Disclosures and legal compliance
Integrity Strategy for WA Public Authorities 2020–2023
To meet the Public Sector Commission’s requirement to implement the Integrity Strategy for WA Public Authorities 2020–2023, Corporate Executive and managers reflected on the office’s policies, procedures and processes. The status of the Commissioner’s approach to integrity is assessed using the Integrity Snapshot Tool provided by the Public Sector Commission. Integrity is one of the Commissioner’s eight values which are Respect, Honesty, Inclusivity, Creativity, Positivity, Determination, Independence, and Integrity.
Integrity and conduct is a standing item on all corporate executive, manager and staff meeting agendas.
In May 2021, the Commissioner completed the self-assessment checklist, Integrity in financial management, as supplied by the Public Sector Commission, which was presented to the Internal Audit Committee.
Internal Audit Committee
The Commissioner has an Internal Audit Committee as another means of responding to the Public Sector Commission’s key actions for improving areas to promote integrity and help prevent misconduct and corruption. Jeremy Hubble, General Manager Corporate Services at Lotterywest has continued as the independent Chair of the Commissioner’s Internal Audit Committee. The Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2021−2024 was revised in 2021, setting out a range of internal audits for the next four years.
The management of risk and associated risk mitigation strategies continued to be a focus in 2020−21. A formal review of any identified corporate risks (e.g. human resources, integrity and conduct, ICT governance including cyber security, child safety) is incorporated into the monthly Corporate Executive meeting agenda and in all templates for project management. The Corporate Risk Register is reviewed by Corporate Executive as a standing item on the agenda each quarter.
A monthly financial management report is provided for endorsement at all Corporate Executive meetings. The Financial Management Manual is constantly reviewed and updated by the Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer to ensure currency with legislative and policy changes.
Policies and procedures
The Commissioner’s policies and procedures are reviewed, updated regularly and new policies are added to the Corporate Governance Framework once endorsed by Corporate Executive.
Except under Section 26 of the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006, the Commissioner is not subject to direction by a Minister or any other person in the performance of his functions.
There were no directions under Section 26 of the Act in 2020−21.
Other financial disclosures
Board and Committee Remuneration
The Commissioner does not have any State Boards or Committees as defined in the Premier’s Circular 2010/02 – State Government Boards and Committees.
Employment and Industrial Relations
At 30 June 2021, the Commissioner for Children and Young People employed equivalent to 17 full-time employees (FTE), which was a small increase from the previous year. One permanent officer was on leave without pay following maternity leave.
Throughout the year, the Commissioner welcomed several young people on work placements from South Metropolitan TAFE, Notre Dame University and the McCusker Foundation, as well as a participant in the Public Sector Commission’s Aboriginal Traineeship Program.
In March 2021, the average tenure for the Commissioner’s staff was 4.1 years, compared to 9.0 years for WA public sector entities. The proportion of staff working at the Commissioner’s office for less than five years was 57.1 per cent, compared to 46.7 per cent WA public sector wide.
Females comprised 85 per cent of the Commissioner’s workforce compared to 72.7 per cent within the WA public sector entities.
The Commissioner’s office does not have any employees working in regional areas.
Staff training and development continues to be a high priority for the Commissioner. All staff participate in Performance Appraisal and Development sessions with their line manager at the beginning of the year. The Performance Appraisal and Development sessions provide a framework for planning, developing, reviewing and appraising the work of individual staff members with reference to the Commissioner’s strategic directions and annual business/operational plan. The public sector’s Capability Frameworks, Capability profile: levels 1–6 and the Leadership Capability profiles (level 7 to class 4) are also used as part of the appraisal process.
Monies spent for professional development for the Commissioner’s staff was approximately $8,270 for the 2020−21 financial year, which was less than the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All Corporate Executive and managers attended a Contract Management Essentials course as professional development. As part of the Commissioner’s focus on cultural awareness, all staff were offered cultural and religious information sheets and took part in a tour of Yagan Square to learn about the history of the Whadjuk land and Noongar Aboriginal culture and a presentation on the Ngulluk Koolunga Ngulluk Koort program.
A St Johns defibrillator training course was offered to staff as part of the Commissioner’s emphasis on workplace health and safety.
