Risk Management

The Department recognises that risk management is an integral component of its operations. Risk management is the ongoing requirement to identify and address risk that may impact on the achievement of objectives and the delivery of services.

Risk Management Overview

A risk management framework was implemented across the Department in 2001. A key objective since then has been to ensure the fundamentals of the framework are firmly incorporated into management practices. The Department’s risk management framework is based on the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZ 4360:1999 Risk Management, which has recently been updated by AS/NZ 4360:2004. The Department is assessing its risk management framework against the revised standard.

The risk management framework is overseen by the Department’s Assurance Board, which comprises the Chief Executive and external appointees. The Department also operates a number of separate control mechanisms, including the Internal Audit and Prison Inspectorate functions within the Strategic Services Group, peer review of processes within the Public Prisons Service and an internal control framework.

Departmental Risks and Uncertainties

Throughout 2004/05, the Department was under constant pressure because the increasing demand for prisoner beds at times exceeded the Department’s 96 percent maximum operational capacity across almost all of its correctional facilities. By way of long-term risk mitigation, the Department implemented a building programme to accommodate the increased numbers of prisoners. In the short term, the Department employed risk mitigating strategies by using police and court cells to accommodate transitioning remand and sentenced prisoners temporarily and instituted doublebunking where possible in existing facilities. The ongoing uncertainty for the Department is the continued effective management of increasing prisoner numbers in the short-term whilst completing construction and commissioning of new correctional facilities in the medium term. Compounding this uncertainty is the accurate forecasting of future numbers of prisoners in the light of increased police clearance rates and a 25 percent increase in the number of sentences of less than six months being imposed in preference to non-custodial sentences.

Increased prisoner numbers challenged departmental resources and increased the risk of rehabilitative interventions not meeting the objective of reducing re-offending. This risk is primarily realised in the event of noncompliance with assessment and sentence management processes for short-serving prisoners. For longerserving prisoners, the risk for the Department resides in rehabilitative programmes and interventions being delivered at too low a level and not targeting the offenders’ most prevalent criminogenic needs to impact positively upon reducing re-offending. The current and developmental risk mitigation strategies being undertaken by the Department involve improved induction processes, reviews of assessment methodologies, data measurement methodologies, targeting and programme delivery strategies, criminogenic programmes, and improving operational training and delivery. In common with overseas corrections jurisdictions, the Department shares an uncertainty that mitigation strategies aimed at ensuring opportune and effective rehabilitative interventions, require research, measurement and evaluation and are difficult to deliver.

The management of high-risk offenders presented a range of issues, particularly in respect of those released back into the community. This placed additional pressures on the Department to deliver sentence management, deal satisfactorily with the victims, provide adequate resources to maintain business systems to the required quality level, and publicity strategies to manage the possibility of offenders re-offending. The risk mitigation strategies deployed by the Department to manage these issues included:

  • implementation of processes for identification, notification and management of high-risk offenders
  • working closely with the New Zealand Parole Board and other agencies within the justice sector
  • development of a media strategy to manage publicity surrounding highrisk offenders
  • the implementation of procedures to identify and process all transitional offenders.

Risk to Achieving Outcomes

The management of risks is integral to the Department’s operational approach on a day-to-day basis. It uses a series of short-term tactical strategies to manage unexpected risks, with longerterm risk management factored into its strategic planning processes. In this way, the Department seeks to minimise risk to the overall achievement of departmental outcomes.

Risk Identification Process

The risk management process involves the identification, analysis and evaluation of risks, and the implementation of effective risk mitigation strategies. Table 13 identifies the most significant risk areas and describes the mitigating strategies in place to ensure the risks do not eventuate.

Table 13: Risk Management Strategies

Risk Area

Mitigating Strategies

Effective management of high-risk offenders

The Department has implemented policies for the identification, notification, and management of high-risk offenders

The Regional Prisons Development Project

Ongoing project monitoring and assurance activities are in place

Performance requirements for Corrections Inmate Employment

Ongoing monitoring and review of prisoner employment activities are in place

Sufficient staff capability and capacity to deliver effective offender management

Resources have been dedicated to:

  • training and development of staff, and monitoring achievement of standards
  • recruitment campaigns

Effectiveness of rehabilitative interventions designed to evidence-based specialist rehabilitative programmes

Ongoing development, implementation and improvement of contribute to reducing re-offending
Increased litigation by offenders
Implementation and ongoing monitoring of national compliance processes for core operational management systems

The integration of Auckland Central Remand Prison into the Public Prisons Service

Plans are in place to ensure effective integration within expected financial and operational criteria

Meeting demand for prisoner beds within the Department’s physical and staffing capacity

The Department is implementing measures to provide additional temporary and permanent capacity to address current and future demand

Public confidence in the corrections system

The Department has implemented appropriate communications and media-management policies

Recruitment and retention of staff for the Public Prisons Service

The Department has implemented a major recruitment campaign both domestically and internationally and has established a working party to consider recruitment and retention issues