The State Government has accepted all recommendations handed down in the Rice Review – with work to implement them starting immediately.
The independent review findings by Paul Rice QC specifically focused on the protocols and reporting practices of the Department for Child Protection in relation to two recent cases involving teenage girls.
The Rice Review was tabled in Parliament today, and is now publicly available. Certain sections have been redacted to protect the privacy of the two teenage girls mentioned in the report.
Mr Rice QC made six recommendations in his report. The Government has accepted all recommendations and will be introducing additional measures.
These additional measures include;
- Further to Recommendations 1, 2, and 3, we will be establishing a permanent Significant Incident Reporting Unit, to be headed by the Crown Solicitor’s nominee. This person will be working closely with the Department for Child Protection Chief Executive, but will report to the Chief Executive of the Department for Premier and Cabinet until we are confident that the reporting mechanisms are being followed, including to the Minister. This person will also review data collection to ensure the information required by the reporting procedure is available to the Chief Executive and the Minister.
- Further to Recommendation 4, we will be asking the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment to oversee the staff education program to ensure the Incident Management procedure is understood and implemented.
- Further to Recommendations 5 and 6, the Attorney-General will introduce legislation to Parliament within 30 days, to give effect to these recommendations.
Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman said the Government is acting swiftly to address the issues outlined in Judge Rice’s report.
“Accepting the recommendations of Mr Rice QC’s Review is only the start. We must have the mechanisms in place to ensure those recommendations are implemented efficiently,” Deputy Premier Chapman said.
“We will achieve this by going the extra mile and establishing additional reporting safeguards, undertaking a comprehensive staff education programme overseen by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, and introducing tougher legislation regarding breaches of Written Directions,” she said.
“These measures will be actioned as soon as possible.”
Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson welcomed Mr Rice QC’s report.
“We thank Mr Rice QC for delivering his independent report to the Government and we will now work with the Department for Child Protection, and any other agencies, to action his recommendations,” said Minister Sanderson.
“It is clear that the current significant incident reporting is overly complex and the Department for Child Protection will now take this opportunity to re-write the policy to be clear and concise, as well as undertake an education program for staff.
“Mr Rice QC’s report is an opportunity for us to ensure we are continually improving and strengthening practices within the Department for Child Protection to ensure we are getting the best outcomes for our most vulnerable children and young people.”
Minister Sanderson said continually improving the state’s child protection system remained a priority.
“Since coming into Government, we have been working hard to ensure we improve outcomes for children and young people in care. Their safety and wellbeing remains our priority,” said Minister Sanderson.
“Furthermore, the privacy of the two young people in this report is paramount.”