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 are standing items at all Corporate Executive, manager and staff meeting agendas.
In June 2022, the Commissioner completed the self-assessment checklist, Integrity in financial management, as supplied by the Public Sector Commission to help public authorities strengthen their approaches to integrity in financial management.
Internal Audit Committee
As another means of responding to the Public Sector Commission’s key actions for promoting integrity and helping prevent misconduct and corruption, the Commissioner has an Internal Audit Committee which is chaired by Jeremy Hubble, General Manager Corporate Services at Lotterywest. The Strategic Internal Audit Plan 2021−2024 was revised in 2022, 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 2021−22. A formal review of any identified corporate risks (e.g. human resources, integrity and conduct, ICT governance including cyber security and 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 her functions. There were no directions under Section 26 of the Act in 2021−22
Other financial disclosures
Board and Committee Remuneration
The Commissioner does not have any State Boards or Committees as defined in the Premier’s Circular 2021/18 – State Government Boards and Committees.
Employment and Industrial Relations
At 30 June 2022, the Commissioner for Children and Young People employed the equivalent to 16 full-time employees, which was a small decrease from the previous year. Two permanent officers have been on leave without pay following maternity leave.
Throughout the year the Commissioner welcomed several young people on work placements from the McCusker Foundation, and a participant in the Public Sector Commission’s Aboriginal Traineeship Program.
In March 2022, the average tenure for the Commissioner’s staff was 6.5 years, compared to 8.7 years for WA public sector entities. The proportion of staff working at the Commissioner’s office for less than five years was 46.7 per cent, compared to 45.7 per cent WA public sector wide.
Females comprised 86.7 per cent of the Commissioner’s workforce compared to 73.2 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 to 6) and the leadership capability profiles (level 7 to class 4) are also used as part of the performance appraisals.
Monies spent for professional development for the Commissioner’s staff was approximately $14,700 for the 2021−22 financial year, which was higher than the previous year due to increased opportunities to attend face to face professional development. All managers attended a project management course as a professional development activity. As part of the Commissioner’s focus on cultural awareness, all staff attended online Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week events. All staff have completed the Public Sector’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness resource.
There were no workers compensation claims in 2021–22, and no work-related injuries. The Commissioner’s office complies with the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and the 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.
Use of the Hazard Identification Checklist and quarterly inspections have continued in 2021–22; the latest inspection was held in April 2022. The results of these inspections are tabled at Corporate Executive meetings, and any findings or issues are 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 2022–2026 was revised and approved this financial year. This edition has been reviewed by the Youth Disability Advocacy Network of WA (YDAN). The Commissioner will continue to work with YDAN to ensure the needs of children and young people with disability are well-reflected in the Commissioner’s work. The plan is included as 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 in 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
- ethical and accountable decision making
- a family-friendly workplace.
Throughout 2021–22 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 was lodged in the current reporting period.
Compliance with the Western Australian 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, has 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’s Multicultural Plan 2021–2026 outlines the commitment and actions of the office to ensure that all WA children and young people, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, have the opportunity to participate equitably in every aspect of civic, social and economic environments. The Commissioner’s own policies, projects, research and consultations each aim to be culturally responsive and inclusive.
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. 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 in the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) are integrated into all office procedures and practices. These include:
- An Acknowledgement of Country is made in all speeches and meetings as well as in the banner of all Commissioner’s office related emails.
- 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.
- Since 2015, the Commissioner has sponsored the Reconciliation Week street banner project to promote understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This year’s sponsored banners were flown in Perth, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Geraldton.
- All staff participate in Aboriginal cultural awareness workshops.
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and Child Friendly Complaints Mechanisms
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 processes.
The Commissioner has readily accessible mechanisms for children and young people and their families or advocates to provide feedback and to make complaints that meet the expectations of this principle. In 2021–22, 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 Commissioner’s projects, activities or office.
Occupational safety, health and injury management
Active and continuous improvement in safety management practices at the Commissioner’s office demonstrates dedication to this aspect of office life by the Commissioner and her staff. 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 member to raise a concern.
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. Workplace assessments are undertaken by request of a staff member and recommendations are actioned in a timely manner.
There have been no critical incidents to report for the 2021–22 year.