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Annual Report 2013-14

Preamble

Public availability of report

This annual report is available from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

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© The State of Queensland (Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services) 2014

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ISSN: 2201-0858

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Letter to the Minister

22 September 2014

The Honourable Tracy Davis MP
Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Dear Minister

I am pleased to present the Annual Report 2013–2014 for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

I certify that this annual report complies with:

  • the prescribed requirements of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009
  • the detailed requirements set out in the Annual Report Requirements for Queensland Government agencies.

A checklist outlining the annual reporting requirements is available on our website.

Yours sincerely

Michael Hogan
Director-General
Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

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Director-General’s message

I am pleased to present the 2013–14 annual report for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. This is my first annual report as Director-General, having commenced formally in the role in April 2014. I would like to acknowledge my predecessor, Ms Margaret Allison, whose dedication and leadership positioned the department well for the progress we have made.

The department works to make our state great by supporting and strengthening individuals, families and communities. We strive for improved wellbeing, safety and participation of Queenslanders by investing in and providing quality human services.

As part of the Queensland Government’s reform and renewal agenda for social and human services in our state, our three service areas — child safety, disability services and community services — are undertaking significant transformation. Reforms are aimed at providing Queenslanders with the right services, in the right places at the right time, with a focus on investing in prevention and early intervention and enabling our clients to improve their lives.

In 2013–14, we dedicated much time, energy and hard work to improve our services and capabilities, reduce red tape, get more value from our investment and build the culture and workplaces we want through more than 150 renewal and innovation initiatives across the department.

This year saw many achievements that demonstrate how we are making a real difference to the lives of Queenslanders. Some highlights include:

Child Safety

  • 44 per cent reduction in the assessment time for families who have previously adopted in Queensland or from overseas and a 25 per cent reduction in the assessment times for families who have not previously adopted
  • 9.4 per cent decrease in the number of children admitted to out-of-home-care in the 12 months to 31 March 2014, and a reduction in the total number subject to ongoing intervention
  • over 300 more carer families than two years ago
  • better placement options for young people in and transitioning from care by partnering with non-government organisations
  • commenced planning and implementation of the government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

Community Services

  • reduced the time funded organisations spend applying for licenses and preparing for assessments, resulting in up to 21 regional licenses being replaced with a single statewide organisation-level licence for organisations providing home care services
  • reduced red tape and compliance burdens for service providers by transitioning 191 organisations to the streamlined Human Services Quality Framework
  • assisted over 350 community groups by providing Caring for our Community grants and distributed Drought Assistance community grants to 23 groups
  • 30 per cent increase in the number of Companion Card holders since 2012
  • improved responses to natural disasters by implementing reforms to Community Recovery programs prior to Cyclone Ita.

Disability Services

  • more clients have greater choice and control over their specialist disability supports, with a stronger than anticipated uptake of Your Life Your Choice, with over 1100 people now participating
  • significantly reduced waiting times for disability assessments and supports across a number of regions
  • over 4000 people with disability receiving access to aids, equipment and assistive technology in the 12 months to April 2014
  • improved quality of life for 37 people who had been long-stay patients in health facilities by transitioning them to community living
  • enhanced safeguards for clients and greater focus on client service delivery by simplifying and improving the Restrictive Practices Framework, including amendments to the Disability Services Act 2006.

Initiatives like these help us meet our objectives for our clients, communities and partners.

I would like to thank our non-government partners, volunteers and departmental staff for their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment to deliver services that make a positive difference in our clients’ lives.

I look forward to our reform and renewal journey that will focus on improved customer service and results, stronger partnerships, more innovative solutions, simpler processes and smarter investment.

Michael Hogan
Director-General

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Part 1: Overview

1.1 About us

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is committed to enabling vulnerable Queenslanders to improve their lives by investing in and providing effective and innovative services.

The department was established in April 2012 through the Governor-in-Council, under the authority of the Public Service Act 2008 and the Queensland Government Gazette No. 77. We are accountable to the Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Our objectives are:

  • for our clients: improve wellbeing, resilience, safety and participation
  • for communities: improve liveability, inclusion and cohesion
  • for our partners: improve capability, sustainability and productivity of social service systems in Queensland.

Our priority commitments are:

  • creating positive customer experiences
  • strengthening Queensland families and protecting at-risk children
  • strengthening disability services
  • services that provide connections for seniors, youth and women
  • engaging with clients, communities and partners to inform policy, program and service delivery responses
  • driving reforms that deliver value for money and manage public investment well
  • supporting community recovery and resilience in dealing with disasters
  • reducing red tape and making it easier to do business with the department.

The department makes a significant investment in frontline services through non-government organisations (NGOs). In 2013–14, the department contracted for services from more than 1170 NGOs with an allocation of approximately $1.4 billion to support individuals, families and communities.

We are responsible for administering (or jointly administering) legislation that regulates the services we deliver or fund (more details are contained in Appendix 1).

Our services are administered across the state through seven regions and supported by a central corporate office.

In 2013–14, the decision was made for homelessness functions to be integrated into the Department of Housing and Public Works to take effect from 1 July 2013.

1.1.1 Our clients

The department works to improve the wellbeing, resilience, safety and participation of vulnerable Queenslanders.

We provide services ranging from everyday support for families and individuals to organising specialised services in emergencies.

Our client base is diverse, and we have responsibility for supporting some of the most disadvantaged Queenslanders, including:

  • children at risk of harm and their families
  • people with disability
  • people who are subject to domestic violence
  • seniors.

We also assist carers, volunteers, young people, women, and people and communities affected by natural disasters.

We work closely with other government and non-government health and human services organisations to support our clients.

1.1.2 Our budget

In 2013–14, we worked to:

  • ensure value for money and return on social investment in services and service delivery models
  • maintain effective budget management
  • identify efficiencies through service and business innovation.

The published budget for the department in 2013–14 was $2.58 billion.

The department also administered:

  • a published budget of $268.2 million on behalf of the state to reimburse providers for concessions to eligible pensioners and seniors for rates, electricity, water, reticulated natural gas and electricity life support
  • payments for natural disasters on behalf of the state and Australian governments (e.g. Emergency Assistance Grants, Essential Household Contents Grants, Structural Assistance Grants, and Essential Services Safety and Reconnection scheme).

A comprehensive set of financial statements covering all of the department’s activities can be found in Part 5: Financial statements.

A financial summary is also included in Section 1.5.

1.1.3 Our people

As at 30 June 2014, we had 5723.93 full-time equivalent staff. Of these, 84.93 per cent were employed in non-corporate roles, and 15.07 per cent in corporate roles.

1.1.4 Our contribution

The department contributes to delivering the government’s objectives to:

  • grow a four-pillar economy by:
    • ensuring value for money and return on investment
    • contributing to paying off Queensland’s debt and investing in better frontline services
  • lower the cost of living for families by providing concessions and subsidies on electricity, gas, medical aids and electricity life support
  • deliver better infrastructure and better planning by:
    • implementing policy, program and service delivery responses that are innovative, evidence-based, efficient and effective
    • adapting services within a changing environment that better meet client needs
  • revitalise frontline services for families by:
    • implementing relevant government commitments
    • implementing the government’s response to the Queensland Commission of Audit
    • responding to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry
    • providing services for seniors, children, families, young people and women
    • strengthening disability services and preparing for Queensland’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
    • continuing strong partnerships with NGOs
    • delivering responses to build resilient individuals, families and communities
  • restore accountability in government by:
    • reducing red tape and reporting requirements for NGOs
    • implementing a single human services quality framework, and contract management reforms with NGOs.

1.1.5 Our key challenges

The Financial Accountability Act 2009 requires the department to establish and maintain appropriate systems of internal control and risk management.

Effective risk management enables the department to make informed decisions about opportunities and challenges we face, including:

  • managing demand for services
  • maximising return on investment and results for Queenslanders
  • managing service system change and public sector renewal
  • improving information systems to support business innovation and reform
  • engaging stakeholders to co-design and deliver services
  • growing industry workforce and organisational capability.

Environmental factors that shape our strategic direction and service delivery include:

  • population growth and changing demographics resulting in increasing demand for services
  • increasing expectations for better access to integrated services
  • major state and national reforms
  • the impact of natural disasters on Queenslanders and on the state and national economies.

1.2 Reform and renewal

The Queensland Government is committed to having the most respected and responsive public service in the nation.

Central to this renewal is the alignment to the Queensland public service values.

Figure 1: Public service values

Public service values

The Queensland Government has set an ambitious transformational agenda for social and human services in our state. Driving the reform agenda are the:

  • Commission of Audit Final Report and the government’s response
  • Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry Final Report and the government’s response
  • Council of Australian Government’s commitment to the NDIS
  • Social Services Investment Framework.

In keeping with the public sector renewal principles and public service values, we have chartered three key reform programs:

  • Child and Family Reform
  • Disability Services Reform
  • Social Investment Reform.

Child protection reforms, disability services and government investment in services are aimed at providing Queenslanders with the right services, in the right places at the right time.

The reforms also emphasise the government’s focus on investing in prevention and early intervention and enabling our clients to choose and control the services they receive.

The department is playing a major role in implementing these once‐in‐a‐generation reforms through innovation, collaboration and partnership with other government agencies, NGOs and our customers.

1.2.1 Child and family reforms

The Child and Family Reform Program will deliver on the department’s responsibilities set out in the government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry Report.

Over the next 10 years, the program will build a new support system for children and their families that will have a greater focus on strengthening families to keep their children safely at home.

Families will receive support earlier to care for their children, and the capacity of the non-government services sector will be increased to provide more of the services that vulnerable families need.

Over half of the additional $406 million funding over five years allocated to the child and family reforms has been allocated to secondary support services that will support families to care for their children and keep them at home. This will result in less children being cared for within the child protection system.

The following strategic directions will guide and support the overall program of reform and include:

  • sharing responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of Queensland children
  • supporting Queensland families earlier
  • working better with Queensland families who are in contact with the child protection system
  • improving out-of-home care and post-care experiences for Queensland children and young people
  • meeting the requirements and needs of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities
  • delivering quality services to Queensland children and families through a capable, motivated workforce and client-focused organisations
  • building an accountable, transparent and cost-effective Queensland system.

1.2.2 Disability services reforms

In May 2013, the Queensland Government signed a Heads of Government Agreement with the Australian Government for full implementation of the NDIS.

Under the NDIS, separate state-based schemes will change to a national scheme.

The NDIS will give Australians with significant and permanent disability choice and control over the support they need and how that support is provided. The NDIS will commence in Queensland from July 2016 and be fully implemented by 2019.

A graduated approach to transition Accommodation Support and Respite Services to the non-government sector will occur, to align with the roll-out of the NDIS in Queensland.

The Disability Services Reform Program will prepare Queenslanders, including people with disability, families and carers, providers and the broader community, for the implementation of the recent Queensland Disability Plan and the introduction of the NDIS.

The Queensland Disability Plan is designed to drive actions that will achieve a successful transition to the NDIS, and create accessible and inclusive communities.

The plan’s priorities are:

  • support people with disability and communities to be well-informed and confident about what the NDIS means for them
  • support people with disability, families and carers to exercise choice and take up opportunities
  • support non-government disability service providers to operate in a competitive market-based environment
  • develop a skilled and strong workforce to ensure sector capability to deliver services
  • prepare Queensland Government departments to transition disability funding and services to the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • enhance mainstream services and facilities to enable genuine choice and participation in all areas including education, employment, health, justice services and housing
  • promote genuine participation in the community.

1.2.3 Social investment reforms

The Social Investment Reform Program will implement relevant commitments under the Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19.

The blueprint sets out the department’s plan for transforming the way investment in services are made and managed. The following priority areas have been identified to achieve this transformation change:

  • more innovative solutions
  • focus on customer services and results
  • smarter investment
  • simpler processes
  • stronger partnerships
  • dynamic workforce.

The department’s Social Investment Reform Program also contributes to whole-of-government reforms led by the Social Services Cabinet Committee.

1.3 Our regional highlights

1.3.1 Brisbane Region

The region covers 1220 square kilometres extending from Bracken Ridge in the north, Wacol in the south-west, to Wynnum in the south-east.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 1129.19 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $324.12 million.

Achievements

  • Supported 261 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This significantly exceeds the target of 120 people for this year.
  • In partnership with the South West Region, developed and implemented service access improvements for people with disability. The strategy introduced a faster and more efficient client access pathway, resulting in reduced wait times for assessments and service responses, greater client satisfaction, and improved staff skills and job satisfaction. This innovative pilot will be implemented statewide in 2014–15.
  • Led the statewide roll-out of the Account Manager Relationships program, a streamlined point of contact for organisational contract management arrangements including governance, finance and practical red tape reduction reforms.
  • Commenced implementing the Child and Family Reforms resulting from the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. A key milestone has been the establishment of the Brisbane Region Child and Family Governance Committee, which commenced operation in March 2014. The committee includes representatives from across Commonwealth, state and local governments, as well as partners from the non-government sector. The committee is currently progressing a range of strategies to deliver the reforms.
  • Completed phase one of the Out-of-Home Care audit in line with the recommendations of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. This process provided an opportunity for the region to strengthen relationships with key partners in both the government and the non-government sectors. Importantly, it has also been successful in contributing to positive outcomes for children and families.

1.3.2 Central Queensland Region

The region covers 494,966 square kilometres, extending from Rockhampton in the north to Kingaroy in the south, the Northern Territory border in the west to Hervey Bay in the east.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 559.52 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $143.98 million.

Achievements

  • Finalised personal hardship assistance grants relating to Tropical Cyclone Oswald and established a community recovery package providing $5 million in funding over two years from 2013 to 2015 for two community development services. The services will support the recovery, rebuilding and renewal of the human social fabric of communities in the Bundaberg and North Burnett areas, following flooding in January 2013.
  • Provided drought assistance funding of $255,000 to Central West Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Inc. for the development and implementation of community-led projects across Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Longreach and Winton.
  • Established Emerald’s first foster and kinship care service to support 42 places for children and young people. Funded an additional 63 foster and kinship places in Rockhampton, including 14 Indigenous-specific places.
  • Contacted all potentially eligible clients and their families to discuss the benefits of Your Life Your Choice, including the ongoing program supports facilitated by the department. As such, 174 people have transitioned to Your Life Your Choice over the last year. This significantly exceeds the target of 45 people for this year.
  • Engaged in a review of all clients with clinical needs on the register of need in the southern half of the region. The project worked with all clients and their families to determine how their clinical needs could best be met. A team of clinicians was assigned to the project, and through a creative intensive case management approach, the wait time for clinical assessments reduced by more than 70 per cent.

1.3.3 Far North Queensland Region

The region covers 273,157 square kilometres, extending from the international border between Australia and Papua New Guinea in the north, to the Cardwell Range in the south, and Croydon in the west.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 296.80 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $84.89 million.

Achievements

  • Supported 57 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This exceeds the target of 27 people for this year.
  • Supported 11 people to transition from hospital to home through the Bed Block Project and the Joint Action Plan. This has enabled these people to be contributing and valued members in their homes and communities.
  • Focused on transition to independence activities, which have contributed to improved outcomes for clients, including a specific focus on young people with disability who are exiting state care.
  • Initiated and continued to develop joint complex case presentations between Child Safety and Department of Health Evolve practitioners. These presentations improve professional practice, strengthen partnerships and deliver better outcomes for clients. The information and challenges discussed highlight the real issues faced by children and young people in the out-of-home care system and support shared decision making.
  • Realigned existing funding to address changing needs in the region. This included the establishment of a Women’s Shelter in Cooktown to service the needs of women throughout the Cooktown region, including the communities of Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal.

1.3.4 North Coast Region

The region covers 12,036 square kilometres, extending from Rainbow Beach in the north, to Gympie in the west, to Redcliffe and Samford in the south, and Woodford in the south-west.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 554.22 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $168.21 million.

Achievements

  • Developed the region’s Placement System Blueprint in partnership with Senior Executives of funded placement services. The blueprint will provide an additional 140 flexible and responsive placement options for children and young people in out-of-home care, within existing resources.
  • Proactively supported children and young people in care to develop and achieve educational and career goals through the Career Aspirations Strategy.
  • Supported 193 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This is a positive step and far exceeds the target of 65 people for this year.
  • Completed the establishment of the Pine Rivers and Gympie Neighbourhood Centres. The centres provide space for a range of activities, events and resources to be delivered to the community.
  • Commenced the Youth Renewal agenda to reform, rebuild and reprioritise the way services are planned, funded and delivered. This agenda will lead to smarter investment, better services and a greater focus on customer services and results.

1.3.5 North Queensland Region

The region covers 539,581 square kilometres, extending along the coast from Ingham in the north to St Lawrence in the south and extending west to the Queensland–Northern Territory border.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 456.54 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $134.13 million.

Achievements

  • Strengthened services to communities in the lower Gulf area in line with the Child and Family Reform Program, including a new service provided by Medicare Local to build upon a primary health approach to provide services to remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Established Child and Family Committees in Mackay, Mount Isa and Townsville with government and non-government stakeholders to drive local implementation of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry recommendations.
  • Implemented an innovative community recovery approach, which strengthened existing services delivered by the Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre, following Tropical Cyclone Ita.
  • Trialled an innovative new extension of the Management of Public Intoxication Program in Townsville, which involves better interagency coordination and support to clients while in custody. This greatly enhances post-release outcomes.
  • Supported 99 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This exceeds the target of 47 people for this year.

1.3.6 South East Region

The region covers 2830.2 square kilometres, extending from Wynnum in the north to Coolangatta in the south.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 695.88 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $213.92 million.

Achievements

  • Delivered a successful pilot mentoring program for Indigenous young men aged under 18 years in partnership with the Department of Health and the Department of Education, Training and Employment. The program runs for 12 weeks and is designed to give participants increased skills in dealing with challenging issues such as peer group pressure and the use of drugs and alcohol. It also focuses on cultural awareness to assist in providing a sense of belonging.
  • Streamlined the Adoption Services assessment and reassessment process, resulting in more timely outcomes for clients and a reduction in the duplication of reporting requirements.
  • Continued to provide Helping Out Families services to provide intensive family support to vulnerable and complex families, achieving positive outcomes for these families such as housing stability and diversion from the statutory child protection system.
  • Constructed a purpose-built facility in Labrador to provide emergency accommodation for up to eight people, including those with disability. This property provides opportunities for residents who may have difficulty accessing other accommodation options.
  • Supported 197 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This significantly exceeds the target of 77 people for this year.
  • The Safer Schoolies Initiative supported more than 27,000 young people during the 2013 schoolies holiday period. Schoolies responses were delivered in key destinations across the state including Magnetic Island, Yeppoon and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. The region also supported the delivery of 325 in-school information sessions to Year 12 students as part of the communication campaign.

1.3.7 South West Region

The region covers 410,248 square kilometres, extending from Beaudesert in the east to the Queensland–South Australia border in the west.

As at 30 June 2014, the region employed 920.40 full-time equivalent employees.

The total 2013–14 recurrent grants allocation for all services across the region was $153.98 million.

Achievements

  • Developed the Service Access Innovation Pilot in partnership with the Brisbane Region. The pilot introduced a simplified and more customer-friendly client access pathway, which includes information and referral or a planning response. The project’s primary aims are to deliver: a more helpful and responsive customer service, one point of contact for clients, improved staff skills and red tape reduction. This innovative pilot will be implemented statewide in 2014–15.
  • Supported 123 people who have chosen to self-direct their support through a host provider or move to a direct payment model under the Your Life Your Choice framework. This significantly exceeds the target of 39 people for this year.
  • Oversaw the delivery of Mercy Community Services grant funding to deliver the Fostering Families Program. The program provides intensive, short-term and in-home support to families to reduce the risk of families entering or re-entering the child protection system and requiring any form of ongoing statutory intervention.
  • Implemented Community Recovery reforms, including:
    • a targeted activation of grants and more appropriate application of the Immediate Hardship Assistance criteria, thereby reducing fraud and improving accountability of the expenditure of public money
    • replacement of the old income and assets test with a single income test based on the National Rental Affordability Scheme
    • the de-linking of grants
    • a mobile recovery approach using the Community Recovery hotline, outreach and mobile recovery hubs, making the service more accessible to more Queenslanders.

Established Child and Family committees to determine regional priorities for implementing the recommendations of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.

1.4 Financial summary

2013–14 financial summary

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services’ 2013–14 Statement of Assurance provided to the Director-General satisfies all requirements of section 57 of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009. It indicated no deficiencies or breakdowns in internal controls, which would impact adversely on the department’s financial governance or financial statements for the year.

The department continued to reduce the complexity of the accounting and human resources systems during 2013–14. The human resources systems have been reduced from two to one. The aim is to also operate out of one accounting system by the end of 2015–16, subject to whole-of-government timeframes.

Our income in 2013–14 was $2.392 billion, with the major sources of income provided by the Queensland and Australian governments for the provision of services.

During 2013–14, we received our income from:

  • services revenue: $2.322 billion
  • user charges: $10.036 million
  • grants and other contributions: $50.873 million
  • other revenue: $8.738 million.

Departmental income

Our income Amount
Departmental services revenue $2.32 billion
User charges $10.03 million
Grants and other contributions $50.87 million
Other revenue $8.73 million

Our department provides a wide range of services to the community, delivered largely by contracted NGOs. As a result, our two largest expense categories are grants to NGOs and employee expenses.

Our total operating expenses for 2013–14 were $2.372 billion, including:

  • employee expenses: $535.763 million
  • supplies and services (for example, property maintenance, general operating expenses and accommodation lease costs): $142.992 million
  • grants and subsidies: $1.651 billion
  • depreciation and amortisation expense: $31.679 million
  • other expenses (such as insurance costs; audit fees; and losses on disposal of property, plant and equipment) and asset revaluation decrement: $10.154 million.

Departmental expenses

Our expenses Amount
Employee expenses $535.76 million
Supplies and services $142.99 million
Grants and subsidies $1.65 billion
Depreciaton and amortisation $31.67 million
Other expenses $10.15 million

Our total assets as at 30 June 2014 were $563.718 million. The primary assets held by our department were properties utilised to:

  • support people with disability, including Accommodation and Respite Services
  • support the safety of children, including Residential Care facilities and Therapeutic Residential Care facilities
  • strengthen our communities, including Multi-Purpose and Neighbourhood Community Centres and Safe Havens.

The department’s assets also include intangible assets, primarily internally generated software and systems.

The value of our assets by category is as follows:

  • cash and cash equivalents: $99.011 million
  • receivables: $105.844 million
  • property, plant and equipment: $292.041 million
  • intangible assets: $60.825 million
  • other assets: $5.677 million
  • non-current assets classified as held for sale: $0.320 million.

