Collaboration with other Agencies

To achieve the best results from its activities, the Department works closely with the core justice sector agencies and other government agencies.

Collaboration with the Justice Sector

This section describes the justice sector, how it works together and the major initiatives collaborated on during the 2005/06 financial year that have contributed to the Government's priorities.

Sector Agencies

New Zealand has a robust justice system and a co-ordinated justice sector comprising the Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, New Zealand Police, Crown Law Office, and Serious Fraud Office. Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) are considered part of the core sector for the purposes of addressing youth offending and early intervention issues. From 1 July 2006, CYFS is operating from within the Ministry of Social Development.

The broader sector includes a number of Crown entities and other agencies.

The sector agencies work together through a range of mechanisms including the Justice Sector Chief Executives Forum, the Budget Inputs Steering Committee and the Justice Sector Information Committee. The sector Crown agencies meet in a twice-yearly forum.

FIGURE 21: Justice Sector Agencies and Linkages

FIGURE 21: Justice Sector Agencies and Linkages.

In addition to collaborating with the core justice sector agencies as a whole, the Department also collaborates directly with the Ministry of Justice on matters relating to justice sector policy and courts, the New Zealand Police on operational decisions affecting the management of offenders, and with Child, Youth and Family on youth justice.

Ongoing Development of Justice Sector Outcomes

The sector's current end outcomes are:

SAFER COMMUNITIES; being communities in which there is reduced crime and in which safety and wellbeing is enhanced through partnerships.

A FAIRER, MORE CREDIBLE AND MORE EFFECTIVE JUSTICE SYSTEM; being a system in which people's interactions are underpinned by the rule of law and justice services are more equitable, credible and accessible.

The sector is reviewing its outcomes framework to ensure it has in place outcomes that are relevant, consistently interpreted, and that demonstrate how the sector contributes towards the priorities of Government.

Collaborative Activities

In the 2005/06 year, the core sector agencies worked closely together to address significant issues in the justice system and improve the sector's ability to support the Government's priorities. Key areas of focus during the year are outlined in this section.

Effective Interventions

In light of concerns about capacity to manage both the current and forecast prison population, the Government established a multi-agency Effective Interventions project led by the Ministry of Justice. The Effective Interventions project aims to reduce and prevent crime, address New Zealand's growing prison population, and to build safer communities. This has been an area of particularly high priority for the sector over the past year.

To carry out this project, a working group was established with representatives from across the sector that comprised Justice (lead agency), Corrections, Police and Ministry for Social Development (key agencies), and the State Services Commission, Treasury and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (central agencies).

Once the project had begun, Te Puni Kokiri, and the Ministries of Pacific Island Affairs, Health and Education also became involved.

The Effective Interventions project team reported back to Government in July 2006 with its recommendations. The Government has recently announced its decisions. These include:

  • preparing a package of initiatives to reduce youth offending
  • amending the Bail Act 2000 to promote greater consistency in decision-making
  • expanding the availability of restorative justice processes
  • introducing a new tier of community sentences to increase the number of sentencing options available to judges
  • introducing home detention as a sentence in its own right for lower-risk offenders
  • setting up two new drug and alcohol treatment units in prisons and two further general purpose special treatment units to provide intensive rehabilitative programmes in prisons.

Following recommendations from the Law Commission, the Government has also decided to:

  • establish a Sentencing Council to produce sentencing guidelines
  • reform parole to better align sentences imposed with sentences served.

Further information can be found on the Ministry of Justice's website

Justice Sector Pipeline model

Early work has been completed on the Justice Sector Pipeline model, a tool to assist sector planning. This model is aimed at improving sector understanding of the flow-through effects of changes to the system such as new policy or operational strategy.

Development of the Pipeline model is a long-term initiative intended to reduce the risks of unanticipated demands on the justice system, and support shared sector outcomes by providing better information on the effects of policy and operational decisions.

Key outputs from the establishment phase include prototype and core systems and processes for managing ongoing work including a module development plan.

Sector agencies and central agencies all strongly supported the successful bid by the Ministry of Justice in 2005 to gain funding support for this initiative through the Cross-Departmental Research Pool.

Justice Sector Information Strategy

The Justice Sector Information Strategy 2006-2011 was developed during the 2005/06 financial year. This is the third strategy that has been developed through sector collaboration, with key agencies such as Justice, Police, Corrections, Social Development (CYF), Land Transport and Legal Services Agency all involved.

The latest strategy provides the framework to expand and improve the existing sector information-sharing network over the next five years.

Key elements of the new strategy include:

  • improve the quality and integrity of justice sector operational data sets
  • effectively manage shared justice sector data and information
  • supporting strategic decision making in the justice sector
  • actively leverage the resource base across the justice sector
  • improve information and service provision to our communities.

Other Justice Sector Initiatives

Justice sector agencies have also collaborated on the following activities:

Implementation of the Courts and Criminal Matters legislation that also involved a number of agencies outside the justice sector.

Completion of the fieldwork for the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey in June 2006 with 5,433 households participating.

