Appendix 2: The response of the Department of Corrections to our findings

Department of Corrections: Managing off enders on parole.

The Department has provided a detailed response to our report. The response outlines the actions the Department is taking to fix the case management deficiencies that we identified and to improve the quality of probation service delivery.

The Department told us that it has already taken some actions, and these have been noted within the body of our report. We have not checked these actions as part of our audit. Further actions that the Department has told us it will take as a result of our audit findings are outlined within this Appendix.

The Department said that it has fixed the case management deficiencies that we identified within the 100 cases that we looked at. It has prepared a plan to improve compliance with procedures for managing offenders on parole. The Department told us that there are four work streams within the plan that are designed to ensure that:

  • the level of resources to manage the volume of work to the expected standards and procedures is appropriate;
  • operational procedures and systems are appropriate, easily understood, and well communicated;
  • appropriate support is in place for probation officers and managers, including training, ongoing communication of changes, organisational structure, and administrative support; and
  • the Department has an organisation culture that supports compliance with procedures and accountability.

The Department also told us that it is planning specific actions to address some of our findings, including:

  • issuing reminders to staff about the importance of completing enquiries and notifications related to the Victim Notification Register (to be completed by 31 January 2009), and reviewing the content of the curriculum training programme to ensure that it provides sufficient detail of the procedures that probation officers need to follow;
  • making changes to offender plans to enable a simpler format and more streamlined approach to sentence planning, including removing the requirement for service managers to sign offender plans (to be completed by June 2009);
  • designing and implementing processes to ensure that staff complete all scheduled home visits (to be implemented for all offenders on parole by 31 December 2008);
  • carrying out ongoing work to upgrade functionality of the Integrated Offender Management System (the IOMS) (to be completed by July 2009), and designing “end-to-end” training for staff (to be implemented once the IOMS upgrade is completed) to ensure that they are able to use the IOMS effectively and that they understand its capabilities;
  • reviewing the structure of the operations manual of the Department’s Community Probation and Psychological Services group to ensure that it better meets the needs of staff (recommendations for the future design of the manual are expected in early 2009);
  • designing and implementing refresher workshops for all service managers to ensure that they fully understand and implement the requirements for Offender Warning Register checks (to be implemented by 28 February 2009); and
  • emphasising the importance of timely and appropriate enforcement action to all staff through regional and area managers, and including this in the performance agreements of relevant managers.
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