The department’s cash at bank balance includes a Cashfund investment established with Queensland Treasury Corporation in February 2013 for the Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial. The balance of Cashfund investment as at 30 June is $15.433 million.

Our total liabilities as at 30 June 2013 are $127.090 million. Our liabilities consist primarily of trade creditors, grants payable and provisions for employee entitlements.

Figure 2: Comparison of published budget and actual expenses

Comparison of published and actual expenses

Liabilities by category are:

  • payables: $103.567 million
  • accrued employee benefits: $20.736 million
  • provisions and other liabilities: $2.787 million

In 2013–14, on behalf of the Queensland Government, we administered concession payments for electricity and reticulated natural gas, rate and water subsidies, electricity life support and home energy emergency assistance, as well as community recovery assistance. Income and expenditure on these activities is accounted for separately from our operating accounts.

The variance in actual expenses between 2013–14 and 2012–13 is mainly due to the transfer of homelessness functions to the Department of Housing and Public Works on 1 July 2013.

The variance in actual expenses between the 2013–14 Published Budget and Actual Expenses is mainly due to the transfer of homelessness functions to the Department of Housing and Public Works as well as timing differences in delivery of grants programs managed by the department.

We remain committed to managing financial risks and liabilities by reviewing our financial performance through our corporate governance framework. To help us manage risks, the Audit Committee oversees audit activities, audit recommendations, financial reporting and compliance and risk management practices.

We continue to operate in a tight fiscal environment, and it is imperative we make good financial decisions in resource allocation and expenditure. We will continue to review and improve our programs of service delivery to ensure they are achieving the most effective outcomes while delivering value for money.

For more information on our financial performance, please see Part 5: Financial statements.

1.5 Our structure

Departmental structure

Corporate and Executive Services provide strategic leadership for the department’s corporate systems, policies and practices and supports the delivery of services to clients.

The seven regions deliver disability, child safety and social investment services to individuals, families and communities across Queensland and coordinates and delivers a range of client-centred services by direct service delivery or through non-government organisations.

Projects and Reform leads the department’s renewal program and various strategic projects to deliver the significant changes that are underway across the sector to provide better services and better value for Queenslanders.

Strategic Policy and Programs lead the development of strategic policy and program investment and implementation of major reforms, to improve the sustainability of non-government organisations and innovation in the delivery of client services.

1.6 Our key governing body

The Executive Management Team (EMT) is responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the department’s performance. EMT is also responsible for the oversight of the department’s portfolio of programs and projects.

Further information on our governance structure is provided in Part 3: Business and governance processes.

Michael Hogan
Chair and Director-General

BA (Hons), LLB

Michael was appointed as Director-General, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in April 2014.

Michael has held various senior executive roles in the department and its predecessors, as well as in Premiers departments in both Queensland and New South Wales.

Michael also spent 10 years in the non-government sector. He commenced his career three decades ago when working on the reform of child welfare and juvenile justice legislation in New South Wales.

Kathy Dunning
Member and Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services

B.Bus. (Accounting)

Kathy commenced the role of Deputy Director-General, Corporate Services, Department of Communities in November 2009.

Previously, Kathy was Acting Deputy Director-General of Community and Youth Justice Services from March to November 2009; and General Manager, Service Delivery, Department of Communities from March 2007 to March 2009.

Prior to this, Kathy was in senior management roles over a 12-year period in Disability Services Queensland. During this time, she held the position of Executive Director, Programs and Community Specialist Services for six years, along with various positions as a Regional Director.

Tony Hayes
Member and Deputy Director-General, Projects and Reform

B.Bus. (Accountancy) Grad. Dip Exec. Mgmt, M. Admin

Tony has extensive experience across the Queensland public sector, most recently in Queensland Health, the former Service Delivery and Performance Commission and the Public Service Commission.

He has specialist experience and skills in strategic management and planning, organisational review and business process improvement, information and business strategy development, change management and project management.

Tony is also an Adjunct Professor to the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Queensland, and this year held the honorary position of International President for the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.

Cathy Taylor
Member and Acting Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs

LL.B, Grad Dip L.P., Executive Masters in Public Administration

Cathy commenced as Acting Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs in November 2013.

She has held senior roles in government since 2002, including General Manager, Youth Justice and Youth Development; Executive Director, Child Safety, Youth and Families Policy and Performance; and Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region.

Prior to joining government, Cathy practised in child and family law.

Michael Linnan
Member and Regional Executive Director, Far North Queensland Region

Member Australian Property Institute

Michael has more than 37 years’ experience in the public service. He started his career as a cadet valuer in the 1970s and held management and director roles in the Department of Lands; Department of Natural Resources and Mines; State Development; and Tropical North Queensland TAFE prior to joining the Department of Communities in 2006.

Bill Hatton
Member and Regional Executive Director, North Queensland Region

Dip T. B Spec Ed, Executive Masters in Public Administration

Bill has 35 years’ public sector experience, having held leadership roles in relation to the design and implementation of major reforms in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Bill was first appointed to a regional manager role in 1989. His experience includes child protection, youth justice, community services and community recovery in the public and non-government sectors.

Michael Shearer
Member and Regional Executive Director, Central Queensland Region

BHumanMovSt

Michael has over 28 years’ experience in the human services sector having worked within several Queensland Government departments throughout the state.

He has delivered, managed and led child protection, youth justice, social housing, disability, and community services throughout his career.

Michael is an ANZSOG fellow, a member of the Executive Leadership Network Central Region, participates in the Gladstone Region Community Development Committee and is Chair of the liveWELLCQ, a primary health and community services partnership.

Brent McCracken
Member and Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region

B.Soc Sc, Grad Dip in Ed, Executive Masters in Public Administration

Brent commenced as the Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region, in February 2013.

Brent has 30 years’ experience working in youth, disability and age care services in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales for both government agencies and NGOs.

Over recent years, Brent has worked extensively with NGOs to build strong, collaborative service delivery partnerships.

Merrilyn Strohfeldt
Member and Acting Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region

Executive Masters in Public Administration; Bachelor of Speech Therapy

Merrilyn has extensive experience in the delivery of disability services, health and rehabilitation services across Australian and state government jurisdictions, the not-for-profit sector, and private industry.

After joining the department in 2008 as Executive Director, Disability Programs and Reform, Merrilyn has worked in service delivery leadership roles for the last two years.

Amanda Currie
Member and Regional Executive Director, South East Region

B.Soc Sc (Human Services)

Amanda joined the then Department of Families, Youth and Community Care in 1995 as a Family Services Officer at the Inala and Goodna Offices.

She gained a wide range of policy development and implementation experience in areas as diverse as youth justice, child protection, and violence prevention.

In 2009, she was appointed Regional Director, Child Safety, Youth and Families in the Brisbane Region, and in 2012 was appointed Regional Executive Director, South East Region.

Brooke Winters
Member and Regional Executive Director, South West Region

BA, Grad Cert Mngt, MA (Hons)

Brooke has been with the public service since 1985, and has spent 19 years working in a wide range of fields within Corrective Services before joining the Department of Communities to manage the Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre and later the Brisbane Detention Centre.

She became the Regional Executive Director for the former Moreton and South West regions in 2007 and continues to work in the South West. In 2012, Brooke was awarded the inaugural National Emergency Medal for support to the community during the 2010–11 floods.

1.7 Our performance overview

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services 2013–2017 Strategic Plan outlines our priorities and indicators to revitalise frontline services for families. These priorities focus on four perspectives: client and community; business and governance processes; people; and finances.

The table below highlights some of our key achievements in relation to these perspectives.

Client and community:

  • results for clients
  • service use and access
  • customer satisfaction
  • service costs
  • administration and compliance costs.
  • Implemented significant improvements to the adoption process.
  • Supported Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children subject to ongoing intervention to be connected to their culture, families and communities, with 95 per cent of children having a cultural support plan.
  • Commenced development of reforms of the Transition from Care program that will include providing support to young people who were formerly in care to the age of 21.
  • Coordinated a statewide Christmas gift appeal for children and young people living away from home in Queensland, with 17,335 gifts donated.
  • Provided intensive early intervention support to 2305 families through the Referral for Active Intervention service.
  • Completed phase one of an out-of-home care audit, which reviewed the child protection orders of 877 children and young people.
  • Allocated $1.548 million to 350 community and volunteer groups for essential equipment required to help them support Queenslanders through the Caring for our Community initiative.
  • Allocated over $13.3 million in operating funds to over 120 neighbourhood centres.
  • Allocated over $208.264 million in concessions and subsidies to assist pensioners, seniors and veterans.
  • Launched the Queensland Youth Strategy Ambassador program.
  • Provided financial and non-financial support to disaster-impacted people following Tropical Cyclone Ita.
  • Released the Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19 to ensure that our investment is managed effectively and efficiently and achieves the best possible results for clients.
  • Invested $1.98 million in delivering training and resources for people with disability, families and disability service providers to help them prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Released the Queensland Disability Plan 2014–19: Enabling choices and opportunities, to prepare Queensland for the NDIS.
  • Supported 1104 people with disability who had decided to self-direct their support under Your Life Your Choice.
  • Held the Queensland Disability Conference and awards, with more than 550 people with disability, families, carers, advocates, disability service providers and government representatives attending.
  • Completed two funding rounds for the Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial, resulting in eight organisations being awarded over $7.18 million to create up to 61 places for adults with disability.
  • Provided $16.240 million to assist 175 people with disability through the Spinal Cord Injuries Response program.

Business and governance processes:

  • investment outcomes
  • meeting government commitments and legislative obligations
  • information systems.
  • Delivered two government commitments with the remaining 13 commitments on track to be delivered by their expected delivery date.
  • Transitioned 191 organisations to the Human Services Quality Framework.
  • Reduced and simplified funding laws, with three funding Acts reduced to one.
  • Processed over $1.4 billion in grant payments to over 1170 organisations, with 94 per cent of payments processed within four working days.
  • Strengthened ICT service delivery by: introducing a new collaboration platform; enabling additional functionality in desktop communications such as instant messaging and video conferencing; and embracing a cloud-first approach to sourcing ICT solutions.
  • Published in excess of 228 sets of data on the open data website.

People:

  • staff satisfaction
  • workforce measures
  • frontline staff caseloads.
  • Developed and commenced implementation of the 2013 Employee Opinion Survey Action Plan.
  • Supported staff to attend a wide range of skills and training programs, with 32,127 participations.
  • Endorsed a new Cultural Capability Framework to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures into every aspect of the department’s activities.
  • Continued our strong focus on client service, with 84.93 per cent of all staff employed in non-corporate positions.

Finances:

  • budget and establishment management measures
  • efficiency of services.
  • Managed the department’s total operating expenses of $2.372 billion and a total income of $2.392 billion.
  • Provided $1.651 billion in grants and subsidies.
  • Reduced the complexity of the accounting and human resource systems.

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Part 2: Client and community

2.1 Child safety

Child Safety Services leads the Queensland Government’s responsibility for child protection and adoption services, and provides services to protect children and young people who have been harmed or who are at risk of harm, and secures their future safety and wellbeing.

2.2 Effective services for children and young people

2.2.1 Adoption services

Adoption Services is responsible for providing services in Queensland for:

  • parents considering adoption for their children
  • children requiring adoptive placements
  • people seeking to adopt children
  • people seeking information or to lodge a contact statement in relation to a past adoption.

Adoption Services provides services in accordance with the requirements of the Adoption Act 2009 (PDF) and the Adoption Regulation 2009. (PDF)

In 2013–14, 36 children were adopted in Queensland, including 17 adopted from overseas.

Significant changes to improve services for clients have taken place during the past year, including:

  • concurrent assessment process for couples who have previously adopted and a streamlined process for the preparation of assessment reports and development of recommendations regarding suitability for all couples being assessed, which has reduced workload, duplication and timeframes for the completion of these reports
  • the reassessment process for couples assessed as suitable to adopt has been streamlined from a reassessment every two years to every four years
  • couples have greater flexibility to move their preference between local and inter-country adoption programs allowing Adoption Services to identify couples who meet the needs of specific children with complex needs
  • current clients who have provided certified identification documents are no longer required to provide further identification documents when requesting additional adoption information, such as mailbox forms or exchange of photographs.

2.3 Child protection services

2.3.1 Case planning

Case planning is the primary tool for managing ongoing departmental intervention for a child in need of protection. Each case plan provides a clear statement about why the child is in need of protection and the roles and responsibilities of those who will address the child’s protection and care needs.

As at 31 March 2014, 96 per cent of all children subject to ongoing intervention had a case plan.

Reasons for not having a case plan recorded could include:

  • the case is awaiting a family group meeting to develop a case plan
  • where a child protection order must be sought prior to developing a case plan.

2.3.2 Child health passports

A child health passport records a child or young person’s health information and provides carers with the information they need to meet the child’s day-to-day health needs.

The service ensures children and young people in out-of-home care who are subject to a child protection order with custody or guardianship to the Chief Executive receive effective health care, including dental care, visual and hearing screenings and an appraisal of their developmental milestones.

As at 31 March 2014, 96.5 per cent of eligible children living away from home had a child health passport commenced.

2.3.3 Cultural support plans

A cultural support plan is developed for children who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and are subject to ongoing intervention. The plan keeps children connected to their culture, families and communities regardless of where they are placed.

As at 31 March 2014, 95 per cent of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children subject to ongoing intervention had a cultural support plan.

2.3.4 Education support plans

Education support plans are a joint initiative between our department and the Department of Education, Training and Employment. The plan records each child’s education and learning needs and details where additional supports are required to help children in care reach their educational potential.

The plans are developed for each child and young person in out-of-home care and on a custody or guardianship order to the Chief Executive and enrolled in Prep to Year 12 at a state, Catholic or independent school.

At August 2012, 4068 (93 per cent) children in care had a plan either completed or under development, with planning yet to commence for the remaining 301 (seven per cent) of children.

Not all children subject to ongoing statutory intervention have an education support plan completed, due to a variety of factors, including children who have recently entered care or changed schools.

2.3.5 Evolve Interagency Services

In 2013–14, the department allocated $6.712 million to Disability Services and $17.092 million to the Department of Health to deliver the Evolve Interagency Services program.

The Evolve program provides therapeutic and behavioural support for children in out-of-home care with complex and severe needs who are under an interim or finalised child protection order granting custody or guardianship to the Chief Executive of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

The program aims to improve placement stability, educational engagement and community participation and decrease challenging behaviour.

The Department of Health’s Evolve Therapeutic Services provide Evolve services in 14 locations across the state while Disability Evolve Behaviour Support Services provide Evolve services in 11 locations across the state. A total of 1104 children with complex or severe needs accessed an Evolve service during 1 July 2013 to 31 March 2014.

2.3.6 Small group home residential care

The small group home program provides new or refurbished five-bedroom homes from which a departmentally funded residential care service operates.

In 2013–14, the program was effectively concluded with the completion of the last project in Ipswich.

The program provides homes in Burpengary, Cairns, Capalaba West, Coomera, Forestdale, Helensvale, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Loganlea, Mackay, Mount Isa, Nambour and Rockhampton.

2.3.7 Supporting foster and kinship carers

Foster and kinship carers are part of a team of people who work to provide safe and supportive environments for vulnerable children and young people who cannot stay at home because their parents are unable to look after them or they may be at risk of harm.

At 31 March 2014, there were 4759 approved carer families. Of these, 3393 were foster carers, 1271 were kinship carers and 95 were provisionally approved carers. These figures include 716 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer families.

The department and non-government foster and kinship care services provide support for foster and kinship carers such as:

  • formal carer training
  • access to a local carer support group
  • crisis response
  • financial support
  • home visits and supporting telephone calls
  • telephone support lines (e.g. the Foster and Kinship Care Support Line)
  • Foster and Kinship Carer Card
  • information and resources (e.g. the Foster and Kinship Carer Handbook and carer fact sheets)
  • respite placements.

In May 2014, the department transitioned management of the Foster Carer Recruitment Enquiry Line to Foster Care Queensland, which ensures that prospective carers can access the same expert advice, support and advocacy that Foster Care Queensland has offered other carers for 38 years.

Foster Care Queensland has been funded $225,000 to manage the recruitment line over two years.

In 2013–14, the department expended $118.756 million on carer allowances, including:

  • $99.046 million for the fortnightly caring allowance
  • $8.492 million for high support needs allowance
  • $11.218 million for complex support needs allowance.

In the same period:

  • $35.923 million in grant funding was provided to foster and kinship care services
  • $36.331 million to intensive foster carer services.

2.3.8 Transitional placements

Transitional placements (now known as Child Related Costs — Placements and Support) provide time-limited placements for children or young people while preparing them for less intensive and more sustainable placements.

The department funds both not-for-profit church and charitable organisations and for-profit private companies to provide these placements.

In 2013–14, the department expended $72.567 million on fee-for-service transitional placements. This funding provided placement and support packages for 762 children or young people.

As at 30 June 2014, there were 253 clients in transitional placement arrangements.

2.3.9 Transition from care

Young people transitioning from out-of-home care have unique needs that require targeted and specific intervention. The transition into adulthood is a critical developmental event, and they need support and services to guide them through this phase of their life.

The department provides support through a number of strategies to ensure young people transition to greater independence and stability, including:

  • Life Without Barriers Transition from Care Service in the Beenleigh, Goodna and Logan areas to assist young people leaving care to overcome barriers in accessing suitable education, training, employment, housing and health services
  • Youth Housing and Reintegration Service (12–21 years) and After Care Services (17–21 years), which focus on engaging young people in education, training and employment activities, as well as establishing and maintaining successful tenancies to ensure young people transition to greater independence and stability
  • Transition and Post Care Support Program to provide direct support to assist young people with disability aged 15–25 years during their transition from care and post-care to live in stable adult accommodation
  • Young People Exiting the Care of the State Program to ensure continuity of support for young people with disabilities when they turn 18 and leave care.

At 31 March 2014, there were 1186 young people aged 15 to 18 years eligible for transition from care planning as part of their case plan. Of these, planning had occurred for 71.9 per cent.

In 2013–14, we commenced the development of reforms of the Transition from Care program that will include providing support to young people who were formerly in care to the age of 21.

In partnership with CREATE Foundation Queensland, we have progressed the development of:

  • a program description
  • a transition plan to be used by young people to record their future goals and plans
  • a transition to independence training package targeted at departmental and non-government staff to build their skills and knowledge base.

2.3.10 Kids in Care Christmas Appeal

Since 2009, the department has coordinated a statewide Christmas gift appeal for children and young people living away from home in Queensland.

In 2013, the appeal was open from 18 November to 13 December using the theme ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.

With the support of ABC Local Radio, the appeal saw 17,335 gifts donated, 8683 more than the target amount and 6026 more gifts than the 2012 appeal.

The additional gifts were given to family support services for disadvantaged children and families known to the department.

2.4 Services that support vulnerable families

We are committed to developing and refining programs and responses to early intervention and prevention to reduce the risk of children and young people entering the child protection system.

2.4.1 Child Safety After Hours Service Centre

The department’s statewide Child Safety After Hours Service Centre is a 24-hour service providing after hours child protection frontline service delivery and responses to clients of Child Safety Services, the community, other government departments, and community agencies.

The service provides a statutory response to critical and immediate child protection issues with service delivery targeted at securing the child’s immediate safety and addressing presenting critical issues.

For the year ending 31 March 2014, 11,264 intakes (8.7 per cent of the department’s intakes) were received by the Child Safety After Hours Service Centre.

2.4.2 Counselling

Regional

As part of the government’s election commitment, $500,000 was allocated over four years to expand the Kids Helpline 24/7 telephone support service to support vulnerable 5–18-year-olds from remote and regional Queensland.

In 2013–14, Kids Helpline recorded a total of 37,664 telephone calls originating from Queensland. Where the location was able to be identified, the percentage of callers living in regional Queensland was 51 per cent, with 0.55 per cent of callers living in remote Queensland.

Sexual abuse

The department is providing funding of $250,000 each year for four years to Family Planning Queensland to deliver specialist counselling services in Far North Queensland for children who have experienced sexual abuse.

The counselling targets children and young people living in out-of-home care, as well as children not requiring ongoing intervention.

The service fulfilled the government’s election commitment and is expected to deliver more than 3500 hours of counselling per annum.

In the 12-month period to March 2014, the new service in Far North Queensland supported more than 100 clients.

Sexual abuse counselling services are also delivered in other regions by other funded non-government organisations (NGOs). In total, the department invested over $2.939 million in this service type in 2013–14.

The scope of sexual abuse counselling services has been expanded to include children and young people who display problem sexual behaviour or sexually abusive behaviour and are subject to ongoing intervention with a child protection order.

2.4.3 Evolve Behaviour Support Service

Evolve Behaviour Support: Early Intervention Service aims to prevent families relinquishing to the state the care of their child with disability due to the child’s challenging behaviours. The multidisciplinary service provides positive behaviour support, family support and education and training for parents.

Evolve works with the child, carers, family, school and other services supporting the child to respond to the child’s challenging behaviours.

In 2013–14, the Evolve Behaviour Support Service was funded for 11 FTE Early Intervention clinical positions across the state.

From 1 July 2013 to 31 March 2014, 137 families were provided with behaviour supports.

2.4.4 Family Intervention Services

The Family Intervention Services program is Queensland’s frontline intensive family support program for children and young people who require ongoing intervention and case management.

The program is delivered by a large range of NGOs to assist the department in keeping families together in their home, thereby avoiding placement in out-of-home care.

In 2013–14, the department allocated funding of $20.681 million to 52 Family Intervention Services to intensively support 1565 families.

2.4.5 Fostering Families

The Fostering Families initiative provides intensive, in-home and out-of-hours family support services to vulnerable families where a notification has been made to the department, primarily because of neglect.

The initiative focuses on developing practical skills in the family home and improving parenting skills, to reduce the need for ongoing intervention from the department.

The services are fully operational across Brisbane South, Maryborough and Toowoomba.

In 2013–14, 697 families were referred to Fostering Families services. As at 30 June 2014, the services were working with 381 families.

2.4.6 Referral for Active Intervention

The Referral for Active Intervention service provides intensive early intervention support to families with medium-high complex needs in 12 locations across Queensland.

The service delivers direct support to families, as well as referring the family to targeted family support services and specialist counselling services, to prevent the family entering or re-entering the child protection system.

As at 30 June 2014, services were supporting 2305 Queensland families by:

  • identifying needs and tailoring services and interventions to respond to those needs
  • ensuring integrated service delivery so children, young people and their families have access to the most appropriate support
  • providing intensive family support services, in-home care and brokerage.

2.5 Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

2.5.1 Family Support Services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Services are primarily early intervention services working with families to help reduce the risk and number of children who need to be removed from their home and families.

