In April this year, the Department of Corrective Services commenced a review of its existing business model. The aim of the review was to develop a revised and revitalised model, which would better equip the Department to meet its present and future challenges.
This review is a contemporary look at the Department's operations and builds upon the work of previous reviews undertaken since 1988. The Department of Corrective Services has established itself as a world leader in corrections, committed to processes of continuous improvement to ensure the ongoing enhancement of the State's correctional system.(PDF link)
To facilitate the review, some sixty members of the Department's senior management group participated in a workshop held on 4-6 May 2004, to identify the key policy issues and challenges facing the Department, and to explore possible options for a new and improved business model.
In preparation for the workshop, and for the broader consultation that was to follow, five key questions were posed to Departmental managers, staff and a range of external stakeholders:
- What are the key policy issues that need to be addressed in the near future?
- What is presently working well within the Department?
- What is presently not working well within the Department?
- What are the key things that would make a difference to how well the Department performs?
- How could Central Office be better aligned to support our service deliverers?
Prior to the workshop, a review team was established to examine ways in which the Department's existing organisational structure, and placement of functions and responsibilities, might be realigned to ensure maximum benefit from a new business model.
The review team set out to undertake its examination in consultation with key staff in the existing organisational units and functional areas throughout the Department. This was done via presentations by business units, face to face consultations and discussions, and visits to custodial and community corrections centres, community corrections offices, and specialised work units and facilities throughout the State.(PDF link)
Two key outcomes of the senior managers' workshop were the identification of key policy issues for further consideration, and agreement on the principles which should guide the development of a revised business model. The key policy issues included:
- the way the Department managed its offender population, particularly progression from secure to open custody and the types of programs it offered offenders in both the community and custodial corrections areas; and
- the Department's policy role as a part of the Government's justice-cluster.
Workshop participants agreed that a revised business model should create an organisation which aligned with the Government's priorities to deliver effective and efficient outcomes, and whose policy framework was positioned for the future.
On 28 May 2004, McDonnell-Phillips, a private consultancy firm whose principals had participated in the workshop, provided a comprehensive report to the Director-General, proposing a revised business model system and a preferred business model for the Department.
Following receipt of the report from McDonnell-Phillips and during the consultation period, the review team progressively analysed the information collected from presentations, visits, consultations and written submissions; the findings and recommendations of previous reviews; and the many observations and suggestions for improvement made by those contributing to the review.(PDF link)
The review team had the benefit of major views and concerns being received at two different stages of the review - before, and subsequent to, the senior managers' workshop, and from three different perspectives - those of senior managers and staff of the Department, and external stakeholders. Responses ranged from particular, single issues to lengthy detailed submissions covering a range of the Department's areas of responsibility. Most addressed the five key questions posed at the outset of the review in their responses.
- There was a generally positive view of the Department, its record of achievement, and the quality of staff at all levels. There was, however, a view that the governance structure was not effective - in particular, the Executive Management Group was too unwieldy. Senior managers and staff also believed operational decision making had been withdrawn from middle management and relocated to Central Office.
- This latter view was reinforced by the strong belief that Central Office should be refocused and realigned to service and support custodial corrections centres and offices.
- Non-custodial management raised concerns that the Department's focus had shifted to secure custody rather than ensuring there was a balance between providing secure containment facilities and providing rehabilitation programs and supervisory services.
- There was a strong belief that there should be a renewed focus on effective offender programs, particularly within community corrections. In the same vein, some senior managers believed program delivery for offenders was too centrally driven and inflexible with community resources - including reliable, proven, locally delivered programs - not able to be used.
- There was consistent agreement throughout the Department on a need for equitable and widespread access to training and development opportunities, which included those directed towards personal and professional development, enhancement of contemporary business skills and competencies, preparation for supervisory and management roles, and for the accreditation of new capabilities.
In reflecting upon the major views and concerns expressed by senior managers, staff and stakeholders, the review team found an extremely high congruence among those views and concerns. The review team took account of a range factors in its consideration of the major views and concerns, comparing and contrasting them with attributes of an effective organisation.
The review team identified four key policy issues to which it believed the Department should continue to accord priority in addressing, namely:
- the balance between secure containment and the rehabilitation and progression of offenders;
- the consequences of the increasingly diverse and complex offender population;
- the development, in consultation with Treasury, of a comprehensive resource model for the entire Department; and
- the provision, to community corrections, of additional capacity for program delivery.
In addition, an urgent need to develop a more effective delegations regime was noted. Other matters of concern to the review team were evidence of:
- a confused assignment of responsibilities and reporting relationships in the Department's Central Office, and a replication of roles and functions across various organisational units;
- a significant disconnection between Central Office and the field;
- a lack of cohesion across the Department;
- the need for strengthening of Departmental procedures;
- the need for a more timely, responsive and supportive governance and management framework; and
- a need for more equitable and widespread access to enhance training and development opportunities.
