Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2678 ..
focus. Mr Keating examined the operational circumstances surrounding the incident and Mr Tomas reviewed the security systems and infrastructure at Bimberi.
As I have previously mentioned, I am pleased to have such a comprehensive set of recommendations for the improvement of operations at Bimberi. I would like to inform the Assembly that the Community Services Directorate has agreed to all 13 recommendations made by Mr Keating and to 18 of the 20 recommendations made by Mr Tomas. The two recommendations made by Mr Tomas that are not agreed suggest rectifications to the centre that are not considered appropriate or consistent within the design philosophy at Bimberi. Particularly, Mr Tomas recommended the fitting of window security grilles and the installation of steel clad or corded doors in the residential areas.
The minor security benefits of these recommendations were outweighed by the overall design principles of the centre to maximise the normalised environment of the centre for young people. Although he made these recommendations, Mr Tomas does acknowledge the complexity of designing a youth detention facility to ensure a balance between security and robustness and creating an environment that is aesthetically appropriate in order to assist young people to positively engage in programs and activities.
Substantial progress has been made in response to the agreed recommendations and a number of actions have been completed. A significant number of recommendations were implemented under the change management and implementation strategy which was introduced in November of last year. I would like to advise the Assembly of just some of the key actions to date.
In relation to Mr Keating’s recommendation to consider the involvement of MSS officers in residential unit night duties, action was taken to cease the use of MSS officers for night shifts on 14 April of this year and all shifts are now covered by youth detention officers. MSS officers will continue to undertake reception and entry screening duties, as they have done since the opening of the centre.
A number of recruitment rounds have been held to increase the overall staffing levels at Bimberi, allowing for increased availability of staff for rostered duties. This strategy will continue to be important as it provides flexibility for staffing and ensuring the requirements of the roster are met. The position of centre manager at Bimberi has been filled, and the operations and program manager positions have been filled on a temporary basis pending permanent recruitment. Recruitment also is underway for the new position of assistant manager. That will strengthen the leadership and oversight group at Bimberi.
Funding was announced in the 2011-12 budget for capital work initiatives at Bimberi and staffing to support the operation of the fourth residential unit. And the budget measure includes the recruitment of nine additional staff. That would be six youth workers, one unit manager and two team leaders.
The recommendation to appraise staff performance is being addressed. This is part of a commitment to continually invest in staff working with young people in this environment. An assessment of staff strengths across the centre has been completed