A key feature of the program is helping families when problems first emerge but also to have the capacity to respond to the needs of families where the department identifies a need for ongoing intervention.

In 2013–14, the department provided $9.126 million for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled early intervention family support program.

As at 30 June 2014, the program was working to engage or support 2053 families across the state.

2.5.2 Recognised Entities

The Child Protection Act 1999 requires that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families and communities receive services from the department that meet the cultural and identity needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and reflect the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, stemming from their history as Indigenous Australians.

Under the Act, when making a significant decision for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the recognised entity for that child must be given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $8.934 million per annum to deliver recognised entity services throughout Queensland. This means there is a recognised entity service available for participation and consultation to staff at each of the department’s child safety service centres.

2.5.3 Safe Havens

Safe Haven services are a joint state and Australian Government initiative.

The initiative aims to reduce the impact of domestic and family violence on children, young people and their families and keep children, young people and their families from entering or re-entering the statutory system in Cherbourg, Coen, Mornington Island and Palm Island.

In 2013–14, the department:

  • finalised design work on the Mornington Island Women’s Resource Centre
  • supported the Department of Housing and Public Works in gaining Mornington Island Shire Council approval to progress the development of the Mornington Island Women’s Resource Centre
  • reviewed the design and use of the Mornington Island NGO staff accommodation project
  • supported the Department of Housing and Public Works in working towards the resolution of Native title issues
  • reviewed and progressed projects planned for the Coen community in collaboration with the Australian Government.

2.5.4 Safe Houses

A child safety Safe House provides a dwelling for the care and support of up to six children and/or young people in statutory care (aged 0–17 years) in remote Indigenous communities. This enables the child to be placed within their community, facilitating community connection and stability, and family contact while their child protection needs are being assessed.

Safe House services are located at Aurukun, Bamaga (also supporting the Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico communities), Doomadgee, Kowanyama, Lockhart River (also supporting the Hope Vale, Laura and Wujal Wujal communities), Mornington Island, Napranum, Palm Island, and Pormpuraaw. One final Safe House is planned for the Torres Strait islands.

2.6 Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry reforms

2.6.1 Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry outcomes

The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry report, Taking Responsibility: A Roadmap for Queensland Child Protection,was released on 1 July 2013. The roadmap outlines a 10-year plan for:

  • reducing the number of children in the child protection system
  • revitalising frontline services and family support
  • refocusing oversight on learning.

On 16 December 2013, the Queensland Government committed to implementing the reform roadmap by accepting all of the report’s recommendations, 115 in full and six in-principle.

Reform outcomes

The reforms aim to achieve the following long-term outcomes:

  • a society where everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for protecting children
  • a society where parents and families are supported to care for and protect their children
  • a service system that provides support and assistance earlier to prevent children and families entering the tertiary child protection system
  • a service system that meets the requirements and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities
  • a service system that improves outcomes for children in the tertiary system and provides value for money
  • a skilled and supported community services workforce.

Legislative reforms

On 20 March 2014, three Child Protection Bills were introduced to State Parliament as part of the first stage of legislative reforms to help build a new child and family support system:

  • Public Guardian Bill 2014
  • Family and Child Commission Bill 2014
  • Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill 2014.

The Bills were assented to on 28 May 2014 and became Acts of Parliament.

The reforms to the child protection system to commence from 1 July 2014 include:

  • a new Office of the Public Guardian
  • a new Family and Child Commission
  • a new multidisciplinary, independent panel to assume child death review functions
  • administration of working with children checks transferred to the Public Safety Business Agency.

Changes to the Child Protection Act 1999 that have been passed and will commence in early 2015 include:

  • clarification about when and how to report concerns to Child Safety
  • consolidation of mandatory reporting requirements into the Child Protection Act 1999
  • enabling prescribed entities to directly refer children and families to support services to prevent children becoming in need of protection.

Reform activity

In the first six months of 2014, the department:

  • designed a new Community Based Intake and Referral model in collaboration with key stakeholders (Recommendation 4.5)
  • completed phase one of an Out-of-Home Care Audit, which reviewed the Child Protection Orders of 877 children and young people (Recommendation 4.10)
  • completed the first phase of a stocktake of family support services to inform future investment in intensive secondary family support services (Recommendation 5.1)
  • established a Stakeholder Advisory Group comprising representatives from the non-government sector (Recommendation 6.2)
  • established a Practice Leadership Unit to drive practice improvements across the department (Recommendation 7.1)
  • increased dual payment respite care days for children with high and complex support needs from 52 to 78 days per calendar year (Recommendation 8.6)
  • established Regional Child and Family Committees across the state to oversee the implementation of the reforms at the local level (Recommendation 12.4).

Child Safety Officers

The department is committed to reducing the case loads of Child Safety Officers.

To do this, the department:

  • will ease the statutory workload through investment in secondary services
  • has committed funding for an extra 77 direct service delivery staff in Child Safety Services
  • is rolling out a new strength based child protection practice framework.

The department currently offers a Certificate IV Child, Youth and Family Intervention qualification to 28 Child Safety Support Officers.

Frontline child safety supervisors also have access to the department’s REACH program, which aims to develop supervisor knowledge and skills through a range of face-to-face and online training modules.

Our Child Safety Officer training ensures Queensland has a skilled child protection workforce that meets legislative and policy requirements and provides culturally appropriate practice.

2.7 Future directions

In 2014–15 we will:

  • introduce a collaborative case management approach that includes a single case plan and use of a lead professional to support families facing complex issues (Recommendation 5.7)
  • implement a new practice framework to support practitioners in their work with families and children (Recommendations 7.1 and 10.2)
  • revitalise early intervention specialist mental health services for children in and at risk of entering the statutory child protection system, including those still at home (Recommendation 7.8)
  • evaluate a pilot therapeutic residential care program to inform further development of the Therapeutic Residential Care Service model and development of a trauma-informed Therapeutic Framework (Recommendations 8.7 and 8.8)
  • commence new programs to assist young people in care to successfully transition to independence and adulthood (Recommendation 9.2)
  • provide new training pathways to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to attain qualifications to become Child Safety Officers (Recommendation 10.5)
  • appoint Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Leaders to drive culturally responsive practice throughout all levels of the department (Recommendation 10.8)
  • commence operation of a new, independent and multidisciplinary Child Death Case Review Panel with streamlined processes and a focus on learning (Recommendation 12.11)
  • propose further legislative amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 to improve placement stability and efficiencies in court resources and processes
  • implement changes to the Child Protection Act 1999 from 1 January 2015, which:
    • clarify when a report may be made to Child Safety about a child
    • consolidate mandatory reporting requirements
    • enable prescribed entities, not just the department, to directly refer children and families to service providers
  • continue to fund Foster and Kinship Carer Allowances as part of the $25.1 million commitment over four years
  • provide $375,000 for counselling services for victims of child abuse and sexual assault, including access to telephone counselling for children from regional areas
  • deliver the Mornington Safe Haven Women’s shelter, which provides culturally appropriate services to respond to the safety needs of children, young people and their families
  • continue to establish Safe Houses to provide a safe place for Indigenous children in the statutory child protection system to remain in their communities, while their longer-term needs are assessed.

2.8 Community Services

Community Services leads social investment reform, including red tape reduction, and coordinates cross-government policy in relation to volunteering, carers, older people, youth and women.

Community Services leads policy and manages program investment in services to support vulnerable individuals, families and communities, including young people, women experiencing domestic and family violence and older people.

2.9 Fund effective community support services for vulnerable Queenslanders

2.9.1 Carers

The Office for Seniors, Carers and Volunteering is Queensland Government’s main contact point for carers’ issues.

The office engages with other government departments, NGOs and the community to raise awareness about carers and embed Carers Charter principles in government and community activity. It also provides secretariat support to the Queensland Carers Advisory Council.

Carers (Recognition) Act

The Carers (Recognition) Act 2008 recognises the valuable contribution carers make to the people they care for, and the social and economic benefit carers provide to the community.

The Act sets out requirements for public authorities to recognise and support carers through services to them and the people they care for, and also for employees of public authorities who undertake a caring role, specifically through the:

  • Carers Charter, which contains 13 principles recognising the significant contribution carers make to the community
  • Queensland Carers Advisory Council, which advises the Minister on matters relating to carers and works to advance carers’ interests.

More information on the Queensland Carers Advisory Council can be found at Appendix 3.

2.9.2 Carer Business Discount Card

The Carer Business Discount Card provides eligible carers with discounts on goods and services from participating businesses. This scheme is a partnership between the state government and businesses across Queensland.

As at 30 June 2014, there were 4432 businesses across Queensland participating in the scheme and providing discounts to over 20,450 carers.

2.9.3 Companion Card

The Companion Card promotes fair ticketing for people with disability who need significant assistance from a companion to attend activities and venues in their community.

As at 30 June 2014, there were over 12,890 Companion Card holders and over 760 affiliated businesses and venues providing two tickets for the price of one to activities and entertainment.

2.9.4 Carers Week

Carers Week is a national celebration of carers and the role they play in our communities. The department provided Carers Queensland with $10,400 to support regional activities during the week, which was held between 13 and 19 October 2013.

The theme for the week was ‘Be Care Aware’.

2.10 Community support

2.10.1 Caring for Our Community

The Queensland Government has committed $4 million over three years from 2012–13 to assist community and volunteer groups to purchase essential equipment to enhance service delivery.

In 2013–14, funds of $1.548 million were allocated to 350 community and volunteer groups for essential equipment required to help them support Queenslanders.

Another 23 groups in drought-affected areas received a total of $86,083 for drought-community support measures.

We have provided over 700 grants since the initiative began.

2.10.2 Counselling and support services

The department funds a number of counselling and other support services to assist vulnerable individuals with a wide range of issues, including family and relationship issues; coping with chronic illness; and personal crisis and trauma-related conditions.

In 2013–14, the department allocated funding of $2.883 million for 26 Generalist Counselling services, which provided over 80,000 occasions of information, advice and referral.

Funding of $5.2 million was allocated to 15 Gambling Help services to provide support for problem gamblers. Over 3000 calls were made to the Gambling Help Line.

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services administers the funds on behalf of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

2.10.3 Emergency relief

The department allocated $1.828 million to 88 funded organisations to distribute emergency relief through 138 service outlets across the state.

Funding of $800,808 was also provided to Foodbank to distribute donated goods to an average of 230 NGOs per quarter.

2.10.4 Neighbourhood Centres and Community Facilities

Neighbourhood Centres respond to the needs of local communities, with a priority on vulnerable individuals and families.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $13.337 millionin operating funds to over 120 neighbourhood centres.

Capital projects and grants totalling $1.622 million contributed to the development of community facilities in Chinchilla, Mount Isa, Redcliffe and Townsville.

2.10.5 Public intoxication

The Public Intoxication Program supports vulnerable people who are intoxicated in public spaces and are at risk of incarceration or harm.

In 2013–14, a total of $19.169 million was allocated to 40 services across seven initiatives: Addressing Volatile Substance Misuse; Cell Visitor; Community Patrol; Diversion Centre; Managing Public Intoxication; Drink Safe Precinct and Reducing Demand. This includes six men’s support services in Indigenous communities.

2.11 Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence is a serious and complex issue that affects many Queenslanders, their families and communities.

The department funds a range of initiatives to support people affected by domestic and family violence, including court support services, specialist counselling for adults and children, perpetrator intervention programs and a statewide telephone helpline.

The department funds prevention and early intervention initiatives, programs to raise community awareness about domestic violence and a statewide research centre to ensure responses to this complex issue are evidence-based.

2.11.1 Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month

Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month is held during May each year to raise community awareness of domestic and family violence and available support services.

2.11.2 Make the Call

Make the Call is the department’s three-year social marketing campaign, which aims to address some of the social barriers that may discourage people from seeking help to address and prevent domestic and family violence.

Phase two of the campaign ran in 2014, encouraging anyone concerned that someone they know might be experiencing abuse within their relationship, to call DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811 or Mensline on 1800 600 636 for confidential advice on how to support that person’s safety.

During the campaign period in 2014, there was an 11.6 per cent increase in the total number of calls received by DVConnect compared to the same period in 2013.

2.11.3 DVConnect

DVConnect provides free assistance to women, men, children and their pets affected by domestic and family violence across Queensland.

DVConnect can provide crisis intervention, support, information, counselling, referrals and access to emergency refuge for women and children escaping domestic and family violence across Queensland.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $2.508 million to the DVConnect helpline that offers three statewide telephone lines:

  • Womensline: for women experiencing domestic and family violence
  • Mensline: for men affected by domestic violence as either victims or perpetrators
  • Serviceline: for professionals such as the police, hospital emergency departments and refuge staff to receive information and assistance in responding to domestic and family violence concerns.

In 2013–14, DVConnect received 52,658 calls for assistance. This comprised 38,441 calls to Womensline, 4638 calls to Mensline and 9579 calls to the Serviceline. In addition to the calls received during this period, police referred 3755 individuals to DVConnect for support via SupportLink, an online e-referral tool.

2.11.4 National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010–2022

The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010–2022 is a 12-year plan that brings together Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the broader community to make a significant and sustained reduction in violence against women and their children.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (previously called the National Centre of Excellence), established under the national plan, links researchers, policy makers and practitioners to develop evidence-based responses to reduce sexual, domestic and family violence across Australia.

The department contributes more than $307,000 annual funding to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety through the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research.

2.12 Seniors

The department, through the Office for Seniors, Carers and Volunteering, has the lead role across government for ageing and older people’s issues.

We are committed to ensuring the needs, interests and concerns of seniors are heard and responded to. We work in partnership with other government departments, seniors organisations, service providers and academia, to develop programs that respond to the needs of seniors.

The department is scoping options for the renewal of older people’s programs.

2.12.1 Concessions

In 2013–14, the department allocated $208.264 million to assist pensioners, seniors and veterans, including:

  • $50.927 million for the Pensioner Rate Subsidy scheme to assist approximately 271,900 households
  • $128.250 million for the Electricity Rebate scheme to assist over 488,000 households.

These concessions are designed to help Queenslanders reduce the cost of regular household bills, access essential services, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

2.12.2 Elder Abuse Prevention Unit and helpline

The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit includes a free statewide telephone helpline, the Elder Abuse Helpline (1300 651 192), which provides seniors who are at risk of and/or experiencing elder abuse with information and support.

In 2013–14, the unit was allocated $474,690 and responded to 1221 telephone calls and emails, relating to 1530 abuse cases/relationships.

The department’s Make the Call domestic and family violence prevention campaign extends to promote elder abuse prevention in June to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.

The campaign focuses on encouraging friends, family, colleagues and neighbours of older people who may be experiencing elder abuse to contact the Elder Abuse Helpline for advice and support.

The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit reported a 49 per cent increase in calls to the helpline for January to June 2014, compared to the previous six months.

2.12.3 Older People’s Action Program

The Older People’s Action Program assists seniors at risk of social isolation.

As part of the program, the department provides funds to 21 NGOs in various locations across the state to:

  • assist seniors to increase their social participation
  • reduce fear of crime and increase their sense of safety and security in their communities.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $1.412 million to fund 21 services under the program to reduce social isolation.

2.12.4 Seniors Card programs

The Seniors Card scheme comprising the Seniors Card, Seniors Card + go and the Seniors Business Discount Card helps to reduce the cost of living expenses for eligible older Queenslanders.

The Seniors Card scheme provides access to a range of concessions as well as discounts on travel, accommodation, hospitality, retail, entertainment, leisure and further education.

In 2013–14, there were over 635,000 Senior Card holders and over 90,000 Senior Business Card holders in Queensland.

As at 30 June 2014, 75 per cent of eligible persons (60 years of age and over) were current holders of a Seniors Card or a Seniors Business Discount Card.

The Seniors Card and Seniors Business Discount Card are delivered through Smart Service Queensland.

2.12.5 Seniors Enquiry Line

The Seniors Enquiry Line (1300 135 500) is a statewide information and referral service. For the cost of a local call, the Seniors Enquiry Line gives Queensland seniors, their family, friends, grandparents and carers access to information on concessions, social activities, independent living, health, finance, retirement and support services for seniors.

The Seniors Enquiry Line provided information to or referral for 17,027 enquiries during 2013–14.

Seniors Legal and Support Services are staffed by solicitors and social workers who assist older people who are at risk of and/or experiencing elder abuse or financial exploitation.

In 2013–14, five Seniors Legal and Support Services across the state were allocated $2.4 million and provided advice, referral and support activities on 3591 occasions.

2.12.7 60 and Better Program

The 60 and Better Program supports older people to develop and manage healthy ageing programs in their own communities.

The program offers participants a mix of physical, social and intellectual activities that support people to make connections with others and their communities. Activities include exercise programs, health talks, craft activities, theatre groups, card games and opportunities to explore information technology.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $1.321 million to 23 services funded under the 60 and Better Program to promote active ageing.

2.12.8 Older Women’s Network

The Older Women’s Network promotes access to information, discussion and action on topics such as healthy ageing, negative images of older women, housing and transport needs, companionship and dealing with loss and change.

The department allocated $92,721 in 2013–14 to support a range of services to facilitate the active participation of women in the management of their own health and wellbeing and to promote health equity between all women by targeting vulnerable women.

2.12.9 Older Men’s Groups

Older Men’s Groups are delivered in Hervey Bay and Toowoomba. This service responds to the mental health needs of older men and assists with reducing social isolation.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $178,740 to provide information, support, social and personal development activities and counselling to older men.

2.12.10 Senior’s peak

The Council on the Ageing Queensland (COTA Queensland) is funded as the senior’s peak organisation and works to improve frontline services for older Queenslanders in partnership with the government.

The department allocated $124,993 in 2013–14 to COTA Queensland to disseminate information to the seniors sector, build the capacity of older people’s services, and provide input into the development and implementation of policies and programs.

2.12.11 Seniors Week

The department implemented a promotional campaign aimed at increasing awareness of and participation in Seniors Week activities, as well as encouraging mutual respect between older and younger Queenslanders.

COTA Queensland was allocated $128,825 to plan, market, run and subsidise Seniors Week events in 2014. A further $16,000 per annum was allocated to COTAQ over two years to develop and distribute Seniors Week marketing material in March 2014.

Seniors Week 2013 was held from 17–25 August. COTA Queensland created partnerships with 213 organisations, which resulted in 320 events and activities across Queensland.

Subsidies to a maximum of $1000 were provided to 100 organisations, which between them held 116 events.

2.13 Support for grandparents

2.13.1 Time for Grandparents program

In 2013–14, the department allocated $753,113 to UnitingCare Community to deliver the Time for Grandparents program, which provides respite for grandparents raising children by funding and facilitating access to recreational camps and day activities.

The grandfamily camps for children and their grandparents provide:

  • safe and enjoyable recreational activities for both grandparents and grandchildren, which are run by qualified instructors
  • information sessions on parenting issues, finances and legal matters
  • a range of individual and group counselling sessions
  • information about local support systems and services available in the community.

In 2013–14, 133 grandparents and 155 grandchildren attended the camps with 649 activities conducted for the children.

More than 3700 calls to the Grandparents Info Line and 3330 calls regarding the program were also received.

2.13.2 Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day 2013 was held on 27 October with the theme ‘Make Your Grandparent’s Day!’

Grandparents Day celebrates the special contribution grandparents make to their families and communities and is an opportunity for everyone to give back to grandparents and acknowledge the enormous role they play in helping our families and communities.

The department provided a range of free resources to help with celebrations, including posters, postcards and downloadable certificates of recognition for grandparents.

2.14 Volunteering

Volunteers enrich Queensland communities and help individuals and community organisations every day. Volunteers build strong, healthy and inclusive communities, and the department delivers a number of programs to support Queensland’s volunteers.

The department, through the Office for Seniors, Carers and Volunteering, aims to:

  • increase volunteering and support the sustainability of volunteering in Queensland
  • engage the general population and specific population groups in volunteering
  • support good practice in Queensland Government volunteer programs
  • improve NGOs’ knowledge and skill to attract and retain volunteers
  • support effective coordination of volunteers during disasters
  • provide access to up-to-date information and resources for volunteers and community organisations.

2.14.1 National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week was held from 12–18 May 2014 and is the largest celebration of volunteers in Australia.

The department allocated $22,500 to Volunteering Queensland to deliver five National Volunteer Week events, engaging 295 participants and promoting 27 state-based events. Events included the annual One Big Thank You launch event.

2.14.2 Volunteering Queensland

In 2013–14, we allocated $393,531 to Volunteering Queensland to:

  • identify, promote and link volunteers with volunteering opportunities
  • build the capacity of community organisations to continue to attract and retain volunteers
  • raise awareness, provide advice and referrals to support volunteer activities across Queensland
  • register volunteers to the Emergency Volunteering Community Response to Extreme Weather service during disasters.

2.15 Women

The department aims to address the multiple layers of disadvantage still experienced by women who are more vulnerable to poverty and exclusion, by developing and informing government policies, programs and services.

The department is scoping options for the renewal of women’s programs.

2.15.1 International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day 2014 was celebrated on 8 March with the theme, ‘Opportunity is Knocking’.

New opportunities emerging for women in tourism, agriculture, resources and construction were promoted across the state.

Events across Queensland brought women together to recognise the contribution women make to our society. The day was also marked by lighting up of the Story Bridge in purple and green.

The 2014 campaign included the development of resources and activities for schools that aligned with the history and society and environment curriculums, as well as infographics that highlighted key statistics and information about Queensland women.

2.15.2 Sexual Assault Services

Sexual Assault Services are funded to support adults who have experienced sexual assault to rebuild their lives.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $5.876 million to 20 funded organisations to assist adults, predominantly women, via holistic support, including advocacy and sexual assault counselling.

The Sexual Assault Services contribute to Queensland’s commitments under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010–2022.

2.15.3 Women’s Health Services

Women’s Health Services are funded to promote the health and wellbeing of women.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $4.133 million to 13 funded organisations to facilitate the active participation of women in the management of their own health and wellbeing.

The Women’s Health Services contribute to Queensland’s commitments under the National Women’s Health Policy 2012.

Women’s Infolink provides free and confidential information and referral services about government agencies and community services supporting women. Women’s Infolink responds to women’s issues, queries and problems by providing confidential support and referral options through the free-call telephone service (1800 177 577) and our web-based services.

In 2013–14, we received approximately 123,715 information queries through Women’s Infolink, including 114,959 website views and over 8756 referrals provided through free-call telephone, email and web services.

2.16 Young people

Through the implementation of theQueensland Youth Strategy: Connecting Young Queenslanders, the department directs whole-of-government effort through six key areas of connection for young people: families, friends and social networks; education, training and employment; health and wellbeing; volunteering and participation; supports and services; and arts and culture.

