriginal staff, the interests of Aboriginal stakeholders are represented within the Department by the Aboriginal Services Unit (see 64).
Departmental policy is driven by:
- the Minister through Government priorities;
- the Justice Portfolio, through the Justice Portfolio Leadership Group;
- the Department; and,
Officers of the Strategic Services Division, in conjunction with Directors of appropriate Business Units, coordinate the facilitation and development of all departmental policy.
As part of its policy process, the Department has adopted a policy framework. The policy framework enables the Department to express its Business Unit requirements through a structure that delegate’s responsibility for achievement to appropriate operational levels. This is achieved by making explicit the expectations of results to Business Units and employees by corporate strategic planning, standard setting and performance monitoring. Business Units are responsible for service delivery.
The components of the Department’s policy framework are:
Service Specifications express the required standards of service and the minimum level of acceptable performance, enabling the development of performance agreements with internal/external service providers;
The Correctional Services Act (the Act) was re-written in 1982 and various amendments have been introduced since that time.
A bill has been prepared, the Correctional Services (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2004, which reflects more appropriately the work being done by the Department and also current correctional practice.
The Department is committed to providing quality advice as part of operational transparency. The Strategic Services Division provide this service to key stakeholders (see page 64). This Division also provides high level advice to interstate and overseas Justice authorities.
There is also a need for the provision of general information about the Department’s policies and procedures.
The main areas of the Department which satisfy this requirement are:
The Executive Services Unit provides a comprehensive administrative support service to the Chief Executive and Director of Strategic Services, and responds to requests for information from the Minister, Members of Parliament, the Ombudsman, prisoners and their families.
The Unit also provides administrative support to the Correctional Services Advisory Council.
The Policy and Legislation Section is comprised of the Complaints Management Services and Victim Support Unit.
The section provides services which include policy advice and policy development. The Unit is responsible for the Policy Framework, components which include:
- policy development;
- development of Service Specifications, System and Local Operating Procedures;
- implementation of policy by Business Units; and,
- performance monitoring.
The Complaints Management Service provides a step by step prisoner and offender grievance process aimed at achieving a satisfactory resolution at the first point of contact. This service includes the Prisoner Complaint telephone line, which provides advice, information, and appropriate referral services for prisoners.
During 2002-2003 the Unit received 457 complaints the majority of which were from prisoners. This number increased to 512 in 2003-2004.
The Policy and Legislation Section is also responsible for the provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) (see Appendix 4 page 125) and the Correctional Services Act 1982.
The Victim Services Unit promotes the rights and needs of victims of crime to demonstrate the Department’s commitment to restorative justice.
The number of victim registrations has continued to grow. As at 30th June 2004 there were 350 registered victims, an increase from the same time last year when there were 317.
The growth in registered victims has been consistent over the last few years and is expected to continue as the community’s awareness of victims’ rights increase. The Unit consults with government and non-government victim support agencies and departmental stakeholders to ensure that the rights of victims are upheld.
The Unit continues to administer the Victim Offender Mediation Pilot Project and works in partnership with Victim Support Service in this activity.
The Department takes a positive and pro-active position in dealing with the media and community organisations. The involvement of prisoners and offenders in Restorative Justice projects continues to attract media interest.
Internal communications via the Department’s quarterly magazine, Highlights in Corrections, was maintained while the public information web site, www.corrections.sa.gov.au, was regularly updated. People inquiring about the South Australian correctional system frequently access the site.
Stakeholders are individuals and groups in the community that affect or are affected by the operations of the Department. Stakeholders have an interest in whether the Department is delivering quality customer service and whether its customers are satisfied.
The Department’s key stakeholders include:
- Members of Parliament;
- agencies of the Justice Portfolio;
- Parole Board;
- Correctional Services Advisory Council/Community Services Advisory Committees;
- Victims Support Groups;
- members of the public;
- various Aboriginal groups;
- various prisoner welfare Agencies; and,
- other Government and non-Government agencies.
