Implementation of Recommendations of the Nyland Royal Commission

09 September 2016

The Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) and the Public Service Association (PSA) have recently established regular fortnightly meetings to advise and discuss issues following the publication of the Royal Commission Report, including the impact on staff and the proposed implementation of the recommendations.

PSA Industrial Officers and PSA staff representatives meet with DECD Officers. There is a lot of information for members to read or be aware of. Reading the 260 Recommendations and understanding these is huge task, let alone reading the whole report.

The PSA recommends that worksites would benefit from members allocating various parts of the reports between colleagues to read and familiarise themselves with the report.

At the last meeting held on 31 August 2016, the attached document from the Intranet was tabled. This is available to all DECD members on the Intranet.

This advises of the 28 Recommendations which have been accepted for initial implementation and the process of implementation which is in various stages.

This document also advises through whom the implementation occurs.

  1. The Attorney General's Department (AGD) is leading the SA Government response through a Royal Commission Response Unit.

  2. Families SA has established a Royal Commission Practice Advisory Group to provide advice to the AGD Royal Commission Response Unit about practice implications.

It is advised in this document that if employees wish to be a contributor, they advise their Assistant Director of their particular area of interest.

Where the PSA has particular concerns or comments to make, the PSA will raise these through one of the various forums the PSA is involved in including PSA meetings with Ministers and with Chief Executives.

The PSA has expressed its awareness and concerns that as well as these changes needing to be made, members are continuing their work of looking after and protecting the most vulnerable children in South Australia.

The Nyland Report acknowledges the difficulties for staff

However, the greatest challenge was trying to find a way to fix a system in disarray. From the outset of this Commission it was obvious that workers undertaking the difficult business of child protection felt undervalued, under-resourced and overwhelmed by a system which lacked the capacity to respond appropriately to children in need of care and protection. At the same time, I was impressed by the enormous goodwill and enthusiasm for change demonstrated by the many workers and other people who came forward and shared with me their concerns, thoughts and suggestions about creating a better system for the vulnerable children and young people of our community.

Regrettably, there is no quick fix to the many problems of the child protection system in this state. Some matters require urgent attention, such as the issues surrounding children in residential care, some matters need to be the subject of ongoing discussion and debate, and some matters require long-term planning.”