The department invests in youth development and leadership programs and support services targeting Queensland’s most vulnerable young people.

2.16.1 Youth preventive support

We have a range of initiatives designed to provide preventive support and development for young people, especially vulnerable young people, Indigenous young people, and those at risk of offending and/or homelessness.

Youth renewal

The review of investment in youth services was completed to ensure young Queenslanders receive high-quality support and assistance.

A new results-based investment and service delivery approach was announced on 13 May 2014 with a focus on purchasing and providing three service types: access, support, and integrated response services.

Implementation commenced in the Central Queensland and North Coast regions, with support provided to organisations in those regions to begin delivering services under the new approach from 1 October 2014.

Youth at Risk initiative

The Youth at Risk Initiative responds to vulnerable young people aged between 10 and 25 years and works to target resources where they are needed most.

The initiative also supports young people with complex and multiple needs to address risk factors that may result in harm, poor health outcomes, homelessness, offending or the need for intervention by the department.

During 2013–14, the department allocated $12.2 million to deliver more than 150,000 hours of direct support to young people through over 100 services under the initiative.

Youth Housing and Reintegration Service and After Care Service

These programs assist young people who are at risk of homelessness, or who are homeless and are transitioning from or recently exited statutory care, to access and maintain affordable housing, or access housing options, including community housing youth studio units.

In 2013–14, 299 new referrals were accepted by the Youth Housing and Reintegration Service. In the same period, 300 referrals were accepted by the After Care Service.

Youth Support Coordinator initiative

This initiative targets young people who are at risk of disengaging, or who have recently disengaged from school.

Youth Support Coordinators work in schools to provide support and counselling to students in the school environment, and link students to relevant support services in their community.

In the six months to 31 December 2013, Youth Support Coordinators commenced approximately 2845 new case support plans for young people, with approximately 4700 cases receiving support during this period. Of those, 58 per cent recorded having improved educational outcomes.

In 2013–14, we jointly funded the initiative with the Department of Education, Training and Employment contributing $6.976 million to the initiative to 31 December 2013.

From 1 January 2014, the initiative transitioned to the direct administration of the Department of Education, Training and Employment with investment directed to schools to fund locally determined responses for vulnerable young people in senior levels of schooling.

2.16.2 Youth development, leadership and engagement

We continued our initiatives and services aimed at providing young people with an opportunity to participate in their communities, and in making decisions that have a positive impact on their lives.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program provides opportunities for young people to engage in four learning and development challenges: physical recreation; skills; volunteering; and adventurous journey.

On 1 July 2013, the program was transferred to the Department of Education, Training and Employment.

Indigenous Youth Leadership program

The Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership program is an exciting opportunity for young Indigenous Queenslanders aged 18–25 years to develop leadership skills and learn about Queensland’s democratic processes.

In 2013–14, in partnership with Glencore and the Queensland Parliament, we supported 42 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to participate in the program and provided:

  • intensive leadership workshops facilitated by Indigenous community leaders
  • mentoring and networking opportunities
  • a civil leadership experience through the inaugural Eric Deeral Indigenous Youth Parliament program
  • career development days.

National Youth Week

National Youth Week is Australia’s largest celebration of and for young people aged between 12–25 years. In 2014, National Youth Week was held from 4–13 April with the theme ‘Our Voice, Our Impact’.

We allocated $70,000 to complement Australian Government funding to support a diverse range of events across Queensland, including music festivals, dance events and art workshops. In total 78 events were held across the state with an estimated attendance of 10,300 young people.

Queensland Youth Strategy Ambassadors

The Queensland Youth Strategy Ambassador program was launched during National Youth Week in April 2014. The program seeks young people aged 12–21 years who exemplify the areas of connection as detailed in the Queensland Youth Strategy: Connecting Young Queenslanders.

Safer Schoolies Initiative

The Safer Schoolies Initiative aims to manage the influx of young people holidaying in key Queensland tourist destinations for their end of school holidays.

The initiative has been effective in minimising harm and reducing high-risk, antisocial behaviour through the delivery of diversionary activities, enhanced safety and support services, and increasing school-leavers’ awareness around safe and responsible behaviour.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $1.306 million in funding for the initiative, enabling the delivery of:

  • a statewide grants program to support the delivery of Schoolies Community Safety Responses in Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island and Yeppoon, as well as accommodation outreach services in key locations across the state
  • the Gold Coast Schoolies Community Safety Response
  • a statewide communication campaign, including in-school information sessions, and development of the Be Safe and Watch Your Mates — Schoolies DVD, which was distributed to schools and key Queensland Police Service contacts to support in-school information sessions.

In 2013, over 325 information sessions were presented to Queensland Year 12 students in the lead-up to Schoolies and more than 27,000school-leavers accessed diversionary activities and support services during Schoolies.

YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament

Queensland Youth Parliament brings together a diverse group of young people to learn about parliamentary processes and to debate policy and legislation affecting young people in Queensland.

Participants represent each of the 89 state electorates in Queensland plus four Indigenous electorates.

In 2013–14, we funded YMCA Queensland for 93 young people to learn about the parliamentary process, form working groups and committees to guide their activities through the program, and develop Bills to be debated in the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament.

2.17 Ensure community recovery activities promote resilient individuals and communities

The department is the lead agency for human and social community recovery in the event of a disaster. This includes:

  • coordinating support for the provision of emotional, social and physical wellbeing
  • developing financial assistance packages for individuals, families and NGOs under the joint Commonwealth and State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

2.17.1 Community recovery efforts

Following Tropical Cyclone Ita on 11 April 2014, the Personal Hardship and Assistance Scheme was activated to provide assistance to impacted people in Ayton, Bloomfield, Cooktown, Helenvale, Hope Vale, Laura, Lizard Island, Rossvale and Wujal Wujal.

Other assistance included:

  • 912 telephone calls to clients
  • 582 outreach site visits
  • approximately 400 client face-to-face service contact hours.

Financial assistance provided to disaster-impacted people as at 30 June 2014 included:

  • 72 Immediate Hardship Assistance payments to a value of $25,200
  • 85 Emergent Household Contents Grants to a value of $105,460
  • 10 Essential Services Safety Reconnection Scheme Grant applications have been received with six paid totalling $4232
  • 27 applications for Structural Assistance Grants have been received, six have been completed to a total value of $26,950 and a further nine have been approved for progression, with four no longer being progressed as a result of ineligibility.

As a part of providing support to affected communities, additional emergency relief funding has been extended within the Individual Support Program to Cooktown District Community Centre and Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre.

The department’s human and social recovery response has involved partner agencies, including UnitingCare Community and Red Cross to deliver a range of personal support and psychosocial services to disaster-impacted people.

The ongoing response to Tropical Cyclone Oswald will continue delivering long-term programs in Bundaberg and North Burnett until June 2015.

2.17.2 Financial counselling

Financial counselling helps clients effectively plan and manage their financial circumstances and build emotional resilience following a disaster-related event, such as flooding.

Part of our ongoing response to Tropical Cyclone Ita is the additional counselling and support services that have been negotiated with the Cooktown District Community Centre and Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre into the next financial year.

2.17.3 Community recovery operational practices

The Queensland Government approved the Community Recovery Reforms in October 2013, providing key practice changes that included:

  • targeted activation
  • more effective applicant triage
  • the de-linking of grant payments
  • better targeting of financial support to those most vulnerable
  • fraud reduction strategies
  • the primary use of outreach and mobile recovery hub service delivery methods.

2.18 Continue strong partnerships with non-government stakeholders and facilitate enterprise, innovation and workforce and industry development

2.18.1 Social investment blueprint

In 2013–14, the department invested approximately $1.4 billion in services delivered by NGOs.

The Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19, which was released in June 2014, describes reforms to ensure that this substantial investment is managed effectively and efficiently and achieves the best possible results for clients.

Blueprint commitments also describe how the department will implement Queensland Government policies such as the Social Services Investment Framework and respond to relevant Commission of Audit recommendations.

The blueprint includes priorities to strengthen partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders, to promote innovation and to build a dynamic workforce. Implementation has commenced against all blueprint priorities.

2.18.2 Community Services Partnership Forum

The Community Services Partnership Forum provides a platform for the department to engage and work with the non-government sector and other stakeholders to improve service delivery and outcomes for targeted client groups.

During 2013–14, forum members provided advice on the Queensland digital economy strategy, the department’s renewal strategy, social investment reform agenda and open data strategy. Sector participants also led research and forum discussions to promote place-based service response and collective impact and build the capability of NGOs within capital constraints.

2.18.3 Workforce and industry development

The department finalised its investment of $1.9 million to the Sector Readiness and Workforce Capacity Initiative to help NGOs prepare for and respond to reforms and changing needs in the sector.

In 2013–14, 274 sector workers undertook skill sets and 132 undertook training in full qualifications through the initiative. In addition, 57 workshops were convened to provide non-accredited training to people with disabilities, their families and carers.

We also developed an online business development package tailored to the needs of community sector organisations. The package will be a lasting legacy for service providers to use to better respond to cost pressures, major reforms and changing client and community needs.

An analysis of current sector capability building commenced to identify further capability gaps and inform optimisation of future sector investment.

2.19 Future directions

In 2014–15 we will:

  • announce a new framework for the Business Discount Scheme for seniors and carers
  • provide $1.3 million in grants for community and volunteer groups for essential equipment such as computers, upgraded software and white goods through the Caring for Our Community grants
  • invest $10.5 million for community facilities in Chinchilla, Mount Isa, Townsville and Redcliffe to provide access to support services, and an entry point to more targeted support services
  • invest in new or enhanced domestic and family violence services to support child and family reforms
  • deliver the Queensland Youth Strategy initiatives
  • provide information, support, case management and coordination of community resilience building strategies as part of the Drought Assistance Package
  • continue to deliver commitments within the Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint (e.g. establish a social finance expert group)
  • work with education and social services industry representatives to respond to research findings regarding capability development priorities.

2.20 Disability Services

Disability Services invests and provides services for people with disability, their families and carers. The services are supported by legislative, policy and program teams. Specialist disability services are delivered by our department and non-government service providers that we fund.

2.21 Lead and facilitate Queensland’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will commence in Queensland in July 2016 and provide eligible Queenslanders with lifetime coverage for the costs of reasonable and necessary disability care and support.

By 2019, when the scheme is fully implemented, an estimated 97,000 eligible Queenslanders will be accessing disability supports through the NDIS.

2.21.2 Transition preparation activities

On 8 May 2013, the Queensland Government signed a Heads of Government Agreement with the Australian Government for full implementation of the NDIS. This agreement followed the announcement of an additional $868 million investment in disability services as part of the state’s commitment to the scheme.

In 2013–14, $25 million of the $868 million was made available a year earlier than planned to meet critical demand pressures. This funding has delivered additional accommodation and support services, assisted young people with disability to move from the care of the state into supported accommodation, and provided immediate responses to urgent situations.

In 2013–14, $1.98 million was invested in delivering training and resources for people with disability, families and disability service providers to help them prepare for the consumer-driven NDIS market.

Planning also commenced for an agreement between the Australian and Queensland governments, which is anticipated to be in place by December 2014. The plan will set out arrangements for eligible people with disability to transition to the scheme between 2016 and 2019.

In 2013–14, planning commenced for a Queensland Sector NDIS Workforce Strategy and a Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NDIS Workforce Strategy. These strategies will assist organisations to attract and retain skilled workers to meet the expected increased workforce demand of 13,000 more jobs.

The Queensland NDIS Planning and Implementation Group met five times during 2013–14 to provide advice to the Queensland Government on the transition to the NDIS. More information on the Queensland NDIS Planning and Implementation Group can be found in Appendix 3.

2.22 Lead and facilitate a five-year state plan for Queenslanders with disability

In December 2013, the Queensland Government released the Queensland Disability Plan 2014–19: Enabling choices and opportunities, to prepare Queensland for the roll-out of the NDIS and achieve more accessible and inclusive mainstream services and communities.

The plan will drive actions across seven priorities to deliver better outcomes for people with disability over the next five years. These actions will:

  • help people with disability, families, carers and service providers to better prepare for the NDIS
  • enable open and accessible mainstream services through businesses and communities that support people with disability
  • encourage partnerships with all levels of government, business, industry, people with disability, families, carers and the community sector.

The Queensland Disability Plan will be delivered through actions set out in each Queensland Government department’s Disability Services Plan. Plans are available via departmental websites and progress reports will also be made publicly available.

Whole-of-government reports will be prepared in 2016 and 2019. Information from these progress reports will be shared with the Australian Government to contribute to a national report to the Council of Australian Governments on the progress of the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020.

2.23 Fund and provide disability supports to Queenslanders with disability and enable greater consumer choice and control

2.24 Consumer choice and control

2.24.1 Your Life Your Choice

Your Life Your Choice self-directed support provides an opportunity for people with disability to exercise greater choice and control over their disability supports in preparation for their move to the NDIS from July 2016.

As at 30 June 2014, 1104 people with disability had decided to self-direct their support under Your Life Your Choice; 60 had chosen to receive direct payments and 1044 had chosen to use a host provider. There were 116 host providers listed on the department’s website.

The Your Life Your Choice Peer Support initiative, which commenced on 1 September 2013 and will be completed in August 2014, uses peer support sessions to share information with people with disability, their families and carers who are already or considering self-directing their support under Your Life Your Choice. The initiative will assist in increasing people’s confidence in and knowledge of self-direction and the establishment of peer support networks throughout the state.

As at 30 June 2014, 28 sessions had been delivered to 331 people with disability, their families and carers and six support groups had been established in two disability service regions.

In addition, a suite of supporting resources was developed to assist people with disability and their families and carers to self-direct their support through Your Life Your Choice. Topics included purchasing supports, employing workers and managing funding, payments and reporting.

As part of continuous improvement, the Your Life Your Choice Quality Health Check commenced in March 2014 and will be completed in August 2014. This will examine if participants are experiencing improved choice and control, and will also inform further refinements to Your Life Your Choice to prepare for the introduction of the NDIS.

2.25 Community engagement

2.25.1 Queensland Disability Conference 2014

More than 550 people with disability, families, carers, advocates, disability service providers and government representatives attended the Queensland Disability Conference and Queensland Disability awards on
24 and 25 March 2014 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Delegates heard the latest information about the NDIS and Queensland’s plans to introduce the scheme from July 2016.

The two-day program included expert keynote speakers, three inspiring panel sessions and 15 concurrent sessions.

The conference concluded with the Queensland Disability Awards, which recognised the outstanding work, dedication, drive and innovation of individuals and organisations that have improved the lives of people with disability.

2.25.2 Disability Action Week

Disability Action Week 2013 was celebrated from 8–14 September 2013 with the theme ‘Imagine the Positive Effect Even a Small Change Could Have’. The campaign aimed to encourage positive changes in attitudes and behaviours to create a more welcoming and inclusive community.

Events in 2013 ranged from displays about disability awareness through to art exhibitions, sports days and family fun days.

In 2013–14, we allocated $18,000 to Disability Action Week activities, including:

  • promotional posters, postcards and web content
  • an online event calendar listing more than 130 Disability Action Week events and activities
  • broadcast emails to approximately 3500 key stakeholders and community groups
  • a Twitter campaign
  • a promotional video distributed through social media channels.

2.25.3 Disability Advisory Councils

One Queensland and seven regional Disability Advisory Councils provide the Minister with advice on a range of regional, state and national disability and related matters that affect the broader community.

The councils are representative of the community and include people with disability, family members, carers, and advocacy representatives, as well as members from community organisations, businesses, local government and disability service providers.

Further information about the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and the regional Disability Advisory Councils can be found in Appendix 3.

2.26 Community Care services

In 2013–14, Community Care services supported approximately 38,000 people with disability by providing low-intensity services to support people to live independently in the community.

Services are delivered in almost every Queensland community, including rural and remote centres and the Indigenous communities in the Far North and Torres Strait.

Funding of $142 million was allocated for the delivery of Community Care services in Queensland by 331 organisations through 689 service outlets.

In 2013–14, three statewide initiatives commenced:

  • Community Access Point, which provides information on, assessment for, and referral to Community Care services. Over 7000 calls were taken and 3447 people assisted to receive Community Care services
  • a web-based Service Availability Register, which allows service providers to input up-to-date information on their service availability in order to streamline the referral process for clients and provide valuable planning information
  • Community Care and the NDIS Introduction seminars were held in 10 locations to prepare for the NDIS and work towards a stronger disability and community services sector.

2.27 Specialist disability services

Specialist disability services are designed to meet the needs of individuals with disability who have profound or severe core activity limitations. We provide specialist disability services across four support categories:

  • accommodation support services
  • community support services
  • community access services
  • respite services.

2.27.1 Accommodation support services

The department funds and directly provides a wide range of accommodation support services to people with disability according to their circumstances and the level of their assessed support need.

Services usually include assistance with personal care, household management and accessing community services, such that people with disability will attain skills to live as independently as possible in their own home or shared housing in the community.

In 2013–14, we funded over 6000 unique service users to access accommodation support services.

Accommodation Support and Respite Services

Accommodation Support and Respite Services operate across Queensland, providing direct delivery of a range of accommodation support options and centre-based respite for people with a moderate to profound intellectual disability.

The Queensland Government’s Independent Commission of Audit Final Report of 30 April 2013 included a recommendation that in the next three years and prior to the full commencement of the NDIS, the government transition all services currently provided by Accommodation Support and Respite Services to the non-government sector, through a formal and transparent recommissioning process that allows a progressive movement towards choice and control.

The Queensland Government accepted this recommendation and in March 2014, following extensive stakeholder consultation, announced that the transition would occur over five years to 2019 to align with the full implementation of the NDIS.

The transition will occur in a carefully planned and considered way, and consistent with the design principles of the NDIS. Engagement with key stakeholder groups including clients, families and guardians, staff and NGOs has commenced. Planning work is continuing to ensure that each transition occurs with minimal disruption to the client and their support arrangements.

Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial

The three-year Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial, which commenced from 2012–13, supports elderly parent carers of adult children with disability to secure sustainable and long-term future living arrangements for when they are no longer able to care for their family member.

The expected trial outcomes are:

  • more adults, 25 years and over, with disability who are currently in the care of their elderly parents will access sustainable, long-term living arrangements
  • a wider range of living options will be created to provide more choice for elderly parent carers and their adult son or daughter with disability.

In 2013–14, two funding rounds were completed resulting in eight organisations being awarded over $7.18 million to create up to 61 places for adults with disability.

Purpose-built accommodation

The department invests in the supply of purpose-built accommodation to provide long-term, sustainable accommodation, for people with disability who have high support needs, and for whom other accommodation options in social or private markets may be limited.

In 2013–14, $6.425 million was provided to increase the number of accommodation places for people across the state, particularly in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast and Rockhampton. People also benefited from minor upgrades to properties across the state.

Young adults exiting care of the state

Support is provided to assist young people with disability exiting the care of the state to purchase disability support to help them live independently in their own home and community.

In 2013–14, we funded 478 young adults with disability who had left the care of Child Safety Services, which included 86 young people who left state care in 2013–14.

Younger people in residential aged care

Responses are provided to the assessed need for enhanced support of younger people with disability as support options become available. In 2013–14, $1.26 million was allocated to provide housing and support at Tewantin for six residents.

We also provided $1 million as part of a $3 million commitment over three years (2012–15) for ongoing support for seven residents at the state-of-the-art accommodation complex built by Youngcare, and operated by Wesley Mission at Coomera.

2.27.2 Community support services

Community support services provide a person with disability with the appropriate support mechanisms to live in the community. This includes aids and equipment, behavioural/specialist intervention, early childhood intervention, therapy support and counselling. These services are either provided by funded non-government service providers or directly by the department.

Aids and equipment

The Department of Health provides the largest subsidy program for aids and equipment through the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme, which supports people to continue living in their homes, assists with hospital discharge and prevents admission to residential care.

The Community Aids Equipment and Assistive Technologies Initiative provides aids and equipment subsidies for items that are not available through the Department of Health’s scheme and that help people participate in their community.

The initiative provides aids and equipment subsidies under the categories of Community Mobility, Communication Support, Active Participation and Postural Support. Eligible clients can apply for subsidies up to the total of $10,000 every three years.

We also provided support for people with disability to improve private vehicle access through the Vehicle Options Subsidy Scheme. Subsidies available range from $400 for driving lessons to $4500 to assist with the purchase of a vehicle to be modified, enabling people with disability greater opportunities to independently participate and become involved in activities outside their home.

By June 2014, more than 4000 people have been provided access to aids and equipment since the introduction of the Community Aids Equipment and Assistive Technologies Initiative in 2012 and the Vehicle Options Subsidy Scheme in 2013.

In all, 6261 disability aids, equipment and assistive technology subsidies have been paid directly by the department since the introduction of the two schemes.

In 2013–14, the Community Care program allocated over $433,045 in funding as a contribution to the cost of continence consumables provided through the Department of Health’s Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme.

On 1 May 2014, the department transitioned the access to disability aids and equipment to the Department of Health. This now means that people with disability have streamlined access to disability and medical aids, equipment and assistive technologies through a single entry point.

Joint Action Plan

The department in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Department of Housing and Public Works developed a five-year Joint Action Plan to transition long-stay people with disability living in Queensland public health facilities, to live in the community, where possible.

Cross-government governance arrangements have been established, a protocol developed, information sharing arrangements put in place, and joint assessment and planning tools are currently being developed.

In 2013–14, funding of $2 million was allocated to transition 25 people from public health facilities to community living arrangements.

Specialist disability services for children

The early years are an important time for families of children with disability to access the information and supports they need to care for their child, including necessary early intervention services.

We provide a number of initiatives to support children with disability aged zero to 17 years and their families, including:

  • Autism Early Intervention
  • Baby Bridges
  • Early Intervention for Children with Physical Disability
  • Evolve Behaviour Support Service
  • Information for parents
  • Family and Early Childhood Services
  • Support for Families
  • Respite Plus
  • Parent Connect.

TheAutism Early Intervention Initiativefocuses on children with autism aged up to six years and is provided in centre-based and family settings. It provides information, multidisciplinary therapy and support with key transitions to school.

In addition, the department expanded the Autism Early Intervention response by allocating over $1.5 million in recurrent individualised funding to 135 children aged between seven and 17 years who have a primary diagnosis of autism.

In 2013–14, the total investment of $6.206 million for Autism Early Intervention supported more than 600 children to receive specialist autism early intervention services.

Baby Bridges provides new parents of children with disability, aged zero to five years with information, training and support to increase their capacity to care for their child now and in the future. Children receive specialised play activities from qualified therapists. Baby Bridges also provides opportunities for parents to develop informal supports with other families.

