What progress has the Agency made in implementing and monitoring regulations 69 and 85? What has gone well and what are the issues or challenges?
The agencies have made progress in implementing and monitoring regulations 69 and 85. All agencies have recognised the additional work required to meet requirements and provide evidence through self-monitoring that they are meeting their statutory obligations.
All the agencies have provided information on their ongoing work plans to ensure adherence with the NCS Regulations and to improve the quality of their practice, which should lead to enhanced wellbeing for the children and young people in their care.
Open Home Foundation – Open Home Foundation advised that it has amended its case management system to reflect the information required and in line with colleagues also recognises the resource required to make these changes.
Oranga Tamariki – Oranga Tamariki made an investment in establishing the SoCiC Unit in March 2018 and has spent considerable time developing its self-monitoring requirements as required under regulation 86 of the NCS Regulations. It also informed the Monitor that it has dedicated resource to providing guidance and new service specifications for the s396 care agencies.
Oranga Tamariki provided the Monitor with its publicly available reports on “The Safety of Children in Care, prepared by the SoCiC Unit, Oranga Tamariki for the period beginning 1 July 2018 to June 2019”. As the annual report (including quarter four) was not available at the time of preparing this report, Oranga Tamariki provided an embargoed copy of the quarter four data on 6 December 2019. The annual report is due for publication in mid December 2019. It is likely to have alterations to figures that have since been reviewed by the SoCiC Unit, therefore the figures may differ from those shown in this report.
The information provided from 1 July 2018 to 31 March 2019 is publicly available on the Oranga Tamariki website. The annual report and data for 1 April to 30 June 2019 will be available on the website once published by Oranga Tamariki. The data on the first quarter of 2019/20, that is the period of this report 1 July to 30 September 2019, is not publicly available information and is required to be provided to the Monitor under the NCS Regulations.
Oranga Tamariki informed the Monitor that the SoCiC Unit “was established to primarily implement a new measurement approach…Fully understanding this data will better enable us to focus our efforts on improving practice, supports and services for children, young people in care and their whānau and caregivers.
Given the timeframes of this report the data was provided in advance of a full analysis. This analysis is necessary to fully understand the practice context in order to inform targeted actions to improve performance.”
The SoCiC Unit does not report on trends from quarterly data as it is recognised that findings data can peak exceptionally due to a handful of isolated incidents that, for example could reflect a large sibling group experiencing a number of harm types by multiple alleged abusers.
Oranga Tamariki informed the Monitor that its annual report will provide a more fulsome analysis of the first year of reporting. By collecting a series of data sets that relate to the same measure across quarters, Oranga Tamariki can track trends within harm incidents for children and young people in their care. At this stage the Monitor is unable to do any extensive comparative analysis given only overview findings have been requested. For the next round of reporting the Monitor will request a breakdown of information for each individual child or young person with a record of harm. This will allow the Monitor to draw insights across different information streams.
The Monitor also notes and comments that trends and patterns over time should be able to be drawn upon as data and information from a variety of sources analysed over time provide rich insight into areas that may require targeted or national intervention approaches. The Monitor expects to see analysis of this nature as the Oranga Tamariki operating model, assurance and reporting approaches mature.
The data for the 18/19 year has enabled comparison with the current reporting period for this report, 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019. This focuses on the number of findings, type of finding and where the incident occurred.
Looking at higher reported numbers in comparison with total findings allows the SoCiC Unit to identify areas of concern. From the data provided from Oranga Tamariki for the 2018-2019 reporting period, comparing with the period of this report, it appears that the same concerns exist in this quarter. The number of findings across all quarters vary and there is no particular pattern or trend. It does appear however, that the total number of findings have increased every quarter since 30 September 2018.
The data also highlights that those under the age of ten are more likely to have a finding of neglect or emotional harm and those over ten are more likely to have a finding of physical or sexual harm.
This data, however, cannot be used to draw any conclusions given it is only representative of one quarter and could be an outlier when looking at the data over a longer period. It does demonstrate the ability the SoCiC Unit has to collect and analyse this type of data over a longer period.
After a number of reporting periods the data being collected should allow for targeted intervention.
Future Focus: The Monitor will expect to see analysis and targeted or national interventions from Oranga Tamariki that respond to the trend information from the reporting from the SoCiC Unit.