Cape Reinga

MSD releases second stage findings of independent security review

10 February 2015.

To be attributed to Brendan Boyle, Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development

I have today released the Phase Two report of the independent security review into the Ministry of Social Development’s security environment.

The security review was initiated as a result of the tragic shootings at the MSD Community Link in Ashburton on 1 September 2014.

Following that incident a review was set up to assess security both in the immediate aftermath of the shootings (Phase One), and a more comprehensive review of security across the Ministry to ensure the physical safety of staff and members of the public (Phase Two).

I previously released the Phase One report that showed the Ministry had taken all practicable steps to ensure the safety of staff in relation to the events in Ashburton.

Phase Two has taken a broader look at security at MSD, and has identified areas that we need to enhance. These include:

  • enhancing and further developing the Ministry’s safety and security operating model and ensuring consistency across MSD
  • enhancing security training, information sharing and analysis of incidents and risk information
  • promoting a more risk aware culture
  • reviewing the deployment of security guards across sites in terms of their numbers and role.

My senior management team and I are committed to acting on the recommendations.

We have already made good progress since Ashburton and we have established a Security Response Programme to take the recommendations forward.

I have determined that an independent assessment of our progress against the recommendations in this review will be undertaken in 12 months. I would expect that the work to respond to the recommendations will be completed in two years.

There is nothing more important than the safety of our staff and our clients.

MSD staff deal with thousands of people each day, often in instances of stress or high needs. Most of these interactions are conducted with courtesy on both sides, but it is important that staff feel secure in their dealings with all clients.

The measures we introduced following the Ashburton incident, including a zero tolerance policy toward threatening behaviour, increased referral of such behaviour to the Police, and increased security and controlled entry at sites, will continue. As recommended by the review, we will review the placement of security guards, to ensure they provide the best possible security for both staff and clients.

The review also identifies some broader government implications. The State Services Commission will be considering and coordinating a response to these issues.

I want to thank the Reviewers, Murray Jack and Rob Robinson, for their work on both Reviews. They have given MSD a clear way forward to ensure ongoing staff and client safety.


Questions and answers

Will you be reopening satellite sites?

The operational implications of the Review still need to be worked through. As we do that work, our satellite sites will remain closed. We expect to make decisions on a site by site basis in the next few months. We will continue to work with the communities affected by the closures to ensure that clients are able to access the services they need.

Are you confident you did everything you could have done to prevent Ashburton?

The Phase 2 report confirms the earlier finding that the Ministry took all practicable steps to ensure the safety of staff in relation to the tragedy in Ashburton. However it is essential that we address the recommendations from Phase 2 as we enhance our safety and security operating model across the Ministry.

What steps has the Ministry taken to protect staff and clients since the events in Ashburton?

Following the tragedy we’ve posted at least two security guards at all Work and Income sites. We’ve also introduced controlled access to all Work and Income sites which means some people may be asked for ID before entering.

We know this has caused some inconvenience for our clients, but security takes priority for our staff and our clients.

We will continue to review the placement of security guards, to ensure they provide the best possible security for both staff and clients.

How is MSD considering the potential impact of the Workplace Health and Safety Reform Bill when looking at its safety and security practices?

Work on assessing the implications of the Bill was underway prior to the review. This is now being carried out as part of the work programme under way to respond to the review’s recommendations.

What is MSD doing to ensure that more emphasis is placed on making safety and security a priority across the organisation?

The safety of our staff and clients is paramount. The Phase 2 review found MSD has established policies and procedures for safety and security, but being a large organisation practices are varied across our different service lines.

A Security Response Programme Board has been established to oversee the response to the recommendations in the review. An independent assessment of our progress will take place in 12 months.

What security and safety training do staff currently receive and how is this being improved?

Amongst the training we deliver, all frontline staff receive health, safety and security training when they first start work at MSD and other training is on-going. In November we rolled out additional de-escalation training for staff and further work is underway on improving the recording and effectiveness of staff training across the Ministry.

The report raises a number of implications that need to be considered at a whole of government level. What is the Ministry doing about these?

The whole of government implications require careful consideration across the wider public sector. The State Services Commission will consider and coordinate a response to the implications raised.

How long will it take to implement the response to the recommendations?

The recommendations in the review will take time to consider and respond to. We are committed to undertaking a review of our progress in 12 months.

Cape Reinga


Independent review of the security environment for the Ministry of Social Development - Phase 2 report

Feb 2015

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