In 2013–14, Baby Bridges delivered 7667 hours of support for 141 parents/carers.

Early Intervention for Children with Physical Disabilityprovides therapy and early intervention services to families of children with physical disability.

In 2013–14, the department supported more than 600 children aged zero to 17 years with physical disability across the state.

Family and Early Childhood Services support families with a child aged up to six years who has, or is at risk of having, a significant developmental delay.

These services include information, therapy, counselling, and support with transitions to early childhood education such as child care, kindergarten and school.

Information for parents provides parents with practical information about the services and supports available and how parents can support their child’s development.

In 2013–14, the department published 13 information resources online for Queensland families of children aged zero to eight years with a range of disabilities including, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, and visual impairment.

Support for Families provides a range of services and support such as:

  • respite so families can have a break from their caring role
  • early intervention services, including therapy, counselling and other interventions
  • community participation and social inclusion supports
  • case management and coordination to assist parents and families to enhance their capacity to plan and manage their support arrangements.

In 2013–14, funding was provided to more than 1328 families and individuals through non-government service providers and the department.

Respite Plus aims to reduce stress for families caring for a child or young person with Rett syndrome or similar conditions. Respite Plus employs a unique approach based on the integration of a range of services depending on need, which include:

  • planning to meet forecast needs
  • parenting skill development
  • peer support networks
  • therapy supports.

In 2013–14, 55 families with a child or young person with Rett syndrome or a similar condition were referred to receive supports through Respite Plus.

Parent Connect provides early intervention, prevention and transition support to parents of children with disability or developmental delay up to six years of age. In addition, it also recognises the importance of delivering early-response services for parents of older children with newly acquired or identified disability.

ParentConnect will guide parents through planning and capacity mapping to help determine the best possible response for their family, and offer a range of supports for up to 12 months.

The service is provided across eight locations with funding of $4 million over four years (2012–16). As at 30 June 2014, 858 families have made contact with Parent Connect service providers across the state.

Spinal Cord Injuries Response program

The Spinal Cord Injuries Response program is a coordinated cross-government approach that provides disability in-home accommodation support, essential equipment and housing, or home modifications for people to live in the community after receiving rehabilitation for a spinal cord injury.

The benefits of this approach include:

  • reducing the time spent in hospital waiting for appropriate housing, aids and equipment and disability in-home accommodation support
  • minimising the impost of high acute care costs, including re-admittance to hospital.

In 2013–14, a total of $16.240 million assisted 175 people with disability, including 26 clients with new individual funding. In addition $2.676 million provided private home modifications to 51 people discharged from the Spinal Injury Unit at the Princess Alexandria Hospital.

2.27.3 Community access services

Community access services provide opportunities for people with disability to pursue their life goals, including learning and life skills development, recreation and holiday programs, and support to access community activities.

Local Area Coordination program

Local Area Coordinators work in local communities across Queensland to plan and link people with disability to a range of different support networks and services, depending on their individual needs and interests.

There are 56 local area coordinators, in 40 rural and remote locations across the state.

In 2013–14, the coordinators assisted approximately 3000 people to access mainstream services and information and build supportive networks.

Post-school support

Support is provided to help young people with disability develop life skills to provide pathways to move from school to adult life.

Support for young people transitioning from school is provided through:

  • My Future: My Life
  • Support for School Leavers.

My Future: My Life assists young people with disability in school (Years 11 and 12) to plan their future career and educational goals.

In 2013–14, we allocated $1.764 million to Centacare to administer the strategy, with more than 670 young people receiving support. In addition, 130 information and awareness sessions were delivered to students, parents and educators across Queensland.

Support for School Leavers provides funding for young people with disability, who have exited school, to build pathways that enable them to transition from school to adult life opportunities.

In 2013–14, we provided $6.692 million to support approximately 365 new school-leavers.

2.27.4 Respite services

Respite services provide a short-term and time-limited break for families and other care givers of people with disability. Regular and timely breaks can replenish carers, and as a result strengthen their ability to continue in their caring role, while providing a positive experience for a person with disability.

The department provides a wide range of respite services and supports by:

  • allocating funding to non-government providers to deliver a range of respite services
  • directly providing centre-based respite services across the state from 11 service outlets for people with an intellectual disability.

Flexible respite

In 2012, the government committed to invest $22 million over four years (2012–16) for extra respite hours for people with high needs aged between 16 and 25, and their carers, through more flexible arrangements.

Through this commitment, approximately 240 young people have received flexible respite support across the state.

2.28 Improving quality of life

2.28.1 Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support

The Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support leads the integration of theory and evidence-based practices in supports for people with disability who have high and complex needs, including those who engage in challenging behaviours.

In 2013–14, the centre:

  • delivered training to 1350 departmental and non-government staff, advocates and family members on topics, including:
    • positive behaviour support
    • supporting people with complex communication needs
    • departmental eligibility requirements
    • skills training
    • professional supervision
  • hosted the annual Positive Practices Symposium, which included international experts, attended by approximately 481 people
  • had a number of articles and book chapters published, including an evaluation of the quality and outcomes of the centre’s training.

2.28.2 Clinical Governance Framework

The Clinical Governance Framework provides high-level clinical support and advice to all services delivered to people with disability who require specialist disability services, to improve client outcomes and reduce variability in clinical services.

The framework is based on extensive research and examination of approaches adopted in other jurisdictions and countries that are seen as leaders in this field.

The Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support leads the implementation of the Clinical Governance Framework along with Regional Clinical Governance Committees established in each region.

2.28.3 Director of Forensic Disability

The Director of Forensic Disability is a statutory role responsible for ensuring effective oversight, monitoring and compliance relating to the implementation of the Forensic Disability Act 2011. The Director also oversees the operations of the Forensic Disability Service.

In 2013–14, the Director of Forensic Disability:

  • elected as a party into 69 matters relating to people with an intellectual disability who appeared before the Mental Health Court and assisted the court to make appropriate determinations for these alleged offenders
  • developed and implemented clinical governance and clinical assessment frameworks for the Forensic Disability Service
  • undertook the inaugural audit of the Forensic Disability Service.

2.28.4 Forensic Disability Service

The Forensic Disability Service has been purpose built to provide a dedicated therapeutic environment for up to a maximum of 10 people.

The service supports people within an environment to address the person’s offending behaviour and where their social, interpersonal and communication skills can be improved.

In 2013–14, the service was at capacity with nine adults residing in the complex and one adult residing in an adjacent duplex. The service also expanded its clinical capacity by adopting a clinical governance framework, and training all relevant staff in the delivery of sex offender treatment.

In 2013–14, the department allocated $7.319 million to accommodate and support the 10 clients.

2.28.5 Highest Funded Clients Project

Some people with disability receive very high levels of support at a high cost due to their high and complex needs.

The Highest Funded Clients Project aims to achieve improved quality of life outcomes for people with high and complex needs whilst reducing the cost of these arrangements wherever possible.

In 2013–14, the Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support developed a statewide complex case review process, which brings together individuals, family members, service providers, the Office of the Adult Guardian, mental health services and health service providers. Complex case reviews have occurred for 18 clients statewide and early indications show improvements in the services provided, such as a reduction in the use of restrictive practices.

2.28.6 Restrictive Practices Framework

On 13 March 2014, amendments to the Restrictive Practices framework under the Disability Services Act 2006 and the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 were enacted. The amendments focused on enhancing safeguards for clients, and facilitating greater focus on client service delivery by simplifying and improving the framework. They were developed through close consultation with key stakeholders, including service providers, statutory advocates and peak bodies.

2.28.7 Support for families of children at risk of handing the care of their child to the state

In 2013–14, work commenced on an early intervention response for families who are most likely to be at future risk of handing over the care of their child to the state.

The response aims to build the family’s knowledge, skills and capacity to care for their child in the long term and includes case management, intensive behaviour support and access to family support such as parenting programs and planned respite.

This response will commence in September 2014 and aims to reduce the number of children being cared for outside of the family home over the next four years.

A screening tool and early identification tool has been developed ready for trialling.

2.29 Future directions

In 2014–15 we will:

  • complete the first stage of sector capacity building activities for the NDIS
  • roll-out the Participant Readiness initiative by working with seven NGOs to assist people with disability, their families and carers prepare for the NDIS through $5.1 million funding over 18 months from 1 July 2014
  • provide $1 million to two organisations to assist carers, 60 years and over, to be ready for NDIS. Support will be given to plan for the future when older carers are no longer able to continue their caring role
  • work with senior staff from the National Disability Insurance Agency who will be based in Brisbane and Townsville to facilitate a smooth and effective transition to the NDIS in Queensland from 2016
  • deliver smart assistive technology seminars to explore new and innovative assistive technologies for delivering Community Care and disability services to benefit clients and providers
  • continue the Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial to support elderly parent carers of adult children with disability to secure sustainable and long-term future living arrangements for when they are no longer able to care for their family member
  • support people to transition from long-stay health and hospital settings and engage in person-centred planning for those transitioning to the NDIS when it is introduced in Queensland
  • provide assistance to up to 290 young people with disability leaving school as part of our $55 million commitment over four years
  • provide support for up to 64 young adults with disability exiting the care of the state as part of our $117.2 million commitment over four years
  • continue to deliver the Parent Connect service to assist parents of newborns and children with a newly diagnosed disability to link with the services they need
  • continue to provide support to up to 27 people with spinal cord injuries to leave the Princess Alexandra Hospital and live in the community as part of our $26.4 million commitment over four years
  • continue to fund respite for people with high-needs disabilities aged 16–25 years and their families and carers, through more flexible arrangements as part of our commitment to invest $22 million over four years
  • establish the Complex Case Management pilot across the state to support approximately 300 Queenslanders who have high and complex needs
  • support the disability sector to implement amendments to the Disability Services Act 2006 and reduce the use of restrictive practices
  • commence the trial of an early intervention response for families at future risk of handing over the care of their child to the state.

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Part3: Business and governance processes

3.1 Develop innovative, evidence-based policy, program and service delivery responses

3.1.1 Deliver government commitments

The department has lead responsibility for 17 government commitments: eight for child safety; three for disability services; and six for social inclusion services.

The government commitments include:

  • delivering the Caring for Our Community grants program
  • implementing the Strengthening Queensland Families — Protecting our Children reforms
  • supporting Queenslanders with disability.

We have delivered four commitments to date, of which two were delivered in 2013–14. The remaining 13 commitments are on track to be completed by their expected delivery dates.

3.1.2 Eliminate wasteful expenditure

In 2013–14, the department reduced expenditure for:

  • venue hire
  • telecommunications: the department achieved a reduction of 17.8 per cent compared to the expenditure in 2012–13
  • consultancies: the department reduced consultancies by more than $400,000
  • mobile devices: the department has reduced the number of services and changed to more economical device and data plans 
  • motor vehicles: by reducing the regular fleet by 42 vehicles
  • travel: by ensuring staff visit a range of clients and services when visiting locations.

The use of video conferencing for training sessions and/or meetings has also aided in the reduction of departmental travel costs.

The department completed the upgrade of its desktop fleet to Windows 7 and Office 2010. This roll-out has improved client service delivery by enabling the installation of contemporary applications and systems. Additionally, it has provided increased performance and reliability as well as greater compatibility for data sharing with other agencies and non-government organisations.

3.1.3 Streamline business and governance processes

Governance framework

The corporate governance framework for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is based on the principles of:

  • shared purpose
    • a common understanding of our purpose and direction
  • alignment
    • simple management structures aligned with our goals
    • no duplication of functions
    • working effectively across organisational boundaries
  • expectations
    • clear understanding of performance and expectations in roles and responsibilities
  • accountability
    • clear and transparent accountabilities through reporting and compliance and relationship management with stakeholders
  • performance
    • outcomes are measurable and reported in an accurate, reliable and timely manner
    • we manage our risks and maximise opportunities
  • improvement
    • continuous practice improvement of service delivery and individual performance.

Audit Committee

The primary role of the Audit Committee is to:

  • provide independent advice and assurance to the Director-General on the department’s risk, control and compliance frameworks
  • assist in the discharge of the Director-General’s financial management responsibilities imposed under the Financial Accountability Act 2009, Financial Accountability Regulation 2009and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Renewal Committee

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Renewal Committee works with the Queensland Government Renewal Oversight Committee and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to lead, monitor and deliver the department’s renewal agenda and oversee the implementation of the Commission of Audit recommendations relating to the department.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

3.1.4 Executive Management Team

The Executive Management Team (EMT) is the key strategic governing body for the department and has five key functions:

  • overall strategic direction of the department to define, guide and review corporate strategy relating to commitments
  • resource management to enable the delivery of services
  • monitor performance against the department’s objectives, fiscal strategy, service delivery priorities and risk
  • ensure adequate processes are in place to comply with legislative and financial management requirements
  • maintenance of effective relationships and partnerships with stakeholders and the fostering of a culture consistent with the Queensland public service code of conduct.

Accountability for the department’s operations under the Financial Accountability Act 2009 resides with the Director-General as the accountable officer. As the Director-General is the Chair of the EMT, all decisions are approved by the accountable officer and are binding.

The EMT is also the department’s Renewal Portfolio Board and is accountable for ensuring renewal initiatives:

  • demonstrate measurable benefits
  • are being undertaken according to appropriate process and method
  • are achieving the required results.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

3.1.5 EMT sub-committees

The EMT also oversees a number of sub-committees, which provide advice or make decisions on matters within their terms of reference.

As the key governing body for the department, the EMT must be kept informed of, and is ultimately responsible for, all strategic committee decisions.

Finance and Budget Committee

The Finance and Budget Committee is responsible for overseeing budget investment decisions and allocation processes, ensuring that appropriate financial controls are in place, and providing financial and budget advice to the EMT.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

Human Resources and Workforce Committee

The Human Resources and Workforce Committee provides strategic and operational direction on human resource and workforce management issues to assist in maximising the capability of the workforce and overseeing safe and supportive workplaces to achieve the goals of the department.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

Information Steering Committee

The Information Steering Committee manages all ICT-enabled business initiatives and is the primary governance body by which the department ensures it maximises the value of its business investments that have an ICT-enabled component.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

3.1.6 Reform Program Boards

The EMT as the Renewal Portfolio Board oversees three reform program boards.

The memberships of these boards include senior level executives from across all streams of the department and are chaired by a member of the EMT.

The reform program boards provide regular implementation progress reports to the EMT.

Figure 3: Corporate governance framework as at 30 June 2014

Corporate governance framework

Child and Family Reform Program Board

The Child and Family Reform Program Board oversees the implementation of the child and family reform agenda within the department that will change the way the department works and how we support vulnerable children and families.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

Disability Services Reform Program Board

The Disability Services Reform Program Board oversees the preparation for transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the transition of Accommodation Support and Respite Services to the non-government sector, and clinical governance reforms.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

Social Investment Reform Program Board

The Social Investment Reform Program Board oversees the social investment reform agenda, including implementation of the Social and Human Services Blueprint 2014–19, and ensuring alignment with the department’s broader renewal agenda.

Social investment reform will transform the way the department makes and manages its investment by ensuring that the best possible outcomes are achieved with the funding available.

Details of this committee, including membership and achievements for 2013–14, can be found at Appendix 4.

3.2 Planning and performance framework

Section 9 of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 requires the Director-General to develop a four-year strategic plan.

Government commitments, objectives and priorities as well as external obligations resulting from national partnership agreements and other high-level frameworks guide the department’s strategic planning and risk assessment to identify the future direction for the organisation.

The strategic plan also sets the parameters for the development and delivery of operational plans.

Operational planning identifies the deliverables, programs and projects to be delivered by the divisions across the department that will support or contribute to achieving the priorities identified in the strategic plan.

Business areas within divisions may also plan, monitor and evaluate day-to-day activities through business plans, linking to operational planning. These plans are optional.

At a whole-of-agency level, the department also undertakes specific-purpose planning. Specific-purpose plans are developed to focus the department’s attention on work undertaken by the business units, which support the delivery of services. Specific-purpose plans may be developed to address identified needs such as the Fraud and Corruption Control Plan.

The Performance Management Framework describes the department’s approach to performance management, and outlines the key planning and performance management activities and how the activities link to each other.

The framework is designed to improve the collection, measurement, analysis and application of performance information. The information informs policy development and implementation to support improved services and outcomes for clients and stakeholders and increases accountability.

3.3 Risk management framework

The risk management framework provides the foundation and organisational arrangements for managing risk within the department.

The Financial Accountability Act 2009 requires all accountable officers and statutory bodies to establish and maintain appropriate systems of internal control and risk management.

This framework aligns with the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management — Principles and guidelines.

The framework aims to streamline and embed risk management to support the department achieving its strategic and operational objectives through:

  • proactive executive involvement
  • assessment of, and response to, risk across the whole department
  • real-time analysis of risk exposures and meaningful reporting.

3.4 Internal audit

Internal Audit and Compliance Services (IACS) provides independent and objective business assurance and consulting services to the Director-General to help improve the operations of the department. In providing these services, IACS ensures adequate systems are in place for the efficient operation of the department’s audit function.

The Internal Audit Charter and Strategic Audit Plan 2013–16 documents the functions, reporting relationships and priorities for IACS.

These documents are consistent with relevant standards and guidelines and are endorsed by the Audit Committee. IACS has due regard to the Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines.

The Annual Audit Plan 2013–14 was developed using a risk-based approach and endorsed by the Audit Committee and the Director-General.

In 2013–14, IACS:

  • conducted business assurance, information services, and operational audits of departmental functions resulting in 196 recommendations with 98 per cent of these accepted for implementation
  • provided consulting and advisory services to key departmental program boards, steering committees and working groups on system and process changes, risk management and control processes
  • conducted compliance investigations and financial reviews of funded non-government organisations
  • complied with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009.

3.4.1 External scrutiny

The Auditor-General completed sector-wide audits during the reporting period, including performance audits on monitoring and reporting and internal controls. The Auditor-General also issued an unqualified report on the department’s 2012–13 General Purpose Financial Statements and assessed the controls existing over the department’s major financial systems.

Opportunities to improve performance and implement recommendations made by the Auditor-General are addressed by the department on a continuing basis and reported regularly through the Audit Committee.

3.5 Asset management

The department manages its property asset portfolio in accordance with strategic asset management principles and based upon the department’s Strategic Asset Management Plan 2014–18.

Our property portfolio has a market value of approximately $250 million and includes 237 buildings and facilities, including residential facilities for child safety and disability services and community facilities.

Our capital works projects across the state include new neighbourhood centres to respond to the needs of local communities, safe houses for children who have suffered abuse or neglect, and residential accommodation to support people with disability.

In 2013–14, we:

  • spent over $2.5 million to modify 64 existing facilities
  • acquired three properties
  • commenced construction on three facilities
  • continued with the construction of four facilities
  • completed the construction of five facilities
  • entered into a contract for three land parcels for a future construction project
  • spent over $5.7 million to maintain existing facilities, including statutory inspections for fire safety equipment.

Before assets are built or purchased, the department completes detailed service models, implementation schedules and acquisition costings. Capital assets are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they continue to meet service delivery needs.

3.6 Procurement planning

Departmental procurement strategies aim to achieve both direct and indirect financial benefits, and enhanced efficiency to deliver better outcomes for service priorities.

Procurement procedures have been reviewed to maximise the value for money achieved in procuring goods and services, while at the same time identifying process improvements that reduce red tape without diminishing transparency and authenticity.

In 2013–14, we developed a revised and streamlined procurement operating model to come into effect together with streamlined funding legislation next financial year.

The department is taking an active role in whole-of-government social services reform and as part of the Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19. The blueprint is introducing a range of procurement initiatives to improve capability and drive value in the procurement of social and human services.

Collaboration with the Department of Housing and Public Works continues to ensure alignment of procurement objectives with the Queensland Procurement Policy and a one-government category management approach to procurement.

3.7 Red tape reduction

One of the six priorities set out in the department’s Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19 is simpler processes. Through this priority the department is committed to reducing red tape and making it easier for non-government organisations to do business with us so that resources can be focused on frontline service delivery.

3.7.1 Account management

The department is adopting a provider account management model to ensure that large funded organisations have a clear, single contact point within the department.

Six of 16 identified organisations have now transitioned to this model, which cuts across regional and program boundaries ensuring that organisations receive clear, consistent information and advice about organisational and strategic issues.

3.7.2 Child safety care service licensing

Changes introduced to licensing arrangements for child safety care services in 2013 are reducing red tape for non-government organisations.

Organisations that may have been required to hold up to 21 regional licences are replacing them with a single, statewide organisation level licence. This is reducing the time that funded organisations spend making licence applications and preparing for assessments.

During 2013–14, 25 per cent of eligible organisations have been granted organisational licences. These 13 organisations previously had 41 licences with the department.

3.7.3 Financial reporting for funded non-government organisations

The department is phasing out the requirement for funded non-government organisations to submit a periodic financial acquittal for every service they deliver under contract with the department.

Nineteen organisations are trialling these new arrangements, which retain a strong focus on ensuring quality service delivery. Organisations receiving funding for five different services will, on average, experience a 40 per cent reduction in the number of reports they submit to the department.

The trial has been reviewed and some enhancements are being made to strengthen and expand this approach. Once relevant changes are in place arrangements will be made for more organisations to transition to these streamlined reporting arrangements.

3.7.4 Human Services Quality Framework

Introduced in 2013, the Human Services Quality Framework is the first consolidated set of standards for human services in Queensland. It streamlines 42 standards across four quality systems into a single set of six common standards that apply to all funded services.

This system maintains safeguards for clients while significantly reducing the time funded organisations spend on quality audits. It also reduces the duplication and paperwork involved in complying with multiple sets of standards.

Large organisations delivering a mix of services across a number of regions will undertake two organisational level audits over a three year cycle rather than up to 21 individual regional audits required previously.

During 2013–14, 191 organisations successfully transitioned to the new system. Full implementation is expected to be achieved in 2015–16.

3.7.5 Risk-based monitoring

The department is moving towards monitoring arrangements that are appropriately matched to the level of organisational risk. This will reduce the administrative burden for low risk organisations and redirect departmental resources to where they are most needed.

To date, 244 funded organisations delivering 1240 services have been assessed as low risk. The department is using a range of less burdensome activities to monitor service agreements for these organisations.

3.8 Streamline procurement and contracting processes

3.8.1 Grants management information portal

The Queensland Commission of Audit Final Report recommended the government publish a list of all grant programs on an annual basis.

In response to this recommendation, a cross-agency project, the Social Services Investment Portal, was delivered to create a central portal or repository of information which contained funding payments provided by the Queensland Government.

The Grants Management Model Project is the second phase of this work and will address the consolidation of grant-type systems across government. This will aim to better facilitate reporting of investments and will ultimately be the successor to the Social Services Investment Portal.