The review team is aware that the Department has already initiated, or is currently planning, a range of strategic projects to address some of the major policy issues highlighted in relation to philosophical and policy settings, leadership and management, decision making and delegations, and resource allocation and equity.
The review team notes that the initiation of these projects is timely and that the need for them is reinforced by importance accorded to the policy issues in question during the consultation phase of the review, both by internal and external stakeholders.(PDF link)
Chapter 5 The Review Team's rationale for proposed realignments of organisational structure, functions and responsibilities
As a result of its analysis of the outcomes of the workshop and the extensive consultation, the review team developed a set of guiding principles or parameters to inform its review and the organisational arrangements it would propose.
These guiding principles included:
- where possible and logical, like and closely related functions and responsibilities should be grouped in the same organisational unit;
- decision making should be devolved to the field to the maximum extent feasible and prudent;
- there should be a diverse range of performance measurement, monitoring and accountability mechanisms for both organisational units and individuals;
- responsibilities for specific functions and activities should be concentrated in single work units wherever possible, to provide a "critical" mass and maximum staff resources to the relevant area; and
- throughout the Department, decision making should be exercised within an appropriate risk management framework.
Chapter 6 Overview of the proposed realignments of organisational structure, functions and responsibilities
The overview of the realigned organisational structure proposed by the review team.(PDF link)
The review team noted from the outset that a business model was not restricted to organisational structures, but that it should also determine how an organisation goes about its business. This chapter identifies two key areas for improvement relating to corporate governance structures and performance management arrangements.
The review team's proposed business model is based on three components:
- the operating component;
- the supporting component; and
- the accountability component.
Characteristics the review team identified as militating against the effectiveness of corporate governance included:
- the size of the Executive Management Group (EMG), its frequency of meetings, and the diversity of business which comes before it;
- the fact that all EMG members are also members of the Budget Review Committee and the Information Steering Committee; and
- the absence of any whole-of-Department forum for the entire senior executive management group of the Department.
To derive maximum benefit from a revised business model, the review team proposed that the Department's corporate governance arrangements include the following Department-wide, strategic issues management bodies:
- a new Board of Management to replace the existing EMG and comprising the Director-General, the two Deputy Directors-General and the Director, Ministerial and Executive Services as Secretary, meeting on an as needs basis, but formally at least once per month;
- a new Senior Executive Group comprising the two Deputy Directors-General and the Executive Directors meeting according to strict protocols and on a monthly schedule to provide support to the Director-General and the BoM in respect of maintaining the strategic focus and direction of the Department, to ensure that the Department fulfi ls its obligations to all management standards and requirements, and to monitor service level agreements between operational and support areas of the Department;
- a Senior Managers Forum to include members of the above, and the Regional Directors, Community Corrections and General Managers, meeting on a quarterly basis.
The review team believes that by adopting these new structures, and enhancing protocols for meetings of these bodies, significant benefits to the Department's governance, decision-making and accountability processes can be delivered, while also assisting in fostering the continuing development of senior officers and strengthening the Department's succession planning.
The review team has adopted a model of performance management embracing a range of areas including planning, risk management, performance monitoring, measurement and reporting, and evaluation and review. The review team dealt with individual performance planning and review separately in the report.
To provide a more cohesive and expanded performance management process that incorporates monitoring and measurement, the review team proposes a significant change in the focus of the proposed redesignated Strategic Planning and Performance Branch.
It will be relocated to become part of the Strategic Policy and Services Directorate to align it more closely with the policy, research and evaluation functions to which it is inextricably linked.(PDF link)
This chapter looks at the Department's operating function, with the review team proposing three organisational units - the existing directorates of Custodial and Community Corrections and a new directorate combining the current Department of Corrective Services Intelligence Group (DCSIG) with the Corrective Services Investigation Unit (CSIU) under a single officer in charge.
Under the proposed business model, the review team envisages that the Custodial and Community Corrections Directorates would have prime responsibility for the development of standards of management and service delivery, and the monitoring of performance in those two areas. Under these arrangements, it is envisaged that an Intelligence and Investigations Directorate would provide a more integrated and unified approach to these two related functions.
The review team has made a number of proposals for reform to the operating component including:
- a re-assignment of a number of the areas previously under the Operational Support Services Directorate;
- transferring responsibility for all forms of custodial corrections to the Custodial Corrections Directorate, including responsibility for the private correctional facilities;
- aligning all custodial corrections facilities to create the opportunity for offender progression through a single but "multi-site" institution;
- restructuring the present Work Outreach Camp (WORC) program with the camps in western areas becoming open custody centres strategically aligned to correctional centres;
- phasing out and decommissioning of the WORC program headquarters at Wacol and the West Brisbane Community Custody Centre;
- phasing out the placement of women prisoners at Numinbah, and replacing the capacity of the female facility at Numinbah by the acquisition of a second Helana Jones type facility in either South East Queensland or Central or North Queensland; and
- greater flexibility and scope within Community Corrections for program choice and delivery.
The second broad grouping for the proposed realignments of organisational units, functions and responsibilities outlined is that of the supporting component.