  • Cross-government planning efforts for pandemic preparedness. 
  • Assessment of detailed proposals for improvement of the criminal summary jurisdiction through an Interagency Group comprising sector agencies, the New Zealand Law Society and members of the District Courts judiciary.
  • Identification of priorities for the justice sector and presenting a package of options to Ministers as part of the Government's 2006 Budget process. A priority for the Government in 2006 was the provision of additional Police resources as agreed in the confidence and supply agreements. Through the Budget process, the sector assessed the flow-on impacts of these additional resources on other justice sector agencies.

FIGURE 22: Key Justice Sector Statistics - As At 30 June 2006

The justice sector:

On any average day* in the life of the justice sector:

employs approximately 16,500 staff* 27,114 offenders are on community-based sentences
operates from over 650 sites around the country 7,605 people are in prison
administers over 160 individual Acts of Parliament 1,680 emergency calls are answered by Police
makes about 12 million electronic data transactions between agencies each year 1,168 crimes are recorded
manages 24 separate electronic data interfaces 425 cases are referred for prosecution by Police
updates the justice criminal data warehouse daily (it contains 210 gigabytes) 332 Maori land titles updated
251 applications are made in the Family Court
* includes CYFS staff located within MSD 114 civil cases are filed in District Courts
99 Disputes Tribunals cases completed
25 cases are referred to Child, Youth and Family
25 Family Group Conferences are convened
10 jury trials are disposed of in the District Courts
7 Waitangi Tribunal inquiries in progress dealing with 286 claims
*Statistics refer to 250 working days for the Ministry of Justice and 365 days for the Police, Corrections and Child, Youth and Family

Collaboration with other Government Agencies

The Department has in place a number of agreements with other government departments and agencies to assist with achieving its outcomes of 'protecting the public' and 'reducing re-offending'. These agreements are with the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, Child, Youth and Family, Ministry of Social Development, ACC, Ministry of Health, Inland Revenue Department, Department of Building and Housing, New Zealand Parole Board, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Career Services, the Office of the Ombudsmen and the Department of Labour.

During 2005/06 the Department adopted and promulgated a revised approach and framework for the management of interagency agreements. The new framework comprises a three-tier structure comprising national-level strategic agreements, national-level operational agreements, and regional-level agreements. By year-end, a number of new agreements based on the new approach and framework had been agreed. Work was also well advanced to subsume the interagency agreement with Child, Youth and Family (CYF) into the agreement with the Ministry of Social Development with the merging of CYF into the Ministry from 1 July 2006.

Good progress was made during the year on a number of priority issues in collaboration with other agencies, as follows.

  • Information Sharing under Sections 182 - 182D of the Corrections Act 2004

Early in 2005/06 the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New Zealand Police negotiated in 2004/05 was put in place. The MOU was revised to codify information-sharing protocols on the exchange of under the provisions of section 182 of the Corrections Act 2004 which took effect from 1 June 2005.

Also during the year, a multi-agency agreement between the Department of Corrections, Child, Youth and Family, Housing New Zealand Corporation, the Ministry of Social Development and the New Zealand Police on the sharing of information about child-sex offenders under sections 182A to 182E of the Corrections Act 2004 was developed and signed by all agencies. Following discussions between the Department and Child, Youth and Family on implementation issues, exchanges of the Child-sex Offenders List and disclosures commenced from 1 March 2006.

A national-level operational agreement with Child, Youth and Family on the sharing of information on home detention applications and suspected child abuse and/or neglect was also agreed.

  • Reducing Youth Offending Programme with Child, Youth and Family

The evaluation of the joint Department/ Child, Youth and Family Reducing Youth Offending Programme pilot was also finalised during 2005/06. This pilot was carried out over three years in Auckland and Christchurch. A key finding of the evaluation was that the programme was more likely to be effective with youth in Child, Youth and Family care rather than those in the Department's care. In April 2006, it was decided to refocus the programme to concentrate on younger offenders. From July 2006, the programme will be managed solely by Child, Youth and Family and delivered only to young offenders in the youth justice system.

  • Collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development on the reintegration of offenders back into the community and into employment

Close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development continued during the year. This focused on employment and industry-accredited training initiatives for prisoners, including the bedding in of the joint initiative whereby Work and Income reintegration case workers are now located at prisons to help offenders make a smooth transition to employment on their release. Collaboration on assisting offenders to reintegrate back into the community will be further strengthened with the introduction of the Department's own prison-based reintegration workers in the coming year, following the pilot carried out in 2005/06.

  • Improvements to Health Services for Prisoners

Under the Department's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health, the two agencies have complementary responsibilities for protecting and enhancing the health status for prisoners. The MOU covers all areas of service delivery, but specifically focuses on the delivery of primary health care, forensic mental health services, and addiction services including alcohol, other drugs and problem gambling.

During 2005/06, both agencies worked together to develop a new mental health screening tool for use in prisons. An approved trial began in July 2006 at Christchurch Men's prison, and will be extended to Mt Eden Men's Prison and Auckland Central Remand Prison. At the conclusion of the trial, an evaluation report will be prepared on the tool's appropriateness for use at all prisons throughout New Zealand.

The Department and the Ministry of Health also worked closely to improve the management of mentally-disordered prisoners and, in particular, providing in-prison treatment and support for those prisoners assessed as being acutely unwell.