3.8.2 Streamline funding legislation

In 2013–14, the department reduced and simplified its funding laws. Three funding Acts were reduced to one. The Community Services Act 2007 can be used to safeguard all departmental investment in service delivery by not-for-profit organisations, local governments and other organisations.

Consultation with key peak non-government organisations and the Local Government Association of Queensland informed development of the new legislation. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 1 April 2014 and will come into force on 1 July 2014.

The changes made to the legislation removed all unnecessary red tape, while preserving essential safeguards that protect taxpayers’ money and the delivery of vital community services and service users. The red tape reductions will reduce operating costs for funded organisations.

3.8.3 Streamlined programs

Consistent with Commission of Audit recommendations, the department is standardising its program investment approach to reduce fragmentation of investment. We will adopt a new standardised and simplified performance measurement framework for community services and child safety contracts. This will reduce the burden of reporting for non-government organisations while providing a clear line of sight to the results being achieved for clients.

The department has reduced 13 funding programs and 81 initiatives down to three funding domains with nine investment specifications.

3.8.4 Streamlined service agreements

Building on the whole-of-government standard terms, the department has developed a suite of contracts in consultation with non-government organisations and other departments.

Together, the streamlined funding legislation and new agreements make it possible to move towards having a single agreement with a non-government organisation to cover all of the services they deliver.

This will substantially reduce the number of agreements organisations have with the department and also the length and complexity of those agreements. Over the next three years this is likely to result in a 64 per cent reduction in the number of agreements held with existing child safety and community services providers. The length of an average contract is also expected to be reduced by about 70 pages.

Transition to the new agreement will commence from 1 July 2014.

3.9 Manage grants processes effectively

Grant programs are developed to support the delivery of government policy and can be established under legislation, regulation or be subject to Cabinet, ministerial or other administrative direction.

In developing grant programs, the department has an obligation to deliver program benefits to recipients in an efficient, effective and economical manner.

In 2013–14, the department processed over $1.4 billion in grant payments to 1170 organisations with 3900 service outlets. Of these, 94 per cent of payments were processed within four working days.

3.10 Facilitate productive engagement with clients, communities and other stakeholders

3.10.1 Measure client and customer satisfaction

The department is committed to fulfilling the government’s vision of being the most responsive and respected public service in the nation and is changing the way it does business with an increased focus on putting customers first.

To do this we have commenced collecting information about client and customer satisfaction. From this data, the department will have a baseline measurement from which to improve its customer focus.

Going forward we will then be in a position to roll out a suite of activities to further measure and analyse the experience of our customers to improve customer service and outcomes.

3.10.2 Contribute to cross-government social services reforms

Departmental staff worked with stakeholders in the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Trade, and Housing and Public Works to progress a number of social service reforms.

Tools developed by the department such as a streamlined service agreement template have been shared and modified for use by other departments. This will make it consistent and easier for contracted non-government organisations to do business across government.

3.11 Review and apply contestability and efficiency measures to service delivery

3.11.1 Public Sector Renewal Program

The Public Sector Renewal Program confirms the government’s commitment to returning the budget to surplus and restoring Queensland’s AAA credit rating, and finding savings to redirect back into frontline service delivery. It aims to create a renewed, refocused and more efficient public service, realise significant savings and drive cultural change.

The public sector renewal principles take a customer-first approach to improve results for Queenslanders; build partnerships; and increase contestability, transparency, accountability and value for money.

In alignment with the Public Sector Renewal Program, the department’s renewal agenda sets out the ways we will transform our department to deliver the significant changes that are under way across our sector and to provide better services and better value for Queenslanders.

The department’s renewal agenda includes using the contestability process to evaluate the best models for delivery of services. This approach is progressed by embedding contestability activities within the scope of each reform program.

3.12 Maintain responsive and reliable information management systems

3.12.1 Information Services Strategic Plan

The Information Services Strategic Plan focuses on providing efficient and seamless access to reliable information and creating opportunities to drive reform through innovation, partnering and service excellence.

In 2013–14, we strengthened ICT service delivery by:

  • introducing a new collaboration platform allowing for increased levels of communication agency-wide
  • completing the roll-out of regional infrastructure enhancements, replacing ageing equipment across the state
  • enabling additional functionality in desktop communications including instant messaging, presence indicator, desktop sharing and video conferencing
  • embracing a cloud-first approach to sourcing ICT solutions.

3.12.2 ICT strategy and implementation plan

Implementation of the department’s ICT strategic objectives has been achieved, with the first group of ICT services prioritised for contestability being assessed under the Queensland Government Contestability Lifecycle during 2013–14.

3.12.3 ICT service model

The department’s ICT service model has been reviewed and updated to ensure the effective implementation of the Queensland Government’s contestability and ICT-as-a-service principles.

Key focus areas of the service model enhancement include:

  • vendor and contract management
  • workforce management
  • business partnering and engagement
  • gating processes for the design and development of new ICT solutions.

The ICT service model will be reviewed annually to maintain its effectiveness, with updates and enhancements to be made where appropriate.

3.12.4 ICT-enabled portfolio of work

The ICT-enabled projects and programs will continue to support the reform and renewal agenda in improving frontline service delivery through:

  • more efficient business processes
  • improving innovative capabilities
  • better preparedness to support Queenslanders in times of disaster
  • improved collaboration and information sharing with staff, service providers, carers and clients.

3.12.5 Information systems

The main information systems used across the department include:

  • Business Information System
  • Integrated Client Management System
  • Carepay
  • SAP Finance and Human Resources
  • Grants Management:
    • Online Acquittal Support Information System
    • Community Recovery Processing System
    • Financial Management Information System.

Business Information System

The Business Information System (BIS) is the ICT solution utilised by Disability Services to support service delivery to people with disability, their families and carers.

The outcomes and benefits for the BIS project in 2013–14 have focussed on preparation for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and include:

  • improvement of client data quality
  • improvement of the grant and funding functionality
  • increased capability to manage information, for example, BIS is a single source of truth for client and financial data as well as producing executive reporting for decision-making
  • improved efficiency and accuracy of reporting.

There have been seven releases of BIS Reports to deliver modifications to existing reports and the introduction of new reports. This supports new functionality in BIS and improves reporting capability, including the consolidation of data for service utilisation reporting.

Integrated Client Management System

The Integrated Client Management System (ICMS) is a statewide web-based core information system that enables frontline staff to effectively do their job to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children by providing information to make well-informed decisions.

As many of Child Safety Services’ clients are highly mobile, ICMS plays an important role in ensuring that the information is available in real-time and statewide. It is not office or region specific and allows child safety officers from anywhere in the state to access client records and to ascertain whether a referred child or family has a child protection history.

In 2013–14, enhancements were made to ICMS to reflect changes to business practice as a result of the government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

Enhancements to other systems

In 2013–14, we:

  • enhanced the property asset management system that supports a centralised repository of all capital asset data
  • made enhancements to the Community Recovery Grants Management System
  • created web forms used by Smart Services Queensland to provide a more efficient and targeted service to the public
  • made progress on replacing the legacy Carepay system utilised to pay foster and kinship carers.

3.12.6 ICT dashboard

As part of our commitment to an open and transparent government, the department publishes the status of key ICT initiatives on the government’s ICT dashboard.

3.12.7 Laptop fleet

Laptops are no longer offered as a device in the fleet replacement cycle or as a device for individual purchase. As a substitute, Windows Touch Screen Tablets are offered.

These devices have internal 4G modems for broadband/mobile use, are pre-configured to utilise Corporate Wi-Fi, and can be docked for use as a desktop device.

3.12.8 Mobile solutions

The mobility program will respond to economic demands for greater productivity and reduced operating costs by enabling staff, including child safety officers that spend large amounts of time away from the office, to work more efficiently and remain connected anywhere any time.

This will increase decision support capabilities in the field with access to real-time data and information systems. Mobile technologies also support increased engagement with departmental clients.

3.12.9 Keeping accurate records

As a Queensland Government agency, we meet the accountability requirements of the Public Records Act 2002, as well as other whole-of-government policies and standards, including Information Standard 40: Record keeping and Information Standard 31: Retention and Disposal of Public Records.

During 2013–14, the department continued its commitment to compliant record keeping-practices by:

  • developing and reviewing a functional retention and disposal schedule that allows authorised disposal of core records as per legislative requirements
  • continuing data cleansing of record-keeping systems to ensure quality and integrity of records captured
  • providing timely and effective statewide record-keeping awareness and process training to departmental staff
  • continuing to provide ongoing record-keeping support to departmental staff.

3.13 Accurate and timely performance information

3.13.1 Open data

The department provides government data for open use in an easily accessible format at no cost to the public.

The department publishes and regularly updates in excess of 228 sets of data on the open data website, including information on:

  • child safety and family services
  • disability and community care services
  • funding for people with disability
  • adoption services
  • non-government grants and funding
  • services for seniors, youth and women
  • homelessness
  • community recovery.

The department has implemented an open data governance process which involves extensive risk assessment of datasets prior to publication, to ensure identifiable data is not published.

The open data governance structure implemented by the department has resulted in:

  • improved data governance
  • data cleansing and improved data quality
  • identification of system limitations and potential data quality issues for system improvements
  • increased awareness of information held by agencies both internal and external to the department
  • increased stakeholder engagement both internal and external to the department, including a greater understanding of information requirements.

3.14 Future directions

In 2014–15 we will:

  • develop a risk management appetite statement to further align risk management to our strategy
  • develop an 18 month action plan that will further develop risk maturity and resilience and embed sound risk management practices into our operational activities
  • use the Communities Legislation (Funding Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Bill from 1 July 2014 to safeguard clients and investment
  • refine performance-based reporting arrangements and apply to additional non-government organisations
  • continue to transition organisations to the Human Services Quality Framework system and streamline licensing arrangements to expand the benefits of those systems
  • increase the number of organisations participating in the provider account management model to maintain safeguards while reducing burden where warranted
  • begin using new streamlined service agreements from 1 July 2014 to reduce red tape for non-government organisations
  • continue to implement programs and reforms as part of the public sector renewal program
  • continue delivering on recommendations of the Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013–2017
  • enhance Business Information Systems with funding of $1 million to ensure readiness for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to meet Commonwealth reporting requirements
  • invest $1.7 million in the Integrated Client Management System to improve service delivery of child safety services including enhancements to mobile and reporting capabilities
  • enhance the department’s capability to support Queenslanders during times of disaster through community recovery information system enhancements
  • assess the second group of ICT services prioritised for contestability
  • continue to implement mobile solutions that increase productivity and reduce operating costs
  • continue publishing regular updates and new data sets to the open data portal.

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Part 4: People

4.1 Support a capable and engaged workforce

4.1.2 Workforce capability strategy

The 2014–17 Workforce Capability Strategy has been developed to support the delivery of transformational leadership and effective communication; clear roadmaps and milestones; and engaged, equipped and empowered workforce.

The strategy prioritises actions over the next four years to develop capabilities in these key areas.

4.1.3 Employee relations

The department has worked with the Public Service Commission to contribute to the government’s negotiation of the proposed core State Government Departments’ Certified Agreement (EB7) and the modernisation of the Public Service Officer and Other Employees Award – State 2014.

Joint consultative arrangements for the department are in place and the committees meet in central and regional locations. This allows management and union representatives to convene on a regular basis to discuss a broad range of issues relevant across the agency, which may affect employees and organisational outcomes.

4.1.4 Employee Opinion Survey

In May 2014, a sector-wide independent employee opinion survey was administered in partnership with the Public Service Commission. The survey resulted in an overall departmental response rate of 64.5 per cent, which is a seven per cent increase on the 2013 response rate.

An Action Plan resulting from the 2013 Employee Opinion Survey was developed. The plan focuses on four areas for action:

  • leadership and engagement in change
  • workload and health
  • red tape
  • career development and pathways.

The plan outlined 18 major actions across the four focus areas, which extended to 90 implementation components. As at 30 June 2014, all components were completed or on track.

Learning and development

The department invests strongly in capability development for its staff to ensure that it delivers services to clients effectively. This is achieved through a mix of internally conducted learning initiatives and brokered in program delivery. Managers are encouraged to consider development opportunities for staff using all the formal and informal options available to them.

There are many other supports to learning provided by the department that link with improving staff capability such as:

  • cadetships
  • graduate development program
  • public sector training package
  • study and research assistance scheme.

Each of these is leveraged to maximise the capability development of staff.

Achievement and capability planning

An Achievement and Capability Plan records the conversations between a team member and their supervisor about the requirements and expectations of a role and how the role links to the goals of the department and work unit. The plan also records the team member’s development needs to fulfil the expectations of the role.

Achievement and Capability Planning is mandatory for all permanent employees and all temporary employees who are engaged for six months or more.

Induction program

The department is committed to the consistent and comprehensive induction of all new employees.

The departmental induction program is comprised of local and corporate induction processes, and provides information on:

  • the system of government
  • the department and its structure
  • terms of employment
  • job requirements.

When staff join the department they are automatically enrolled in the following online training programs:

  • Departmental Induction
  • Interactive Ochre Cultural Awareness Program
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Introduction to Records Management
  • Introduction to Information Privacy
  • Introduction to Information Security.

Training

A wide range of skills and training programs are available to staff. In 2013–14, the number of participations by topic area was:

Topic Participants
Child safety 5593
Community recovery 3297
Corporate programs 3902
Disability services 13,174
Finance 2150
Induction 492
Information and communication technology 2746
Records management 773
Total 32,127

Workforce diversity

The department respects and is supportive of diversity and equity in the workplace and the need to reflect the community it serves.

Managing diversity successfully means creating an environment that values and utilises the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. To do this, we invest in strategies to increase the participation of people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and women. These diversity strategies are underpinned by a number of action plans, including:

  • Disability Service Plan 2014–16
  • Cultural Capability Framework
  • Strategic Workforce Plan 2013–17.

In 2013–14, we continued to increase participation and staff awareness by:

  • continuing employment programs for graduates, Indigenous cadets, and the Education to Employment Scheme
  • reviewing a range of workforce policies to ensure appropriate reflection of workforce diversity issues.

Table 1: Percentage of staff by equal opportunity groups

Equal opportunity group Our department Queensland public sector average
People with disability 4.44% 3.78%
People from a non-English speaking background 9.43% 9.33%
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 2.75% 2.10%
Women 77.52% 68.09%

Raising cross-cultural awareness

The department has endorsed a new Cultural Capability Framework. This framework provides a strategic vision for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures into every aspect of the department’s activities. It goes far beyond a simple awareness of culture: it is part of our core business and is critical to our ongoing success.

To ensure staff interact respectfully and competently with people from all cultural backgrounds:

  • 223 new service delivery staff received training in Multicultural Competence in Service Delivery
  • 318 staff received training in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability.

Participation of women in our workforce

Women comprised 77.52 per cent of the total workforce, which is favourable compared with the Queensland Public Service benchmark.

Workplace health and safety

The department is committed to providing and maintaining a safe, healthy and supportive work environment at all times.

In 2013–14, we undertook the following activities to ensure we provided a safe workplace for our employees:

  • proactive health and safety risk management planning and practices to ensure the personal safety of staff during the course of undertaking their duties
  • enhancing the resilience of the workforce through supportive supervision practices and encouraging employees in healthy lifestyle and positive wellbeing choices
  • early intervention for individuals requiring psychological support in the workplace
  • regular monitoring, analysis and reporting of workers’ compensation information.

In 2013–14, 319 claims for workers’ compensation were lodged, a decrease of 29 per cent from 2012–13. The cost of these claims was $1.78 million, a decrease of two per cent from 2012–13.

4.2 Workforce challenges

4.2.1 Workforce Structure

In 2013–14, the department continued to review its processes to strengthen its frontline service delivery by:

  • designing and successfully implementing a client-facing organisational structure based on whole-of-government organisational design principles
  • further refining the organisational structure through realigning central office operations with existing functions to achieve greater synergies
  • participating in and contributing to the whole-of-government Corporate Services Review.

4.2.2 Code of conduct and public sector ethics

The department is committed to maintaining a positive organisational culture that values and promotes ethical leadership and strong ethical decision-making.

All employees are required to observe the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct. The ethics principles and values contained in the Code of Conduct are incorporated into departmental policy, procedures and plans, which cascade down to each employee’s achievement and capability plan.

The department offers ethical decision-making education and training to all employees on a regular basis, and ensures all new employees undertake ethics, related training as part of their mandatory induction. During 2013–14, 1345 departmental employees completed ethical decision-making training.

4.2.3 Management of suspected misconduct

By promoting and maintaining an ethical culture throughout the department, employees are made aware of their obligation to report behaviour not consistent with the public sector values or the Code of Conduct and disclose suspected wrongdoing to a proper authority.

In accordance with the reporting obligations of the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001, we report all matters involving suspected or alleged official misconduct to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

Table 2: Allegations of official misconduct in 2013–14

Matters being managed by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services as at 1 July 2013 47
Matters referred to the CMC by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services during
2013–14
86
Matters referred to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services by the CMC during 2013–14 13
Matters resolved as at 30 June 2014 109
Matters outstanding as at 30 June 2014 37

In 2013–14, no departmental employees appeared before the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s Official Misconduct Tribunal.

4.3 Translating our staff ideas into innovative solutions

To build and embed a culture of staff innovation, the department launched the Director-General’s Innovation Challenge, which ran from June to December 2013.

The challenge received 158 submissions. Some of the submissions have been trialled and since implemented, such as the use of iPads in the field for Child Safety Officers and text messaging to send appointment reminders to clients, which will be implemented by the end of the year.

Pursuing innovations continues to be an important part of our work with ideas being shared using the department’s suite of communication and collaboration tools.

4.4 Develop a positive and productive culture and support reform through effective leadership

We invest in our current and future leaders through leadership and professional development programs.

In 2013–14, 22 of the department’s senior executive undertook the Public Service Commission’s Executive Capability Assessment and Development engagement process. The process evaluates the potential each candidate displays for undertaking higher order roles. The remaining senior executive service officers will complete the program in 2014–15.

The Public Service Commission conducted 13 executive workshops during the year that leveraged from the Australian and New Zealand School of Government’s offerings, with 90 per cent of the department’s senior executive service officers able to attend one or multiple sessions.

In 2013–14, 293 managers across the department undertook a 360-degree feedback process asking their supervisor, direct reports and peers for feedback on their performance. Coaching sessions supported the feedback process allowing participants to focus on areas of strength and improvement.

4.5 Support staff through the changing human service environment

4.5.1 Reform and renewal

Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry recommendations

We continue to provide support in developing a capable workforce by revitalising frontline services to enable the future reform outcomes of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.

Commission of Audit recommendations

The department has developed a five-year Strategic Workforce Plan 2013–2017 in response to the Queensland Commission of Audit recommendation 125. Human Resources and Ethical Standards is also supporting the delivery of:

  • recommendations 97–99 relating to Disability Services reforms
  • recommendation 100 relating to Child Safety reforms
  • recommendations 116–119 relating to Social Inclusion reforms.

4.6 Maintain establishment controls

4.6.1 Workforce planning

We recognise the importance of workforce planning, particularly in an environment where there is a large amount of workforce change. Planning is important to ensure that we can continue to deliver and enable delivery of high-quality services for our vulnerable clients.

In 2013–14, a new Strategic Workforce Plan 2013–17 was approved.

The plan focuses on:

  • attraction, capability and retention to ensure business continuity
  • workforce renewal, including planning, innovation and change strategies
  • strategies for future transition of selected areas of business to the non-government sector.

4.6.2 Workforce profile

Our 5723.93 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff are distributed across threeservice areas: Child Safety Services; Disability Services; and Community Services.

In 2013–14, we continued our strong focus on client service, with 84.93 per cent of all staff employed in non-corporate positions and 15.07 per cent in corporate support positions.

Of our total staff, 4761.52 are permanent (83.19 per cent), 787.09 are temporary (13.75 per cent), 132.32 are casual (2.31 per cent) and 43 are contract staff (0.75 per cent).

Early retirement, redundancy and retrenchment

In 2013–14, six employees received redundancy packages at a cost of $682,693.01.

Employees who did not accept an offer of a redundancy were offered case management for a set period of time, where reasonable attempts were made to find alternative employment placements.

At the conclusion of this period, and where it was deemed that continued attempts of ongoing placement were no longer appropriate, employees yet to be placed were terminated and paid a retrenchment package. In 2013–14, three employees received retrenchment packages at a cost of $162,952.17.

Workforce attraction, recruitment and retention

In 2013–14, all human resources policies and practices were reviewed and rationalised in order to enhance support for business areas in facilitating effective service delivery. The outcomes from this review process include:

  • a reduction in the total number of human resource policies from 55 to 25
  • the development of an extensive how to guide for recruitment and selection for managers and selection panel members
  • promotion of work–life balance through revised flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting, part-time and job-share opportunities and parenting facilities
  • a streamlined accelerated progression scheme for Child Safety and Adoptions Officers
  • a revised regional and remote incentive scheme
  • guidelines for promoting a culture of recognition.

The annual separation rate for 2013–14 for permanent staff was 9.35 per cent while the annual retention rate for 2013–14 was 91.44 per cent for permanent staff.

4.7 Future directions

In 2014–15, we will:

  • analyse the data from the 2014 Employee Opinion Survey results and formulate an action plan
  • continue to prepare and support our Disability Services workforce to transition to new opportunities under the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • support the implementation of the government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry by reforming departmental operations of child safety services with a focus on revitalising frontline services
  • ensure that the department’s procurement and contract management workforce is capable, supported, agile and well positioned to deliver value-for-money for stakeholders.

4.8 Additional information

Additional information for a number of whole-of-department initiatives and measures are now reported through the Queensland Government Open Data website.

Grant funding provided to organisations in 2013–14 is reported through the Queensland Government Open Data website and the Social Services Investment Portal.

Additional reporting information (including consultancies, overseas travel and the Queensland Cultural Diversity Policy) for 2013–14 can also be found on our website.

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Part 5: Financial statements

The Financial statements are provided in a separate document (PDF, 1.1 MB) separate document (RTF, 3.7 MB).

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Part 6: Appendices

6.1 Appendix 1: Our legislation

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services’ functions and powers are derived from administering the following Acts of Parliament, in accordance with Administrative Arrangements Order (No. 2) 2013.

Our Director-General, on behalf of our Minister, is responsible for administering these Acts, except the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000, which is administered by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.

The statutory objectives for each Act are outlined below.