There were no worker’s compensation claims in 2010–21, and no work-related injuries. The Commissioner’s office complies with the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular 2012/05 and would ensure that, should there be any work-related injuries, they would be managed and reported in accordance with these requirements.
The Hazard Identification Checklist and quarterly inspections have continued during 2020–21 with the latest inspection being held in April 2021. The results of these inspections are tabled at Corporate Executive meetings, and any findings or issues addressed.
The Commissioner has no governance disclosures to make.
Contracts with Senior Officers
At the date of reporting, no senior officers, or firms of which senior officers are members, or entities in which senior officers have substantial interests, had any interests in existing or proposed contracts with the Commissioner for Children and Young People other than normal contracts of employment of service.
Other legal requirements
Section 175ZE of the Electoral Act 1907 requires public agencies to report details of expenditure to organisations providing services in relation to advertising, market research, polling, direct mail and media advertising. The agency has not incurred expenditure of this nature.
Disability access and inclusion plan
The Commissioner’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2021–2025 has been developed to demonstrate best practice and ensure children and young people with disability have equal opportunity to engage with the programs, services and facilities of the Commissioner’s office. It forms part of the Commissioner’s standard induction information, performance appraisals for all staff, and is available in the records management system of the office and on the website.
Compliance with Public Sector Standards and ethical codes
The Commissioner has a strong commitment to promoting integrity in official conduct and is committed to achieving high standards of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Public Sector Standards, the Western Australian Public Sector Code of Ethics and the office’s Code of Conduct. The Corporate Executive, which includes the Commissioner, leads and promotes these standards within the office.
The office has policies, procedures and processes that support the application of:
- the WA Public Sector Code of Ethics
- the WA Public Sector Standards in Human Resources Management
- the Commissioner’s Code of Conduct and Management of Conflict of Interest Policy
- a family-friendly workplace.
During 2020–21, the Commissioner held regular staff meetings where any matters relevant to Public Sector Standards could be raised and discussed.
Compliance with Public Sector Standards
The Commissioner has established procedures to ensure compliance with s31(1) of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.
No Breach of Standard Claims were lodged in the current reporting period.
Compliance with the Western Australia Public Sector Code of Ethics
There has been no evidence of non-compliance with the Public Sector Code of Ethics.
Compliance with the Commissioner for Children and Young People Code of Conduct
There has been no evidence of non-compliance with the Commissioner’s Code of Conduct. There were no public interest disclosures about the activities of the Commissioner’s office.
The Recordkeeping Plan for the Commissioner’s office was approved by the State Records Commission in August 2019. Recordkeeping forms part of the induction process for new staff members and staff are regularly updated and reminded about their recordkeeping responsibilities by email.
Government policy requirements
WA Multicultural Policy Framework
The Commissioner supports an inclusive and harmonious society where everyone, especially children and young people, have a strong sense of belonging, where they can participate and contribute fully in all aspects of life, and can achieve their goals.
The Commissioner has a legislative requirement to give priority to, and have a special regard for, the interests and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and children and young people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged for any reason.
The Commissioner and his staff are committed to ensuring that all WA children and young people, including those from culturally diverse backgrounds, have the opportunity to participate equitably in every aspect of civic, social and economic environments.
The WA Multicultural Policy Framework has three policy priority areas that agencies are required to report on annually: Harmonious and inclusive communities; Culturally responsive policies, programs and services; and Economic, social, cultural, civic and political participation. The work of the Commissioner is aligned with these priority areas.
In 2020–21, the following activities were undertaken to support harmonious and inclusive communities:
- The Commissioner’s office has an ongoing commitment to ensure that the image library contains photographs of WA children and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CaLD backgrounds. Throughout the year, these images were used in the Commissioner’s publications, presentations and website. Similarly, the Commissioner ensured diversity was represented in all videos created by the office (e.g. Children’s Week, living environment, National Office for Child Safety resources).
- CaLD children and young people are a priority area in the Commissioner’s Strategic Directions 2021–2026, which is distributed to stakeholders in hard copy and available online.
- Regular celebrations of multicultural events such as Harmony Week took place within the office.
