Risk Management (including Pandemic Plan)

Risk management is an integral component of the Department's operations and 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, which is being achieved through the ongoing consideration of risk in all levels throughout the organisation. The Department's risk management framework is based on the Australian/ New Zealand standard AS/NZ 4360:1999 Risk Management, and has recently been updated by AS/NZ 4360:2004.

The risk management framework is overseen by the Department's Assurance Board, which comprises the Chief Executive and five 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 operational services and the operation of an internal control framework.

Departmental Risks and Uncertainties

A major risk facing the Department in 2005/06 was the continuing pressure for prisoner beds, which has at times exceeded the Department's 95 percent maximum operational capacity across almost all of its correctional facilities. The risk around bed capacity was effectively mitigated during the period with the full commissioning of the first regional prison (Northland Region Corrections Facility), the completion on time of the second regional prison (Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility) in May 2006, through the construction of additional capacity at existing sites, and through agreement to increase prisoner numbers at existing facilities.

The remaining two new prisons under the Regional Prisons Development Programme are currently scheduled for completion on time in 2007. However, there is still pressure on bed availability and continuing mitigation of this risk will be dependent on the effectiveness of reducing the imprisonment rate through initiatives such as the multi-agency Effective Interventions project.

Rehabilitative interventions remain a cornerstone of the Department's strategy for delivering on the core outcome of 'reducing reoffending'. The 2005/06 year saw the Department review and replace the Straight Thinking programme with the 120-150 and 300 hour criminogenic programmes. Other specific rehabilitative strategies under development include programmes for women's criminogenic needs, high-risk sex offenders and very high-risk psychopathic offenders. In addition, the Department is focusing on reintegrative strategies including those promoting employment initiatives such as release-to-work through the Prisoner Employment Strategy 2006 -2009 released in May 2006.

The 2005/06 year also saw the successful completion of the transition of the Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) from private management to the Department, the implementation of comprehensive mitigation strategies surrounding the Avian Flu pandemic and significant progress on the 2006 collective employment agreements bargaining round. The Department's strategies have been effective in reducing the overall risk assessment of these threats.

Ensuring effective management of offenders and maintaining public confidence that the corrections system are managed effectively are fundamental objectives of the Department that are managed through the implementation and ongoing refinement of appropriate departmental policies and practices.

Risk to Achieving Outcomes

The management of risk 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 longer-term risk management factored into its strategic planning processes. Identification and management of risk is an integral part of the strategic framework. Each of the risk areas outlined below is linked to departmental outcomes. These links are best illustrated when the implications of failure in the mitigating strategies are identified against each risk. Being aware of the mitigating strategies and their implications is key to the Department's 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. The following table identifies the most significant risk areas related to key initiatives and describes mitigating strategies in place to ensure the risks do not eventuate.

Risk Management Strategies

The following risk areas were included in the 2005/06 Statement of Intent:

TABLE 7: Risk Management - Statement of Intent

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
Regional Prisons Development Project Ongoing project monitoring and assurance activities are in place. Effective project governance management, monitoring and reporting activities are in place
Performance requirements for Corrections Inmate Employment Ongoing monitoring and review of prisoner employment activities are in place, eg. release-to-work initiative
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 contribute to reducing re-offending Ongoing development, implementation and improvement of evidence-based specialist rehabilitative programmes
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 ACRP integration project successfully completed. Ongoing monitoring to ensure effective integration within the Department's financial and operational policy
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 maintains appropriate communications and media-management policies
Recruitment and retention of staff The Department has implemented a major recruitment campaign both domestically (and internationally for PPS staff) and a working party has completed a review of recruitment and retention issues

The following were not included in the 2005/06 Statement of Intent but were identified as additional risk areas during 2005/06.

TABLE 8: Risk Management - Post Statement of Intent

Risk Area

Mitigating Strategies

Maintenance of physical security at prison sites

The Department is improving its reporting mechanisms for physical security issues and is ensuring appropriate resourcing for facility design has improved

2006 Collective Employment Agreements Bargaining Round

The Department successfully concluded collective bargaining on most collective Employment Agreements and has therefore mitigated the risks associated with failure to reach agreements and the potential for industrial action

Asian bird in???uenza pandemic

Contingency planning is being undertaken in accordance with the government-wide approach. See below

Capacity to manage the most disordered high and complex needs of offenders who are a danger to themselves or others, who are not eligible for compulsory treatment under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 and the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003

The Department has implemented a project to develop guidelines on how to manage prisoners with high and complex behaviour needs. The guidelines will provide the ???rst step in the identi???cation, noti???cation and management process of high-risk offenders

Pandemic Planning

The Department's approach to pandemic planning is consistent with the direction and guidance provided by the Ministry of Health, as lead agency for pandemic planning across the government sector.

During the 2005/06 financial year, the Department was an active participant in the key government planning groups, in particular the Intersectoral Pandemic Group and its associated sub-group, the Law and Order and Emergency Services Workgroup. Work was undertaken, in conjunction with other government agencies, on addressing key strategic issues, including progressing legislative reform, and developing human resources and communications strategies.

The Department has developed detailed operational plans across its Groups and Services, for responding during a pandemic emergency. Emphasis has been placed upon addressing the needs of the Public Prisons Service, Probation and Offender Services and Corrections Inmate Employment, as these Groups and Services will have to continue operating to as near full capacity as possible over the duration of a pandemic.

The Department has purchased sufficient personal protection equipment to protect its staff during a pandemic, and has had discussions with the Ministry of Health over ensuring the provision of anti-viral medication from the National Reserve for all contact staff.