Act

Statutory objective

Adoption Act 2009

(except to the extent administered by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)

The objective of this Act is to provide for the adoption of children in Queensland and to provide access to information in a way that:

  • promotes the wellbeing and best interests of adopted persons throughout their lives
  • supports efficient and accountable practice in the delivery of adoption services
  • complies with Australia’s obligations under the Hague Convention.
Carers (Recognition) Act 2008

The objectives of this Act are to:

  • recognise the valuable contribution of carers
  • recognise the benefit, including the social and economic benefit, provided by carers to the community
  • provide for the interests of carers to be considered in decisions about services that impact on the role of carers
  • establish the Carers Advisory Council.
Childrens Court Act 1992 (ss. 20(1)(f), 20(2)(a)(ii)) The objective of this Act is to establish the Childrens Court of Queensland and for related purposes.

Child Protection Act 1999

(jointly administered with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)

The objective of this Act is to provide for the protection of children.

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003

The main objectives of this Act are to recognise:

  • the importance of international cooperation for the protection of children
  • the need to avoid conflict between the legal systems of different countries about the jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of measures for the protection of children
  • that a child’s best interests are a primary consideration in relation to a measure for protecting the child or a measure for protecting the child’s property.
Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000

The objective of this Act, through the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, which is an independent commission, is to promote and protect the rights, interests and wellbeing of children in Queensland.

Community Services Act 2007

(jointly administered with the Minister for Education, Training and Employment; the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice; the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs; the Minister Assisting the Premier; and the Minister for Housing and Public Works)
The main objective of this Act is to help build sustainable communities by facilitating access by Queenslanders to community services.

Disability Services Act 2006

The objectives of this Act are to acknowledge the rights of people with disability, including promoting their inclusion in community life, and ensuring that disability services funded by the department are safe, accountable and respond to the needs of people with disability.

The Act also recognises the right of people with disability to live a life free from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

It safeguards the rights of adults with an intellectual or cognitive disability who exhibit behaviours of concern by mandating a positive behaviour support approach and regulating the use of restrictive practices by departmentally provided and funded services.

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012

The main objectives of this Act are:

  • maximise the safety, protection and wellbeing of people who fear or experience domestic violence, and to minimise disruption to their lives
  • prevent or reduce domestic violence and the exposure of children to domestic violence
  • ensure that people who commit domestic violence are held accountable for their actions.

Family Services Act 1987

The objectives of this Act include the:

  • promotion and support of the welfare of families as the basis of community wellbeing
  • establishment of services and the encouragement of the development of services that promote, support and protect the wellbeing of families
  • encouragement of the development of coordinated social welfare services and programs that promote and strengthen local, neighbourhood and community interests
  • promotion of the wellbeing of the community by assisting individuals and families to overcome social problems with which they are confronted.
Forensic Disability Act 2011

The Act creates the position of the Director Forensic Disability who is responsible for the proper administration of the Act.

The purpose of this Act is to provide for the involuntary detention, and the care, support and protection of forensic disability clients, while at the same time:

  • safeguarding their rights and freedoms
  • balancing their rights and freedoms with the rights and freedoms of other people
  • promoting their individual development and enhancing their opportunities for quality of life
  • maximising their opportunities for reintegration into the community.

Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009

The objectives of this Act are to assist people with disability who rely on guide, hearing or assistance dogs to have independent access to the community and ensure the quality and accountability of guide, hearing and assistance dog training services.

Youth Justice Act 1992 (jointly administered with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)

The principal objectives of this Act are to:

  • establish the basis for the administration of youth justice
  • establish a code for dealing with children who have, or are alleged to have, committed offences
  • provide for the jurisdiction and proceedings of courts dealing with children
  • ensure that courts that deal with children who have committed offences deal with them according to principles established under this Act
  • recognise the importance of families of children and communities, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, in the provision of services designed to: rehabilitate children who commit offences; and reintegrate children who commit offences into the community.

Changes in law

The following changes in law have affected, or will affect, the department:

Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014

The Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 was assented to on 28 May 2014. The Act makes a number of changes to implement key recommendations of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. Key changes include:

  • establishing a Child Death Review Panel under the Child Protection Act 1999 to independently oversee the streamlined processes for the review of deaths of children known to Child Safety and some serious injuries
  • clarifying when and how a report may be made to Child Safety
  • consolidating current mandatory reporting requirements into the Child Protection Act 1999 and enabling prescribed entities, not just the department, to share relevant information about children and families who require help with service providers
  • transferring administration of the working with children check (blue card scheme) to the Public Safety Business Agency under a stand-alone Act (the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000).

Provisions that relate to reporting requirements will commence in early 2015 subject to implementation of training and support packages being in place.

Provisions in the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 that relate to the new oversight structures and responsibilities and working with children checks commenced on 1 July 2014 and have been implemented.
Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian ceased to exist on 30 June 2014.

The Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014, the Family and Child Commission Act 2014 and the Public Guardian Act 2014 streamline and transfer functions currently provided by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian to new entities.

As relevant sections of the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 have been transferred to other oversight agencies or repealed, its title has been changed to the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, which commenced on 1 July 2014.
Communities Legislation (Funding Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Act 2014

The Communities Legislation (Funding Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Act 2014 was passed by Parliament on 1 April 2014 and commenced on 1 July 2014. The Act streamlines the department’s funding laws and removed all unnecessary red tape, while preserving essential safeguards that protect taxpayers’ money, the delivery of vital community services and service users. It did this by:

  • repealing the Family Services Act 1987
  • removing parts of the Disability Services Act 2006 that duplicate the Community Services Act 2007
  • reducing and amending the Community Services Act 2007 so that it can be used to safeguard all departmental funding.
Youth Justice Act 1992

Legislative amendments to the Youth Justice Act 1992 were passed by Parliament on 18 March 2014 as part of the first tranche of reforms to the youth justice system and legislation, with further reforms expected in 2014 and 2015. These first amendments included:

  • opening the Childrens Court to the public
  • ability to publish personal details of repeat offenders
  • creation of a new offence for committing another crime while already on bail
  • enabling juvenile criminal histories to be made available to courts when sentencing as adults
  • 17-year-olds automatically transferred to adult prison if they have six or more months remaining on their sentence
  • the removal of the principle of detention as a last resort.

All legislation is available on the Queensland Government legislation website.

6.2 Appendix 2: Statutory authorities

Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian
Objective/function

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian promoted and protected the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people in Queensland, particularly those who:

  • were in care or detention
  • had no one to act on their behalf
  • were not able to protect themselves
  • were disadvantaged because of a disability, geographic isolation, homelessness or poverty.
Constituting Act

 The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian was an independent statutory body established under the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000. In accordance with Section 17 of the Act, the Commissioner acted independently and was not under the control or direction of the Minister.

Notes:

  • The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian ceased operation on 30 June 2014.
  • The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian provided an annual report to the Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for tabling in Parliament, therefore, its activities are not included in the financial statements of this annual report.

6.3 Appendix 3: Government bodies

Child Death Review Committee
Role, function and responsibilities

The Child Death Case Review Committee (CDCRC) was an independent statutory committee established to assess the adequacy of all child death case reviews undertaken by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services involving the deaths of children and young people who were known to the department within the three years prior to their deaths.

The CDCRC was chaired by the Commissioner for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, and the Assistant Commissioner was also a statutory member.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the CDCRC:

  • critically assessed every review undertaken by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to ensure it had been conducted in accordance with statutory requirements
  • identified systemic service delivery issues and made targeted recommendations at the policy and program level
  • referred issues to other government agencies for consideration of options to strengthen their involvement.
On 16 December 2013, the Queensland Government announced it had accepted the recommendations of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry to comprehensively reform the child protection system. As part of the changes, the Child Death Case Review Committee was replaced on 1 July 2014 by a new child death case review panel process to consider reviews conducted by the Chief Executive, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in relation to children who have died or suffered a serious physical injury in specified circumstances.
Number of meetings held in 2013–14 Six
Total remuneration payments and on-costs $598,207
Palm Island Community Company
Role, function and responsibilities The company acts as a bridge between the government and non-government sectors. It supports existing non-government organisations on the island, attracts funding and expands services where there is an identified need. The directors on the board represent the three partners in the company — the Palm Island Community, the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and the Queensland Government.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14 the Palm Island Community Company:

  • continued delivery of existing human services to Palm Island, including, but limited to Family Support Hub; Safe House; Diversionary; Women’s Centre; Safe Haven; Disabilities Program
  • introduced new services to Palm Island: Children and Family Centre; Bwgcolman School Breakfast Program and Community Op Shop
  • continued employment of 67 Palm Island-based employees
  • provided leadership to the community
  • provided advocacy around numerous issues that benefit the community
  • built partnerships with other service providers
  • built a sustainable health service
  • improved the quality of the Palm Island community through capacity building and provision of a level of governance
  • provided a high level of experience onto Island issues.
Number of meetings held in 2013–14
  • 11 monthly Director meetings
  • 1 annual General Meeting
Total remuneration payments and on-costs $125,330
Queensland Carers Advisory Council
Role, function and responsibilities The purpose of the council is to provide advice to the Minister on strategies aimed at increasing recognition of carers by public authorities and advancing the interests of carers.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the department recruited and appointed a new Queensland Carers Advisory Council. The term of the new membership is from October 2013 to October 2015.

Members of the council identified 17 priority issues on which to provide advice to the Minister. A draft background paper on the first of these issues was discussed with the Minister on 19 June 2014.
Number of meetings held in 2013–14 Three
Total remuneration payments and on-costs $3549
Queensland Disability Advisory Council and regional disability advisory councils
Role, function and responsibilities

The Queensland Disability Advisory Council and the seven regional disability advisory councils provide the Minister with independent and timely advice and examples of disability issues that are important for Queenslanders.

Council members offer a wealth of lived experience and expertise across Queensland’s disability sector, from people with disability, family members, carers and advocates, to local government and academics. Members were recruited for their knowledge and connections within the disability sector.

The Queensland Disability Advisory Council comprises an independent chair, the chairs of the seven regional councils, and up to four additional members with specialist expertise or knowledge. Each of the regional councils has between seven and 10 members.

The councils’ three-year term of appointment runs from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2014.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14:

  • the Queensland and seven regional councils met quarterly
  • Queenslanders with disability have benefited from the councils’ feedback on how we explain Your Life Your Choice and how we prepare people and communities for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • the councils provided valuable advice to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Legacy Project to make the games venues more accessible and ways that the Gold Coast’s transport, accommodation, and public spaces and places can better meet everyone’s needs, including people with disability
  • the Queensland councils began working collaboratively with Queensland Government departments, particularly in their three priority areas of health, education, and transport.
Individual members have also represented the councils in a broad range of fields, including transport advice, accessible tourism and universal design.
Number of meetings held 26
Total remuneration payments and on-costs $174,257
Queensland National Disability Insurance Scheme Planning and Implementation Group
Role, function and responsibilities

The Queensland National Disability Insurance Scheme Planning and Implementation Group provide advice and input to the Queensland Government on the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Queensland. This includes advising on how to prepare people with disability, families, carers, the sector and government for the scheme.

Membership includes people with disability, carers and families, services providers, advocacy organisations and peak bodies.
Achievements for 2013–14 In 2013–14, the group provided valuable input into the development of Queensland’s National Disability Insurance Scheme Implementation Plan and Risk Management Strategy 2014–16 to ensure that Queensland is ready to transition to the scheme from 1 July 2016.
Number of meetings held in 2013–14 Five
Total remuneration payments and on-costs $3633

6.4 Appendix 4: Governance boards and committees

Audit Committee
Description The primary role of the Audit Committee is to provide advice to the Director-General on audit-related matters, and assist in the discharge of the Director-General’s financial management responsibilities imposed under the Financial Accountability Act 2009, Financial Accountability Regulation 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009.
Membership
  • Mr Les McNamara (retired) former Director Internal Audit, Education Queensland (Chair), June to December 2013
  • Mr Neil Jackson (retired) former Assistant Auditor-General Queensland Audit Office (Chair), December 2013 to current
  • Mr Carl Gerrard, Partner, Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (member), June to December 2013
  • Mr Rod Wilson, Executive Director, Finance and Business Support Division, Queensland Police Service (member), December 2013 to current
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services (member)
  • Executive Director, Community Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Head of Internal Audit, Internal Audit and Compliance Services (invitee)
  • Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services, Corporate and Executive Services (invitee)
  • Director of Audit, Queensland Audit Office (invitee)
  • Audit Manager, Queensland Audit Office (invitee)
  • Director-General (special invitee)
Total on-costs In 2013–14, the external members received total remuneration of $10,923.
Meeting frequency The Audit Committee meets quarterly, with an additional meeting scheduled in August to approve the annual financial statements.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the committee:

  • monitored compliance with the 2013–14 Annual Audit Plan and the implementation of recommendations arising from audit reports
  • provided guidance on and endorsed the 2013–16 Strategic Audit Plan and the 2013–14 Audit Plan
  • managed the interface between the department and the Queensland Audit Office
  • reviewed and endorsed the annual financial statements.
Executive Management Team (Portfolio Board)
Description

The Executive Management Team (EMT) is the key strategic governing body for the department and is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the department, strategic management of the department’s performance and oversight of the department’s portfolio of programs and projects. The EMT is also the department’s Renewal Portfolio Board and is accountable for ensuring that renewal initiatives:

  • demonstrate measurable benefits
  • are being undertaken according to appropriate process and method
  • are achieving the required results.
Membership
  • Director-General (Chair)
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Deputy Director-General, Projects and Reform
  • Regional Executive Director, Far North Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, North Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, Central Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region
  • Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region
  • Regional Executive Director, South West Region
  • Regional Executive Director, South East Region
Meeting frequency

The EMT meets weekly and monthly or as required by the Chair.

Long agenda meetings: Face-to-face meetings are held monthly.

Short agenda meetings:Video conferences are held weekly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the Executive Management Committee:

  • implemented a more strategic portfolio approach to managing the department’s renewal agenda and related activities, including improved line of sight to risks, issues, benefits, budget, dependencies and timeframes
  • endorsed the Renewal Portfolio Program Scope map, which outlines the scope of reform programs and place-based initiatives
  • led a strategic change framework to guide renewal progress
  • strengthened coordination and collaboration across the department and with other agencies in relation to reform
  • led implementation of actions from the Employee Opinion Survey 2013
  • monitored organisational performance against targets and milestones and the department’s fiscal strategy.
Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Renewal Committee
Description

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Disability Services Renewal Committee is responsible for:

  • working with the Queensland Government Renewal Oversight Committee and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to strategically monitor the renewal work program in a whole-of-government context, overseeing investment in these activities and monitoring progress of renewal projects
  • overseeing implementation of Commission of Audit recommendations as they apply to the department and its services
  • leading the delivery of the department’s renewal plan and renewal outcomes; including the programs and projects relevant to the department’s renewal agenda
  • providing in-principle support for the application of the contestability framework to the department’s renewal portfolio.
Membership
  • Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Chair)
  • Director-General
  • Deputy Director-General, Projects and Reform
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Department of the Premier and Cabinet representative
  • Queensland Treasury and Trade representative
  • Public Sector Commission representative
Meeting frequency The committee meets quarterly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the committee:

  • monitordoes thated progression of the eight Commission of Audit recommendations led by the department
  • oversaw the development of the department’s renewal plan and renewal outcomes
  • endorsed the department’s Contestability Gate 1 Strategic Assessment and Future Blueprint
  • monitored the progress of departmental renewal initiatives and activities, including infographics, contestability Gate 1, departmental Change Model and departmental Renewal Portfolio.
Finance and Budget Committee
Description The Finance and Budget Committee is responsible for overseeing budget investment decisions and allocation processes, ensuring that appropriate financial controls are in place and providing financial and budget advice to the Executive Management Team.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate Executive Services (Chair)
  • Director-General
  • Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Regional Executive Director, Far North Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, North Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, Central Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region
  • Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region
  • Regional Executive Director, South West Region
  • Regional Executive Director, South East Region
Meeting frequency The committee meets monthly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the committee:

  • oversaw the preparation of the department’s budget and reviewed and monitored financial performance and position against budget
  • applied the fiscal strategy and budget rules and ensured these were adopted by all organisational units to support and guide robust financial management throughout the department
  • closely monitored budget pressures and evaluated and prioritised the use of savings to address budget pressures most critical to the department’s objectives
  • identified strategies to maximise the availability of departmental funds in both the current and future years
  • provided sound leadership and direction in the financial management and performance of the department
  • monitored and reviewed financial performance in relation to capital outlays to achieve optimum outcomes
  • reviewed the overall ICT-enabled portfolio for strategic alignment, value and benefit delivery and made changes or provided direction as required on the make-up of the portfolio.
Human Resources and Workforce Committee
Description The Human Resources and Workforce Committee is responsible for providing strategic and operational direction on human resource and workforce management issues to assist in maximising the capability of the workforce and overseeing safe and supportive workplaces to achieve the goals of the department.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services (Chair)
  • Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources and Ethical Standards
  • Executive Director Child Safety, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Regional Executive Director, Central Queensland Region (rotating basis)
  • Regional Executive Director, North Coast Region (rotating basis)
  • Regional Director Child Safety, South West Region (rotating basis)
  • Director, Workforce Capability, Human Resources and Ethical Standards, Corporate and Executive Services
Meeting frequency The committee meets bi-monthly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the committee:

  • endorsed amendments to human resources policies and procedures in line with the Policy Review program
  • provided operational direction for a number of workforce strategies
  • provided operational direction for the department’s capability development and led the implementation of the learning and development framework
  • provided leadership and direction regarding departmental culture.
Information Steering Committee
Description The Information Steering Committee is responsible for managing all ICT-enabled business initiatives and is the primary governance body by which the department ensures it maximises the value of its business investments that have an ICT-enabled component.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services (Chair)
  • Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Chief Information Officer, Information Services, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Executive Director, Disability Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Regional Executive Director (rotating between regions on a 12 month basis)
  • Regional Director (rotating between regions on a 12 month basis)
  • Internal Audit and Compliance Services, Corporate and Executive Services representative
  • Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs representative
  • Whole-of-government representative.
Meeting frequency The committee meets bi-monthly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14 the committee:

  • ensured strategic alignment of the department’s ICT investment to maximise the benefits to the department
  • identified and progressed ICT savings opportunities
  • progressed and monitored ICT service delivery
  • monitored, mitigated and escalated risks as required
  • managed the security profile of ICT within the department
  • addressed and progressed Internal Audit and Queensland Audit Office audit recommendations
  • reviewed the 2013–14 ICT-Enabled Portfolio initiatives to ensure investment and alignment to government and department strategic directions and provided value for money
  • reviewed, analysed and approved the 2014–15 ICT-Enabled Portfolio of Work.
Child and Family Reform Program Board
Description The Child and Family Reform Program Board is responsible for providing governance and strategic oversight for the department’s implementation of the Queensland Government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry Final Report: Taking Responsibility: A Roadmap for Queensland Child Protection.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs (Chair)
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Regional Executive Director, North Queensland Region
  • Regional Executive Director, South East Region
  • Executive Director, Child Safety, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Executive Director, Community Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Executive Director, Disability Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Assistant Executive Director, Child Safety, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Assistant Executive Director, Practice Leadership Unit, Child Safety, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Regional Director, Child Safety, Far North Queensland Region
  • Program Director, Child and Family Reform Program Office, Projects and Reform
Meeting frequency The board meets monthly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the board:

  • oversaw and managed of over 80 recommendations allocated to the department for implementation
  • endorsed the Organising Framework for the packaging and management of the 121 recommendations
  • endorsed the Program Management Plan
  • endorsed the long-term outcomes and associated performance management framework
  • established three project boards to closely manage the department’s recommendations and associated ICT implications.
Disability Services Reform Program Board
Description The Disability Services Reform Program Board is responsible for providing strategic oversight and leadership for the preparation for transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the transition of Accommodation Support and Respite Services (AS&RS) to the non-government sector and clinical governance reforms.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs (Chair)
  • Deputy Director-General, Projects and Reform
  • Executive Director, Disability Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Executive Director, Planning and Performance Reporting, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources and Ethical Standards, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Regional Executive Director, Far North Queensland
  • Regional Director, Disability and Community Services, South West Region
  • Regional Director, Disability and Community Services, Central Queensland
  • Assistant Executive Director, Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support
  • Assistant Executive Director, Disability Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
Meeting frequency The board meets monthly or as required by the Chair.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14 the board:

  • established clear governance mechanisms to strengthen the program and project management approach, including the three Project Boards: NDIS, AS&RS, and Clinical Governance
  • developed, oversaw and guided the program of work
  • strengthened linkages to regional work and NDIS readiness matters
  • ensured clear reporting standards were in place to progress the NDIS preparations across Queensland
  • oversaw progress and provided ongoing direction to the projects in the following key areas:
    • sector readiness, including provider and consumer capacity building
    • workforce readiness initiatives
    • rural and remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Capacity Building
  • monitored risks and directed work on the integration of risk management into the program management approach.
Social Investment Reform Program Board
Description The Social Investment Reform Program Board is responsible for leading the transformation of the way the department makes and manages its investments by focusing on more innovative solutions; customer services and results; smarter investments; simpler processes; stronger partnerships and a dynamic workforce.
Membership
  • Deputy Director-General, Strategic Policy and Programs (Chair)
  • Deputy Director-General, Corporate and Executive Services
  • Regional Executive Director, Brisbane Region
  • Assistant Executive Director, Disability Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Executive Director, Community Services, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Assistant Executive Director, Child Safety, Strategic Policy and Programs
  • Regional Director, Disability and Community Services, North Coast Region
  • Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services, Corporate and Executive Services
Meeting frequency The board meets monthly.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, the board:

  • prepared the department’s Social and Human Services Investment Blueprint 2014–19
  • prepared and approved for commencement from
    1 July 2014, the Communities Legislation (Funding Red Tape Reduction) Amendment Bill 2014
  • progressed streamlining funding programs. Three funding domains and nine funding specifications will replace the 13 funding programs and 81 initiative specifications currently in place for Community and Child Safety Services
  • adopted an account management model to provide a single contact point for large providers, ensuring that organisations receive clear, consistent advice about organisational and strategic issues
  • continued the roll-out of the Human Services Quality Framework. In 2013–14, 191 organisations successfully transitioned to the framework
  • continued to streamline licensing of out-of-home care service providers under the Child Protection Act 1999. In 2013–14, 25 per cent of eligible organisations transitioned to an organisation-level licence.

6.5 Appendix 5: Performance statement

Following is the department’s 2013–14 corporate performance.

