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Terms Of Reference For Corrections Dept. Inquiry


Friday 7 November 2003


The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today released the Terms of Reference for his inquiry into the Department of Correction's handling of the Canterbury Emergency Response Unit.

Mr Wintringham has appointed Ailsa Duffy, QC to lead the inquiry. She is currently conducting an inquiry for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services into the handling of a phone call from Mr Ron Burrows.

Ms Duffy is likely to be available to start the Commissioner's inquiry early in 2004. She will shortly call for submissions from interested parties. The Commissioner's Terms of Reference for the inquiry are attached. "While the investigation is under way, I will make no further comment on this matter," Mr Wintringham said. Contact: Karen Jones, State Services Commission, 04 495 6657

Department of Corrections

Terms of Reference for Inquiry by State Services Commissioner Introduction The Canterbury Emergency Response Unit (CERU) was established in July 1999.

It was dis-established when the national framework for prison staffing was implemented (1 July 2000).

In August 2000 allegations were made that three staff in the unit had behaved inappropriately.

An employment inquiry was held in respect of the three staff and disciplinary action was taken.

The department's Employment Investigation team subsequently provided a Management Issues report. This report focused on management and systems issues identified by the team in the course of its employment investigation.


The Minister of Corrections has requested that an investigation be undertaken by the State Services Commissioner because of the alleged mishandling of the department's inquiry into the CERU incident.

I have agreed to investigate under section 8 of the State Sector Act and will appoint a suitably qualified person under section 25 of that Act to conduct it.

Terms of Reference

The person appointed will investigate the Department of Correction's response to allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the CERU and the actions it has since taken and the results it has achieved.

In particular:

Origins of CERU

* How was the CERU established?
* Who was accountable for the financial and oversight of the CERU (Nationally and Canterbury Region)?
* The department's response to allegations of inappropriate behaviour in CERU
* What standard policies were in place to handle such allegations?
* Were they adequate?
* What action did the department take in response to the allegations?
* Were these actions consistent with standard policy?
* Were the department's actions appropriate to the presenting facts?
* Did the actions remain appropriate as events unfolded?
* Actions and results since CERU
* Were the recommendations of the departmental inquiries actioned?
* If not, why not?
* If yes, is there evidence that they are being adhered to?
* Are the current systems and processes adequate - particularly in relation to:
- Level of decision-making
- Type of investigation appropriate to circumstance
- Level of independence
- Adherence to natural justice
- Transparency
- Selection of investigator
- Gathering evidence

It is expected that the reviewer will draw on the views of staff, offenders plus a range of stakeholders.

Reporting A report to the State Services Commissioner is expected in the first half of 2004, which will be provided to relevant Ministers.


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