How consistently are the Agency’s own policies, processes and practices being followed?
For the two agencies who had disclosures, Open Home Foundation is applying its policies and processes consistently and Oranga Tamariki is applying its policies and processes some of the time.
Open Home Foundation – Open Home Foundation described several assurance processes that would suggest it reviews consistency between policy and practice. The information provided also demonstrated compliance with its policies when a disclosure of abuse or neglect is made.
Dingwall Trust – Dingwall Trust also provided information on assurance processes including that a specific manager oversees the practice in relation to the young people in its custody, providing an additional layer of assurance.
Barnardos – Barnardos described several assurance processes in place to support consistency of practice including the accreditation assessment mentioned in the response to question two.
Oranga Tamariki – Oranga Tamariki is partially compliant and is not consistently following its policies, processes and practices.
Oranga Tamariki advised, as part of its preparation for commencement and implementation of the NCS Regulations, it required each Services for Children and Families, Youth Justice and Residences (sites) to complete a self-assessment of their readiness. This process was completed between January and March 2019, to inform any planning and support requirements for 1 July 2019, when the NCS Regulations came into effect.
The Monitor recognises that self-assessment is only one part of a quality assurance process and that it has limitations, for example subjectivity. Nevertheless, it has value in building visibility of the required practice. It is an opportunity for staff to look critically at their own practice and seek comment from stakeholders and service users on their work. It provides a structured way for sites to focus on areas of improvement while recognising areas of practice excellence. It is relevant to note that while the self-assessment process is valuable, it is not an assessment of compliance with the NCS Regulations. The information is useful for providing the context within which Oranga Tamariki was preparing for the commencement of the NCS Regulations and the support it provided to its NGO providers to prepare. It also supports monitoring of compliance with regulation 86 (which relates to self-monitoring) in so far as it applies to the two regulations being monitored.
Oranga Tamariki also provided the self-assessment process to its contracted NGOs to support their planning for the NCS Regulations. For those agencies included in this report, we have received information from each of them on this process and their information is reflected in this report.
The information provided by Oranga Tamariki stated that the response rate for the 2019 self-assessment process was excellent, with completed assessments received for all Services for Children and Families sites and Youth Justice sites and six out of eight residences. Sites rated themselves at the degree to which they met various aspects of the Care Standards using the following scale:
- Almost always: we consistently achieve this in our practice with tamariki
- Most of the time: we achieve this for more than half of the tamariki we work with
- Some of the time: we achieve this for between one quarter and half of the tamariki we work with
- Rarely: we achieve this for less than one quarter of the tamariki we work with
- Almost never: we almost never practice in this way with the tamariki we work with.
The information provided states that the Services for Children and Families sites considered themselves to be meeting the care standards “almost always” or “most of the time” in 55% of the responses. For Youth Justice sites this was true in 65% of responses. It is noted by the Monitor that this is in relation to all the care standards and is not specific to regulations 69 and 85 11.
The information provided stated that while sites identified improvement opportunities across all five parts of the Care Standards, supporting tamariki during transition was the area of care practice that sites assessed as least consistently meeting requirements. Part 4 (supporting tamariki in care to participate in decision making) was also identified as an area for improvement. Youth Justice sites identified a particular strength in meeting the requirements of Part 2 of the Care Standards (support to meet the needs of tamariki) and residences considered Part 3 (caregiver and care placement assessment and support) as an area of particular strength.
The information provided also outlined provisions in the Care Standards where both Services for Children and Families sites and Youth Justice sites consistently identified challenges in:
- Making reasonable efforts to ensure tamariki in care have access to practitioners with experience in Māori models of health
- Enabling tamariki to provide feedback or complaints
- Sharing assessments with tamaiti and whānau and including the views of hapū, iwi, family group in assessments.
Provisions in the Care Standards that sites identified as being areas of strength include acting when there are concerns about risk of harm to tamariki and meeting Care Standards requirements for assessment of caregiver households.
The Monitor notes the information provided shows site action plans will form a core document for subsequent monitoring activity and currently there is work underway with the Oranga Tamariki Quality Practice Tool and site Practice Checks, including triangulation of all monitoring activity.
The Monitor acknowledges the potential limitations of subjective self-assessments in this context and their intended use for improvement planning and states that it is still an important aspect of overall assurance processes that it is interested in building a picture of over time.
Oranga Tamariki informed the Monitor that the self-assessments will be repeated between January and March 2020 which will provide a view of progression post implementation and training.
Oranga Tamariki provided information to the Monitor about its continued development of its internal monitoring processes in line with regulation 86 with three key processes being implemented.
Future Focus: Results from the repeated self-assessment being completed by Oranga Tamariki in Jan-March 2020 will be required and included in the Monitor’s June 2020 report.
Firstly, a Practice Check is being introduced as the primary source of objective information on the strengths and areas of improvement for an individual site. It provides a broader context in which the site operates. The inclusion of voices of tamariki, whānau and caregivers is a core component of this assurance approach. The first check is being completed between October and December 2019 and a report will be available for the Monitor’s next report in June 2020. The practice check is on a three yearly cycle to cover every site, including youth justice and will be completed by the Professional Practice Group in Oranga Tamariki.
Secondly, a newly developed Quality Practice Tool will be the primary mechanism for routine monitoring of the trends and themes. An initial check was completed in September 2019 with the first report due in November 2019, so the data was unable to be included in this report.
Future Focus: Quality Practice Tool and site Practice Checks reporting will be required from Oranga Tamariki and will be included in the Monitor’s June 2020 report.
Thirdly, the Professional Practice Group is introducing a case-file analysis process that will focus on a limited set of priority aspects of practice quality. The purpose is twofold, to test and advise on the validity of practice leader led assessments of practice with the quality practice tool and to create information that is sufficiently robust and regular for external reporting purposes.
11. Information Response, Oranga Tamariki, August and October 2019