Corporate performance Notes 2012-13 actual 2013-14 target 2013-14 actual
Percentage of internal audit recommendations accepted for implementation 1 98.5% 90% 95.97%
Percentage of statutory reporting responsibilities met within agreed timeframes   100% 100% 100%
Percentage of full-time equivalents by status (permanent) 2 85.57% 81.16% 83.19%
Percentage of full-time equivalents by status (temporary) 2,3 11.33% 15.19% 13.75%
Percentage of women employees 2 76.92% 68.09% 77.52%
Percentage of staff (people with disability) 2 5.08% 3.78% 4.44%
Percentage of staff (culturally and linguistically diverse) 2 8.49% 9.33% 9.43%
Percentage of staff (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) 2 2.43% 2.10% 2.75%
Absenteeism rate (percentage) 2,4 4.63% 3.94% 4.71%
Number of claims lodged with WorkCover   449 404 319
Cost of WorkCover claims ($m)   $1.85 $1.80 $1.78

Notes:

  1. This measure relates to business assurance, operational and IT audits.
  2. The 2013–14 target for this measure is the Queensland Public Service actual as at 31 March 2014.
  3. Temporary staff are employed to backfill a permanent officer who: takes planned leave (annual or long service leave); takes long-term leave (maternity or long-term sick leave); temporarily relieves in a higher position or undertakes a special project.
  4. The 2013–14 target for this measure is the Queensland Public Service actual as at 31 December 2013 while the actual absenteeism rate for the department is for the March 2014 quarter as absenteeism is reported one quarter in arrears.

Following is the department’s 2013–14 service area performance.

Performance measure Notes 2013-14 target/est. 2013-14 est. actual 2013-14 actual
Service area: Child Safety Services

Rate of substantiated harm per 1,000 children (0–17 years of age)

1 7.0 6.8 6.0

Rate of children subject to protective orders per 1,000 children (0–17 years of age):

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • Other children
  • All children

1,2

1

1

49.0

5.9

8.8

49.3

5.6

8.5

42.7

5.4

8.2

Proportion of children on a care and protection order exiting care after 12 months or more who had  1 or 2 placements 1,3 34% 38% 44%
Service Area: Disability Services

Government expenditure, per person, receiving disability services:

  • Accommodation support services
  • Community support services
  • Community access services
  • Respite services

1

1

1,4

1

$74-79,000

$7500-10,500

$15-18,000

$13-16,000

$78,500

$8000

$16,000

$15,000

$88,825

$5126

$17,886

$17,373

Number of unique service users funded:

  • Accommodation support services
  • Community support services
  • Community access services
  • Respite services

1

1

1

1

6730-7250

15,600-16,600

8800-9750

5500-5660

6850

16,300

9500

5500

7204

20,580

9868

5444

Service Area: Community Services
Number of requests for information and referrals serviced by Office for Women through Women’s Infolink services, including website, telephone, information resources and Find a Service facility 5 65,000 92,500 122,401
Percentage of eligible persons (60 years of age and over) who are currently holders of a Seniors Card or a Seniors Business Discount Card 6 75% 75% 76%

Notes:

  1. In accordance with nationally agreed reporting guidelines data extraction for a financial year occurs on 31 August of the following financial year. This additional eight week period enables activities that started close to the end of the financial year to be finalised and entered into information systems.
  2. The 2013-14 Target/est. and 2013-14 Est. actual are based on estimated resident population (ERP) tables previously published by the ABS (2006 Census based). Following the 2011 Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) rebased and revised its final total resident population estimates for all areas of geography across Australia. At the same time, the 2011 Census recorded a marked increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons reported in the population. These changes have impacted on the size of both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and the non-Indigenous estimated resident populations within Queensland and its regions. As a result, the ERP tables have been revised for all reference periods using these rebased population estimates sourced from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office (QGSO). The size, structure and components of these estimates supersede those previously published by the ABS (2006 Census based). As a result the 2013-14 actual is lower than the 2013-14 Est. actual.
  3. The 2013-14 Target/est. was based on historical data which showed an upward trend in the number of children subject to a substantiation. The upward trend reversed during 2013-14 and coupled with the new estimated resident population (ERP) tables (see Note 2) resulted in a lower 2013-14 actual.
  4. The 2013-14 Target/est. was based on historical data which showed an upward trend in the number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children subject to protective orders. Performance during 2013-14 shows a continuing upward trend for Indigenous children, while the upward trend reversed for non-Indigenous children. These trends, coupled with the new estimated resident population (ERP) tables (see Note 2), resulted in a lower 2013-14 actual.
  5. The increase in the 2013–14 actual for the proportion of children experiencing only one or two placements may be partly due to children and young people staying in care for longer. Over recent periods there have been more children admitted to out-of-home care than exiting care.
  6. This measures usage rates of delivering information and advice to women through the department’s Women’s Infolink services.
  7. Take-up of the card is voluntary. Although significant growth in the number of card holders has been experienced, this has not, to date, kept pace with population projections.
  8. Estimated actual and 2013–14 actual reflects a reduction of costs as a result of the implementation of improved service mix.

6.6 Appendix 6: National partnership agreements and national agreements

National Disability Agreement
Additional information In 2012 all Australian governments endorsed the revised National Disability Agreement through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The agreement reflects changed responsibilities for aged and disability care arising from the National Health Reform Agreement and COAG’s commitment to commence foundation work for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Objectives/ targets The agreement affirms the commitment of all governments to work in partnership with stakeholders, including people with disability, their families and carers, to improve outcomes for people with disability.
Achievements for 2013–14 Queensland continues to implement activities that contribute to the objectives of the agreement.
National Disability Strategy
Additional information The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out the vision of an inclusive Australian society that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens, and is a mechanism to give effect to principles and articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Objectives/ targets The strategy, intended to be budget neutral, is a broad whole-of-government response to advance social inclusion for people with disability in mainstream areas such as education, health, transport and housing. The strategy applies to anyone with disability and is not limited to those who may be eligible for specialist disability support services.
Achievements for 2013–14 In December 2013, the Queensland Government released the Queensland Disability Plan 2014–19: Enabling choices and opportunities to deliver on National Disability Strategy commitments.
National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children
Additional information

In April 2009, the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, covering six broad outcome areas. In September 2009, the Queensland Government endorsed the Queensland Position Statement on the National Framework.

The National Framework will run from 2009 to 2020.

Progress on implementation of the national framework is monitored through three-year action plans and annual reports to the Council of Australian Governments.

The Standing Council on Community and Disability Services Ministers endorsed the Second Action Plan 2012–2015 for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children on 17 August 2012.

On 13 December 2013, the Standing Council on Community and Disability Services was discontinued.

On 20 March 2014, the Standing Council on Community and Disability Services Advisory Council considered new arrangements for managing the Second Action Plan and agreed to focus only on key priorities that require national collaboration.

Objectives/ targets

Priority areas for the Second Action Plan 2012–15 include working with children checks, professionalisation of carers, health assessments for children in out-of-home care, and implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principles.

Priorities in the Second Action Plan 2012–15 are consistent with and will support Queensland’s Child Protection Reform Roadmap, including focus on child and family support and improved access to culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to divert them from child protection systems.
Achievements for 2013–14

The department contributed to the development of actions to focus on initiatives to improve outcomes for children and young people in care.

The department co-led a national workshop in collaboration with the Australian Government to discuss barriers to the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principles and strategies to address the issues at a national level.

National Partnership Agreement on Certain Concessions for Pensioners Care and Seniors Card Holders
Additional information The National Partnership Agreement was a 2007 election commitment by the Australian Government. The agreement expired on 30 June 2012 and a new agreement was signed by the Premier on 14 December 2012.
Objectives/ targets

The national partnership agreement aims to improve the affordability of specific services for Pensioner Concession Card holders and out-of-state Seniors Card holders by supplementing the state’s funding for concessions.

The national partnership agreement contributes to pensioner concessions provided in Queensland, including in the areas of rates, utilities, motor vehicle registration and public transport, and public transport concessions for out-of-state Seniors Card holders.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, concessions administered by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services included the:

  • Electricity Life Support Concession scheme, which assists seriously ill people on low incomes who use home-based life support systems, which are supplied by the Department of Health — assisted over 3400 people
  • Electricity Rebate scheme, which provides a rebate off the cost of an eligible person’s domestic electricity supply — assisted approximately 488,000 households
  • Home Energy Emergency Assistance scheme, which provides a one-off payment to low-income households experiencing a crisis or unforeseen emergency, that are unable to pay their current electricity and/or reticulated natural gas account and are at risk of disconnection — assisted nearly 10,700 people
  • Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Concession scheme, which aims to assist low-income individuals, who have specific medical conditions, to meet the electricity costs they incur through frequent operation of an air-conditioner to regulate body temperature —assisted more than 3100 people
  • Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate scheme, which provides a rebate off the cost of an eligible person’s reticulated natural gas supply —assisted more than 32,800 households
  • South East Queensland Pensioner Water Subsidy scheme provides eligible pensioners in the South East Queensland Water Grid with a rebate — assisted more than 161,000 households
  • Pensioner Rate Subsidy scheme provides a subsidy on rates and charges for freehold properties — assisted approximately 271,900 households.
National Partnership Agreement on Transitioning Responsibilities for Aged Care and Disability Services
Additional information The agreement was set to expire on 30 June 2014, or upon completion of all requirements set out in the agreement, including the acceptance of final performance reporting and processing of final payments, whichever is the later. The implementation of the agreement will continue in 2014–15.
Objectives/ targets The objective of this agreement is to ensure that the basic Community Care services previously delivered to people with disability through the Home and Community Care Program continue to be provided during the implementation of the changes to roles and responsibilities for aged care and disability services until the agreement expires.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, we continued funding the delivery of basic Community Care support to younger people with disability and assisted funded organisations to prepare and implement the program reforms across client services and capital projects.

Negotiations with the Australian Government continue through Queensland Treasury and Trade to reach an agreement on financial arrangements on Schedule B under the National Partnership Agreement.
National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022
Objectives/ targets

The plan brings together the efforts of governments across the nation to make a real and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women. It sets out a framework for action over the next 12 years and shows Australia’s commitment to upholding the human rights of Australian women through the:

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • Declaration to End Violence Against Women
  • Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Achievements for 2013–14

The department contributed through the Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research to the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence to inform the evidence base to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence against women and their children.

We also contributed to the Second Action Plan 2013–16Moving Ahead that supports the ongoing implementation of the National Plan. The Second Action Plan was launched in June 2014 and outlines five national priorities that all governments will focus on in future steps to stop violence against women and their children:

  • driving whole of community action to prevent violence
  • understanding diverse experiences of violence
  • supporting innovative services and integrated systems
  • improving perpetrator interventions
  • continuing to build the evidence base.
Personal criminal liability for directors, and other corporate officers
Additional information

The Council of Australian Governments has committed to a nationally consistent and principled approach to personal criminal liability for directors, and other corporate officers, in circumstances of corporate fault.

This is to address concerns that personal liability has been increasingly imposed in situations where a director may not have had any direct involvement in a corporate offence. Such liability may be imposed without justification. The inconsistent application of standards of personal responsibility within and across jurisdictions is confusing.
Objectives/ targets

A national project is currently in progress aimed at considering the extent of director liability. Currently, the majority of the provisions rely on a finding of guilt by the corporate entity. The executive officer is then deemed to have committed an offence, and the onus lies on that officer to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the officer had no knowledge of the offence and was not in a position to influence the corporate entity in relation to the omission of the offence.

The national project will review the provisions of a director’s liability offences taking into account submissions made by the Australian Institute of Company Directors that such liability should be removed, and if it is determined deemed liability should remain, specific offences for such liability will need to be identified, rather than retaining a blanket provision.
Achievements for 2013–14

In 2013–14, we:

  • analysed what legislation carries personal criminal liability for directors and the rationale for it being required
  • reported to the lead agency for Queensland as to the need for such liability and whether it is appropriate for the director to bear the onus of proof, or whether the prosecution should bear this
  • reported in relation to proposed legislative amendments, based on the above considerations.
Legislative changes made by the Director’s Liability Reform Amendment Act 2013, that was assented to on 29 October 2013 and came into force on 1 and 8 November 2013, has addressed the issue in relation to legislation administered by the department and other Queensland legislation in line with the goal of removing blanket liability provisions.

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Contact us

The department works to strengthen and protect the wellbeing of Queenslanders, particularly those who are most in need of support.

Information regarding the department’s supports and services can be accessed through:

  • our service centres
  • the 13 QGOV telephone number
  • the Queensland Government Service Centres
  • the Queensland Government website.

Service centres

We deliver services at service centres located in communities throughout Queensland. Dedicated child safety, community and disability service centres provide services from everyday support for families and individuals through to organising specialised services in emergencies.

13 QGOV

The 13 QGOV (13 7468) telephone number provides a single entry point to the Queensland Government for customers. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Rather than having to contact different departments to get information or services, customers can call 13 QGOV for assistance with a range of transactions and information across the Queensland Government.

Queensland Government Service Centres

At a Queensland Government Service Centre you can access a range of Queensland Government services, advice and information from a single location. You can also make payments over the counter for a variety of government services, irrespective of which department owns the service.

Along with the face-to-face counter service, the Queensland Government Service Centres have self-service computer kiosks and a telephone linked to Smart Service Queensland’s Integrated Contact Centre.

In 2013–14, we continued to participate in two multi-agency Queensland Government Service Centres located in Cairns and Maroochydore.

The service centres are in addition to the Queensland Government Agent Program offices in regional locations across Queensland. These offices provide government information about transactional services for people in their local community.

Queensland Government website

The Queensland Government website has been designed to present information based on relevance to customer groups so people can find information at one online location, regardless of which department is responsible for providing the service.

Head Office

Level 13
111 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4001
Ph: 13 QGOV (13 7468) (local call cost)
Email: enquiries@communities.qld.gov.au
Internet: www.communities.qld.gov.au

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We provide our services through seven regions

Far North Queensland
William McCormack Place
5B Sheridan Street Cairns Qld 4870
PO Box 4626 Cairns Qld 4870
Ph: 4036 5522 Fax: 4036 5577

North Queensland
Level 8, Verde Tower
445 Flinders Street Townsville Qld 4810
PO Box 1168 Townsville Qld 4810
Ph: 4799 5533 Fax: 4799 5570

Central Queensland
Level 3, State Government Building
209 Bolsover Street
Rockhampton Qld 4700
PO Box 1503 Rockhampton Qld 4700
Ph: 4938 6996 Fax: 4938 4867

North Coast
Mike Ahern Building
12 First Avenue
Maroochydore Qld 4558
PO Box 972 Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: 5352 7385 Fax: 5352 7343

Brisbane
Ground Floor 55 Russell Street (Cnr Edmondstone Street) South Brisbane Qld 4101
PO Box 3022 South Brisbane BC Qld 4101
Ph: 3109 7007 Fax: 3895 3250

South West
Level 2, Icon Building
117 Brisbane Street Ipswich Qld 4305
PO Box 876 Ipswich Qld 4305
Ph: 3432 7211 Fax: 3280 1935

South East
Ground Floor 100 George Street
Beenleigh Qld 4207
PO Box 1170 Beenleigh Qld 4207
Ph: 3884 7400 Fax: 3884 7428

Queensland Government Service Centres

Cairns
Ground Floor, William McCormack Place
5B Sheridan Street Cairns Qld 4870
Ph: 13 QGOV (13 7468)

Maroochydore
Ground Floor, Mike Ahern Building
12 First Avenue Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: 13 QGOV (13 7468)

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Additional information

Consultancies

In 2013–14, we spent $140,000 on consultancies as identified in the table below:

Type of consultancy Amount
Stakeholder engagement, market sounding, purchasing, strategy and specification development $140,144

Definition of a consultant

For Queensland Government reporting purposes, a service provider can be categorised as a consultant (which may be an individual or an organisation), if all of the following apply:

  • develops a new concept or process where the department requires critical judgment to consider the recommended course of action
  • provides expert knowledge to analyse information, draw conclusions and make recommendations in the form of a written report or an intellectual product for future action which the department must then decide upon or take a certain course of action
  • produces an outcome that is not necessarily predictable, but tends to be open-ended and is more complex, for example, a range of recommendations which the department must consider
  • is engaged for a fixed period of time at an agreed rate of payment works independently, that is, unsupervised, not directed by the department.

Overseas travel

Name of officer/member and position Destination Reason for travel Agency cost Contribution from other agencies or sources
Hoani Peke, Child Safety Support Officer, Labrador Child Safety Service Centre New Zealand To accompany a child client relocating to New Zealand $1636 Nil
Whina Rihari, Team Leader, Redcliffe Child Safety Service Centre New Zealand To accompany a child client on a family visit $977 Nil

Queensland Cultural Diversity Policy

Queensland Cultural Diversity Policy — whole-of-government core outcomes
Core outcome Performance indicators Measure
Improved access to interpreters for clients when accessing services Amount spent annually on interpreters engaged by department and government-funded non-government organisations $1.740 million
Number of interpreters engaged annually by the department and government funded non-government organisations Data not available

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Glossary

A

Approved carer

A departmentally approved person who provides home-based care for children subject to ongoing departmental intervention.

B

Bryce Report

A special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland was chaired by the Honourable Quentin Bryce to examine Queensland’s domestic and family violence support systems and make recommendations to the Premier on how the system could be improved and future incidents of domestic violence could be prevented.

C

Carer

Someone who provides, in a non-contractual and unpaid capacity, ongoing care or assistance to another person who, because of disability, frailty, chronic illness or pain, requires assistance with everyday tasks.

Carmody Inquiry

On 1 July 2012 the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (the Commission) was established, led by the Honourable Tim Carmody QC.  The Commission was asked to review the entire Queensland child protection system and to chart a roadmap for the system for the next ten years.

Case plan

A written plan for meeting a child’s care and protection needs.

Case planning

A participative process of planning strategies to address a child’s protection and care needs and promote a child’s wellbeing.

Clinical governance

The system by which the governing body, managers, clinicians and staff share responsibility and accountability to improve and reduce the variability of client outcomes in services that have a clinical aspect to their service design.

Community Care

Queensland Community Care provides low intensity support services to people under 65 years of age who have a disability or a condition, which restricts their ability to carry out activities of daily living. Core activities of daily living are communication, self-care, and mobility. Core activity tasks include dressing, bathing or showering, preparing meals, house cleaning and maintenance and using public transport.

Community recovery

Coordination of support for the restoration of emotional, social and physical wellbeing, and for developing financial assistance packages for individuals, families and non-government organisations to help people recover from a disaster as quickly as possible.

Corporate governance

Corporate governance is the framework of rules, relationships, systems and processes within, and by which, authority is exercised and controlled within organisations. It encompasses the mechanisms by which organisations, and those in authority, are held to account.

D

Disability

A person’s condition that is attributable to an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairment or a combination of impairments, and results in a substantial reduction of the person’s capacity for communication, social interaction, learning, mobility or self-care or management.

Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence occurs when one person in a relationship uses violence or abuse to maintain power and control over the other person.

F

Forensic Disability Service

The Forensic Disability Service provides purpose-built accommodation for some people with an intellectual or cognitive disability who are on a forensic disability order.

Foster carer

A person or persons approved by the department to provide care in their own home for children and young people who are assessed as in need of protection or subject to an investigation and assessment. This can be for short or long periods of time.

H

Human Services Quality Framework

The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) is a system for assessing and improving the quality of human services. It applies to organisations delivering services under a service agreement with the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services or other specified arrangements.

K

Kinship carer

A person or persons who are approved by the department to provide care to a specific child (or children) to whom they are related or for whom they are a person of significance. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be another Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who is a member of their community, a compatible community or from the same language group.

L

Living away from home

The provision of care outside the home to children who are in need of protection or who require a safe placement while their protection and safety needs are assessed. Figures include hospitals, Queensland youth detention centres, independent living and all other placements. Reporting this way provides a more complete picture of the number of children living away from home with whom the department has contact.

N

National Disability Insurance Agency

The National Disability Insurance Agency has been established to work with eligible people with a permanent or significant disability to:

  • discuss their individual goals and support needs
  • develop an individual plan that will help them achieve their goals
  • consider the supports needed to strengthen family and informal caring arrangements
  • connect them to mainstream services and community supports.
National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will support people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.

National partnership agreement

National partnership agreements are agreements between the Commonwealth of Australia and the state and territory governments. The agreements contain the objectives, outcomes, outputs and performance indicators, and roles and responsibilities that will guide the delivery of services across the relevant sectors.

Non-government organisation

Community-managed not-for-profit organisations that receive government funding specifically for the purpose of providing community support services.

O

Out-of-home care

The provision of care outside the home to children who are in need of protection or who require a safe placement while their protection and safety needs are assessed. Data for out-of-home care placements refers only to children in approved foster care, approved kinship care, provisionally approved care and residential care services.

P

Policy

A general principle by which government, a company or an organisation is guided in its management.

Prevention and early intervention

Prevention and early intervention approaches are those that prevent or arrest problems at early stages in the development of problem situations. A focus on early intervention and prevention, rather than on treatment after a problem has developed, is both socially and economically more effective in the long term.

R

Recognised entity

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations or individuals connected with their communities and approved and funded by the department to provide cultural support and family advice to the department and courts in relation to child protection matters for Indigenous children and families.

Red tape

Red tape refers to excessive bureaucratic regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules considered redundant.

Reform

Reform is the transformation of government to be more efficient, achieve value for money, and ultimately deliver better outcomes for Queenslanders.

Residential care

Non-family-based accommodation and support services funded by the department to provide placement and support for children who are the subject of ongoing departmental intervention. These residential services provide daily care and support for children from a house parent or rostered residential care workers model.

Respite services

Services that provide short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home.

Restrictive practices

Restrictive practices are the following interventions: containment or seclusion; chemical restraint, mechanical restraint and physical restraint; or restricting access (e.g. to objects by locking cupboards). These practices are required for adults with intellectual or cognitive disability who exhibit behaviour that places themselves or others at risk of harm.

S

Service provider

A business or organisation that supplies expert care or specialised services rather than an actual product.

Social inclusion

Society where all people are given the opportunity to participate fully in political, cultural, civic and economic life to improve their living standards and their overall wellbeing.

It aims to remove barriers for people or for areas that experience a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown.

Social investment

Social investment is the voluntary contribution of funding, skills and resources to projects that deliver benefits to local communities and society. This includes a loan or other financial investment that aims to make a positive economic, social or environmental impact in a community.

Stakeholders

Individuals and organisations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of the project execution/completion.

Supported accommodation

A living environment for children or adults with disability or high-support needs. Staff assist residents with activities of daily living.

T

Therapeutic support

Therapeutic support encompasses a range of services provided to vulnerable members of the community to assist them in their daily lives. This support is provided by government and non-government health and education providers.

W

Whole-of-government

Denotes public service agencies working across portfolio boundaries to achieve a shared goal and an integrated government response to particular issues.

Y

Young people

People aged 12 to 25 years. In terms of youth justice, a young person is someone aged 10 to 16 years at the time of committing an offence.

Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.