Describe how practice is being enhanced in relation to continuous improvement activities.
This question applies both to regulation 69 and regulation 86. Regulation 86 requires each agency to monitor its own compliance with the NCS Regulations as well as having systems in place for continuous improvement. The Monitor’s December 2019 report highlighted the need for “evidence of improvement processes” as a future focus point. Agencies were asked to provide associated analysis, if any, of self-assessment work completed in relation to regulation 69.
The process information provided by each of the agencies shows compliance with regulation 86.
Open Home Foundation
Open Home Foundation provided a detailed account of its assurance process regarding regulation 69. It includes the oversight of several senior roles across each stage of the process. Open Home Foundation closely monitors each case and if any gaps become apparent as part of this process, it would review the policy and process.
Dingwall Trust reported that it did not receive any allegations of risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect in this reporting period.
Dingwall Trust previously reported that its self-assessment identified the need for stronger internal processes. In response to this, it will implement a Quality and Risk Committee as part of the Incident Reporting process.
Dingwall Trust has also been in discussion with Oranga Tamariki to confirm how both agencies are working together when dealing with an abuse allegation. Dingwall Trust noted the need for ongoing clarity and communication between the two agencies.
Barnardos reported it did not receive any allegations of risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect in this reporting period.
Barnardos undertook a review of all serious incidents over the last 12 months to identify areas of improvement. Barnardos has reported that the following recommendations have been completed.
- Updating the client management system to provide national oversight of all child protection incidents, serious incidents and behaviours of concern. This will assist Barnardos to track patterns and trends, which in turn feeds into continuous practice improvement.
- Supporting staff to transfer all paper-based records to the client management system.
- Consolidation of the Serious Incident Review process and tools to support a nationally consistent approach.
- Recruitment of two new leadership roles to support the strategic implementation of continuous improvements identified by Barnardos’ Quality Improvement Process.
Oranga Tamariki reported that it has made improvements in several areas.
It engaged with Open Home, Dingwall Trust and Barnardos to confirm that there is a shared and agreed understanding of roles and responsibilities in relation to regulation 69. Oranga Tamariki reported that this work will continue in the future to include all partners and iwi organisations who provide care for tamariki in the custody of Oranga Tamariki.
Individual practice conversations, about responding to allegations of risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect of children in care, continue with sites on a regular basis by the SoCiC Unit, which is responsible for the assurance of regulation 69. Oranga Tamariki reported that the SoCiC Unit has identified individual sites and regions that require additional support. It is providing these sites with direct coaching to improve consistency in responding to allegations of harm for children in care and ensuring a timely and comprehensive response that is reflected in recording.
The SoCiC Unit staff confirmed this when interviewed by the Monitor. Staff said the team systematically review all the information recorded in relation to an allegation of harm that has resulted in a finding. This review includes an analysis of all key decision-points, as well as an assessment of the accuracy of the information recorded. The information is examined and analysed, and feedback is discussed with the relevant social workers, their supervisors, and practice leaders as appropriate. These discussions provide opportunities to strengthen practice and highlight areas where additional support and guidance may be required.
The SoCiC Unit communicates practice insights to the relevant teams within National Office to effect change in relation to policies, procedures and guidelines.
The SoCiC Unit described a moderation process that supports consistency of review and reporting across the work of the team. The SoCiC Unit reported that site staff respond positively to its input and contact with the Unit is now being initiated by site staff seeking information and advice.
Oranga Tamariki reported that engagement with practice leaders at all sites continues on a regular basis to ensure that the areas of practice identified as not fully compliant with regulation 69 are being prioritised.