- All job advertisements indicated that the office recognises, values and embraces the diversity of the WA community, including the differences in culture, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender identity, age, abilities and life experiences, and that the organisation is committed to providing an inclusive and respectful workplace for all staff. Job advertisements encouraged applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply for all vacancies and were listed on the Aboriginal services jobs board as well as the JobsWA website.
- The relocation of the Commissioner’s office to Albert Facey House provided an opportunity for refurbishment. New photographs of children and young people from different cultural backgrounds, metropolitan and regional areas are displayed around the office and on pull up banners.
The following activities were undertaken to support culturally responsive policies, programs and services:
- 1% or 2,463 children and young people (aged 8 to 18) who speak a language other than English at home provided their views on their health and wellbeing through the Speaking Out Survey 2021.The survey was conducted across 95 schools with a total of 16,413 children and young people consulted.
- Approximately 9.0% or 1,300 children and young people (aged 8 to 18) who participated in the Speaking Out Survey 2021 were born outside of Australia in a non-English speaking country.
- To improve the accessibility of information relating to the Speaking Out Survey 2021 for CaLD parents, parent and carer information sheets were translated into Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesian, Afrikaans, Dari (Fari), Thai, Hindi and Hazara languages.
- The Commissioner worked collaboratively with the Wyndham Youth Aboriginal Corporation to develop and deliver a culturally inclusive training program focused on Aboriginal community research. A similar program was conducted with young people from Roebourne.
The following activities were undertaken to support economic, social, cultural, civic and political participation:
- Almost all of the office stationery was ordered from a Supply Nation certified majority owned and operated indigenous business.
Substantive equality aims to achieve equitable outcomes for all Western Australians, as far as possible. The Commissioner represents and advocates on behalf of children and young people under the age of 18 years in WA. The Commissioner is required to have special regard for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and other vulnerable children and young people, and the work of the office wholeheartedly supports substantive equality for these citizens.
Reconciliation Action Plan
All work undertaken by the Commissioner is underpinned by the legislative requirement to have special regard for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, which ensures that the principles identified within the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) are integrated into all office procedures and practices. These include:
- Acknowledgement of Country in all speeches.
- A video featuring WA Aboriginal children and young people speaking about the importance of Country and culture is played at all events hosted by the Commissioner and in the Commissioner’s presentations where possible.
- In planning regional visits, the Commissioner respects cultural authority and requests permission from Elders to visit communities and engage with their young people.
- All submissions to the Corporate Executive are reviewed to consider and identify any implications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
- Any consultations conducted by or on behalf of the Commissioner for Children and Young People must include young Aboriginal people or their representatives where appropriate.
- All staff participate in Aboriginal cultural awareness workshops.
Occupational safety, health and injury management
Active and continuous improvement in safety management practices at the Commissioner’s office demonstrates the Commissioner and staff’s dedication to this aspect of office life. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic when some staff worked off-site.
Occupational safety and health is a standing item on the monthly Corporate Executive meeting agenda and on the monthly staff meeting agenda. This enables any staff to raise a concern if required. The Commissioner has a dedicated occupational safety and health staff representative who conducts Workplace Safety Hazard Inspections every three months, which are tabled at Corporate Executive meetings for notation.
All workstations have been provided with a sit-stand desk attachment.
There have been no critical incidents to report for the 2020–21 year.
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and Child Friendly Complaints Mechanisms
In February 2019, the Council of Australian Governments, including the Premier of WA, endorsed the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations for adoption and application throughout all relevant sectors and organisations in child-related work.
The Commissioner comprehensively reviewed and evaluated the child safe strategies across his office and in the team's work with children and young people in 2016 and 2019, and has in place strategies for continuous improvement as per National Principle Nine, including feedback from children and young people, parents and stakeholders involved with the team.
The Commissioner has comprehensive child safe strategies in place, including a structured approach to risk management to clearly identify, analyse, evaluate and implement mechanisms to eliminate or mitigate identified risks to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in all work, consultations, advisory committees and in the community.
National Principle Six details the implementation of child friendly complaints process. The Commissioner has readily accessible mechanisms for children and young people and their families/advocates to provide feedback and to make complaints that meet the expectations of this principle.
In 2020–21, feedback from children and young people was proactively sought in every consultation activity and in the Speaking Out Survey. No complaints were made by children and young people or adults about the Commissioners projects, activities or office.