V.02.Res.04 Members of Parliament visits
V.02.R04.01 Notification of visit by member of Parliament
- Section 161 of the Corrections Act 2004 provides for members of Parliament to enter a prison at any time to examine the prison and the condition of the prisoners.
- On receiving a request or notice to visit from a member of Parliament or their agent, prison directors are to immediately contact Corporate Affairs for any pre-visit briefing matters that may need to be addressed. A post visit report is to be sent to Corporate Affairs.
- Media participation with prison visits by members of Parliament or their agents may only be permitted with the approval of the National Office Manager Corporate Affairs.
V.02.R04.02 Visit by member of Parliament
- Members of Parliament and their agents are to be accompanied by a prison director, and the regional commissioner or another manager at all times designated by the regional commissioner / National Commissioner when they are on prison property.
- Any interview between a member of Parliament and a prisoner must be held out of hearing of any other person unless the member of Parliament or the prisoner asks for a staff member to be present.
- In dealing with members of Parliament, staff will first and foremost have regard to the Chief Executive’s legal obligation under section 56(3) of the State Sector Act 1988, as reiterated in the Department of Corrections Code of Conduct 1997, to ensure that all employees maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest. In particular, staff should:
- fulfil their lawful obligations to Government with professionalism and integrity
- ensure that any actions or statements made you make are consistent with the Public Service’s obligations to service the Government of the day in a politically neutral way
- accommodate positive interaction by:
- being professional, helpful and courteous
- providing information where appropriate and possible
- acting promptly to process any enquires and within their competence
- maintaining the neutrality required of a public servant.
- responding to questions on day-to-day operational practice as they are able to and referring any questions relating to operational policy or that they are unsure about to their manager to answer.
- In general, prison staff must be careful not to:
- talk about advice given to the Minister
- criticise (or offer alternatives to) a proposed or existing Government policy or department programme
- express personal views
- make a personal attack on the Minister, colleague or other public sector agencies.
- Staff are expected to demonstrate commitment to the vision, values and goals of the Department when providing services to support members of Parliament visits to prisons, or when dealing with the media, or with members of the public.
- "Off the record” information or opinion is not to be offered to members of Parliament or their agents visiting prisons.
V.02.R04.03 Visit by member of Parliament’s agent
Agents of members of Parliament are not entitled to enter prisons without the permission of the regional commissioner / National Commissioner, but are to be accorded the same status as other statutory visitors.