Support and services to stakeholders is provided by key senior staff through representation on working parties and at the Justice Leadership Group.
To ensure culturally appropriate services for the large numbers of Aboriginal prisoners many of the Department’s stakeholders are directly concerned with services for Aboriginal offenders. Major Aboriginal Stakeholders include:
- Aboriginal Services Division – Department of Human Services;
- Aboriginal Justice Consultants – Justice Strategy Unit of the Attorney-General’s Department;
- Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement;
- Aboriginal Prisoner and Offender Support Services; (APOSS)
- Aboriginal Education;
- Aboriginal Catholic Ministry;
- Nunkuwarrin Yunti;
- Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (AJAC);
- Aboriginal Education Unit of TAFE; and,
- Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council.
The Aboriginal Services Unit has been established to service the needs of Aboriginal stakeholders in the Department and monitor the Department’s implementation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991) (RCIADIC) recommendations.
The Unit is responsible for advising and developing the provision of culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal prisoners and offenders, and is a significant contributor to policy development for the management and rehabilitation of Indigenous offenders. It actively participates in the development of partnerships and support for Aboriginal community organisations and other Government Departments, in the provision of services for Aboriginal offenders.
Highlights for the Unit in 2003-2004 include:
- the establishment of the Karinga Women’s Release and Diversion Hostel;
- the appointment of three Senior Aboriginal Programs Officers to the Rehabilitation Programs Branch;
- the development of Aboriginal Community Supervision Agreements for APY Lands funerals; and,
- a Partnering Agreement with Aboriginal Prisoner and Offender Support Services (APOSS).
Karinga Women's Release and Diversion Hostel is a unique partnership between the Department and Aboriginal Hostels Ltd. providing culturally appropriate, safe, stable, transitional and supported accommodation for Indigenous women in contact with the criminal justice system.
The development of Karinga, including the position of Aboriginal Hostel Liaison Officer, has been assisted by funding from the Social Inclusion Unit.
Karinga has a resident Manager, a cook and cleaner and can accommodate 11 women with three on Home Detention. Karinga residents are supported by the Department’s case managers and community agency support workers, to settle into community living, access long-term accommodation and benefit from life skills programs and services.
Karinga Hostel is the only Indigenous Women's Release and Diversion Hostel operating in the country for Indigenous women offenders.
Three Senior Aboriginal Programs Officers have been appointed to the Rehabilitation Programs Branch to develop and deliver culturally appropriate programs for violent, Aboriginal and sex offenders. Their expertise as Aboriginal programs specialists will provide valuable support to the Rehabilitation team's success with Aboriginal offenders. In addition they are developing a cultural immersion pre-motivational program as a first step in the rehabilitation process for Aboriginal offenders.
The Department has entered into a Partnering Agreement with APOSS to better clarify and improve our mutual roles and service delivery to Aboriginal prisoners and offenders. Consistent with the spirit of the Partnering Agreement, the Unit supported the creation of a Housing Information and Referral Officer position for Aboriginal prisoners based in APOSS.
In recognition of the need for more culturally appropriate processes for funeral escorts for traditional prisoners, the Unit has developed Aboriginal Community Supervision Agreements with APY communities to supervise their community members who are prisoners and who are attending funerals on the APY Lands.
These agreements have been written in formal and Aboriginal English and have been negotiated with individual communities. Four APY Lands communities have signed the agreements and over a dozen community members have been identified for training as volunteer supervisors, in addition to training provided to the Aboriginal community.
A culturally appropriate training package has also been developed for Port Augusta custodial officers involved in escorts to the APY Lands. Once operational, funeral leave under these Agreements for Anangu prisoners will be more culturally sensitive and humane, whilst also meeting the Department's commitment to the RCIADIC recommendations.
To further the Department’s response to the RCIADIC’s recommendations, the Unit coordinates the Prevention of Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Forums, which are held every six weeks rotating around the Department’s prisons. The forum, chaired by the Department’s Chief Executive, provides the opportunity for Aboriginal prisoners to share concerns regarding their custody and for the Department to respond.