The review team has proposed that the supporting component contain five major organisational units, comprising a new Ministerial and Executive Services Directorate, reporting directly to the Director-General; the existing Corporate Services Directorate; and three new directorates: Strategic Policy and Services, Offender Assessment and Services, and Offender Programs and Services.
All four Directorates would report to a proposed second position of Deputy Director- General, Strategic and Corporate Services.
The new Directorate of Strategic Policy and Services would comprise three branches - Strategic Policy and Analysis; Research and Evaluation; and Strategic Planning and Performance; and two units - Legislation Development and Procedures Co-ordination. The creation of this new directorate has been based on the consolidation of like functions and skills to achieve a concentrated focus on generic strategy issues.
A second new directorate, to be called Offender Assessment and Services is proposed, to focus on the assessment of offenders, sentence management, the successful implementation and on-going development of the Integrated Offender Management Strategy, and support to centre-based sentence management staff. This Directorate would also be responsible for enhanced liaison with, and support, for the Community Corrections Boards, on behalf of the Department.
Another new directorate, Offender Programs and Services Directorate, would have close working relationships with the Offender Assessment and Services Directorate, and with the Custodial Corrections and Community Corrections Directorates. The Offender Programs and Services Directorate would include an Offender Programs Branch, Health and Medical Services Branch, the External Service Providers Unit, and a new Drug Strategy Unit. Under the review team's proposals, the Corporate Services Directorate would retain its existing responsibilities in the areas of finance, human resources, information management and facilities services.
There would, however, be some enhancement of capacities and responsibilities in areas such as finance and human resources, with the transfer of resources and functions from the Custodial Corrections and Community Corrections Directorates, and Operational Support Services, and the extension of responsibilities in areas such as workforce planning and education and training. In addition, the review team has proposed that, rather than specific target group entities such as the Women's Unit and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit which currently exist, the issues now dealt with by these units would be dealt with more effectively when the policies relating to these areas are embedded within a Departmental policy framework.
Consequently, it is proposed to have staff from these units integrated within the Department's policy and support services agencies as appropriate.
The establishment of the Ministerial and Executive Services Directorate gives due recognition of the importance of the broader environment in which the Department operates. It is also recognition of the Department's responsibilities for a range of machinery of government, national, interdepartmental and stakeholder responsibilities.
The review team sought to strengthen the Department's accountability function as a significant underpinning for a revised business model.
The structural elements of the accountability component are encapsulated in: a new position of Chief Inspector, with an independent inspectorial role and responsibility for the oversight of a rejuvenated Official Visitor scheme; the Ethical Standards Unit; and the Internal Audit Unit. Under these proposals, in addition to their extant responsibilities, the Ethical Standards Unit would be responsible for the co-ordination of a Departmental complaints management function, and the Internal Audit Unit would have a role in monitoring performance in privately operated correctional centres.
The rationale for the new position of Chief Inspector was to introduce a more effective form of external scrutiny and to revitalise the role of the Official Visitors which, in the opinion of the review team, had not provided a consistently effective monitoring and/or prisoner support function.
It was also believed necessary that the Director-General have the capacity to refer a range of matters, other than prison incidents, for external scrutiny and report.
While the Department had undertaken steps towards improving its complaints management procedures, the review team believed this had been done with a somewhat narrow client focus. Accordingly, a proposal has been made for a much more robust and timely complaints management function with responsibility for its development and management resting with the Ethical Standards Unit.(PDF link)
Two further reform initiatives addressed by the review team were prison industries and training and development.
The development, purpose and impact on offenders of prison industries varied widely across the State. The review team has made a range of recommendations to develop a more consistent, robust approach to prison industries across the State, beginning with the need to revisit its purpose and role in the State's custodial corrections institutions.
To ensure such an approach is effective, it is proposed that an Industries Development Unit be located within the Corporate Services Directorate to consider a range of strategies that could inject prison industries with more vigour and purpose and a more sustainable commercial base.
Training and development
The review team was given a picture of a staff training and development approach that was haphazard and disconnected to any overall workforce plan or continuous improvement strategy. Consequently, it is proposed that a Learning and Development Board, to be chaired by the Director-General, be established with its first task to develop a five year strategic plan for staff training and development. The Board will have an on-going leadership role in staff improvement and development to ensure a comprehensive and targeted approach to continuous improvement in the agency.(PDF link)
The review team gave attention to additional matters that had been raised during consultation but which it did not address because of limitations of time, availability of reliable data, or, in its opinion, they were not matters that related to the business model.
- the need for effective controls on staffing establishments;
- the employment of relieving and temporary staff, and contractors;
- the relativity of classification levels across the Department;
- the need for improved, more transparent and accountable financial management practices;
- the according of priority in resource allocation to field staff and service delivery units; and
- the importance of positive industrial relations.
Finally, the review team proposes an implementation strategy based on the establishment of an implementation team whose activities and proposals would be monitored by an Implementation Steering Committee. Proposals for reporting to the Board of Management on a regular basis are also made.(PDF link)