Governance and oversight

An organisation with the size and complexity of Corrections requires strong corporate functions and governance structures to ensure that services represent value for money for taxpayers. Corrections has well established governance groups spanning the various operational aspects of Corrections.

Financial and Risk Governance

Financial Governance Committee (FGC)

The Financial Governance Committee (FGC) is responsible for prioritising, approving and then monitoring operational expenditure and ten year capital plans.

In addition, programme and project boards meet regularly to govern projects including the Community Corrections Site Programme, Prison Development Projects and the Auckland PPP Maximum Security Rebuild.

Major Outsourced Contracts Advisory Board

A Major Outsourced Contracts Advisory Board (MOCAB), has recently been established. This board has responsibility for reviewing Corrections’ strategy for outsourced contracts and providing advice and expertise on the management of these contracts. The Board has particular emphasis on the performance of external providers, and has an independent Chair.

Establishment of Commercial Services division

During 2015/16 Corrections increased the focus on the large scale commercial relationships, by establishing a new Commercial Services division to:

  • Provide greater assurance and accountability at an executive level in relation to the leadership and management of Corrections’ outsourced contracted services by strengthening and aligning responsibility in a new business group.
  • Lift and broaden the range and focus of the role of our prison monitors. Prison monitors are a statutory requirement for contract managed prisons under the Corrections Act 2004. They have a broad legislated function to assess and review the management of a contracted prison, and to report on this management and whether the contractor is complying with the contract and legislation.
  • Bring together a range of teams from across different parts of Corrections, to better align our efforts in managing major outsourced contracts and commercial projects.

Audit and Risk Committee

The Audit and Risk Committee advises the Chief Executive on the adequacy of Corrections’ risks, systems, assurance programme and control environment. The Committee specifically provides advice on the:

  • risk and risk management framework
  • internal controls
  • legislative compliance and framework
  • internal and external audit functions
  • financial and other external reporting
  • governance framework and processes.

The committee is an advisory body; it has no executive powers in relation to findings and decisions. Responsibility for implementing these rests with the Chief Executive and the Corrections’ Executive Leadership Team.

In addition, the work of the Internal Audit team is objective and independent of the day-to-day work of Corrections. They are governed by the International Professional Practices Framework of the Institute of Internal Auditors (the Institute). The Internal Audit team report to the Audit and Risk Committee every quarter.

Operational Governance

Health and Safety Governance

The Department of Corrections has a broad range of activities and industries that pose inherent health and safety risks. Effective management of these activities is essential to minimise the risk of serious harm to staff, contractors, visitors, members of the public and offenders. The Health and Safety Risk Governance Committee has been established to focus on serious risks to health and safety including:

  • chronic ill-health
  • acute harm
  • catastrophic harm.

The core objective is focussed on effective hazard identification and risk management. Specifically, the process by which hazards that have the potential to cause harm are identified and controls to eliminate, isolate or minimise the risk of harm are implemented.

Integrity Unit

At Corrections, integrity takes on additional significance as staff are tasked with managing some of the most challenging people in society, and supporting their rehabilitation and reintegration. Corrections has endorsed a programme of work designed to strengthen integrity in all facets of our work. The Integrity Support Team (IST) has replaced the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), allowing a fresh focus on integrity lapses, but being proactive in leading on integrity issues.

Measuring back-office efficiency and effectiveness through Benchmarking Administrative and Support Services (BASS)

Each public sector agency provides information on the cost, efficiency and effectiveness of administrative and support services annually.

One part of delivering better public services is ensuring money is not unnecessarily spent on administrative and support services, when redirecting it to frontline services would yield better results. By tracking changes each year, Treasury and Corrections can see if investments in change programmes are delivering results.

Corrections is one of nine agencies in the Large Agency Cohort. The other agencies are the Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Fire Service, NZ Police and NZ Defence Force. In the 2014/15 year Corrections was the top performer in Human Resources, and was in the upper quartile for Corporate and Executive Services and Procurement. We were in the medium range for Finance and Information, Communications and Technology (ICT). The 2015/16 results are currently being calculated.

Investor Confidence Rating

During 2015/16 Corrections actively contributed to the initial Investor Confidence Rating assessment undertaken by Treasury on behalf of Ministers. Although the overall grading for Corrections was a C, Corrections was recognised as having strong leadership resulting in delivering projects to a higher standard. Corrections is currently undertaking a work programme to embed practices and structures more consistently and to capture benefit data more routinely, to ensure that the next assessment completed in December 2017 obtains a higher rating.

Implementation of New Zealand Business Numbers

The New Zealand Business Number Act 2016 requires government departments to implement a number of changes in their processes of record keeping and engagement with external vendors, as part of a wider programme to improve New Zealand’s business friendliness. Corrections had two requirements under this act in the 2015/16 financial year, both of which were in place as of 22 June.

Managing Official Information Act Requests and correspondence received

Corrections receives large volumes of information requests and correspondence, which requires a specialist team that operates as a key interface between the Minister of Corrections and the public. Corrections operates a centralised team, who are responsible for supporting the Minister and the Department by processing, preparing and writing responses to information requests such as parliamentary questions, Official Information Act requests, and ministerial correspondence.

The Ministerial Services team also manage Privacy Act requests, correspondence with the Ombudsman’s office, Privacy Commissioner’s office and any other correspondence that is received directly into National Office.

Corrections received over 6,000 pieces of correspondence during the 2015/16 financial year; this represents an increase of more than 70% over the past five years.

The significant increase was primarily in response to higher volumes in Ministerial correspondence and Parliamentary questions, largely driven by the Mount Eden Corrections Facility Step-In.

A key focus of the team is its relationship with staff from across the business, the Minister of Corrections and their office, external partner agencies and stakeholders such as the Office of the Ombudsman – the people who are essential to the team’s ability to fulfil its purpose.

Following the release of the Ombudsman’s report7 into practices adopted by central government agencies for the purpose of compliance with the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act), Corrections has applied additional data collection practices for all pieces of correspondence received into National Office from 1 July 2016, which will strengthen its ability to demonstrate compliance with the Act, including where information requested has been declined for release. In addition to providing increased levels of performance reporting against compliance activities to the Chief Ombudsman, the information will also be used internally to support continued process improvement within the team and across the wider business. This information will also be regularly released and available on the Corrections website in the future.

Financial Year2015/162014/152013/142012/132011/12
Correspondence received6,1054,9614,3593,6223,520
Official Information Act requests received and responded to2,4572,0061,5981,2961,277

7 Not a game of hide and seek -

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