I am pleased to present the 2020-21 Annual Report of the Department of Justice, which provides a summary of the extensive work undertaken across all areas of the Department over the last 12 months.
In 2020-21 COVID-19 again impacted on many aspects of our work and life, and while a number of areas saw a return to a form of COVID normal operations, some continued to have to adapt their operations to manage the risk, and others saw a significant increase to their workload as part of the government’s ongoing COVID response. I would particularly like to acknowledge the significant workload that WorkSafe Tasmania and Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) undertook over the last 12 months as they continued to play a key role in the response to COVID-19. For WorkSafe this involved a significant educative and compliance role providing information and support to businesses to ensure they understand their responsibilities and are taking all necessary steps to manage the risk in their workplaces. CBOS administered the rental support programs that provided financial support to tenants and property owners experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. More details on the ways Outputs continue to be impacted by or work in response to COVID-19 are provided in the relevant Output reports throughout this annual report.
Both the volume and diversity of the work our staff undertake was highlighted in the release of our new Corporate Direction 2020-2022 which captures the high priority initiatives that the Department is progressing in order to implement the Government’s key deliverables, together with other key reforms and projects. We have identified seven key priorities and more than 30 major projects and initiatives that we are working to progress across all areas of our operations over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years. Progress has already been made in implementing the Corporate Direction, with some items already completed and many others underway. The Corporate Direction is reproduced in Section 1 of this annual report and progress on implementation is reflected throughout the report.
Throughout the reporting period progress was made on a number of major projects which, when completed, will have a positive impact on our clients, the wider community and our own work. This includes major infrastructure developments such as the Southern Remand Centre, Northern Regional Prison and Burnie Court Relocation. When completed, these projects will deliver modern, fit for purpose correctional and court infrastructure that will contribute to better rehabilitative outcomes for people in custody and/or the efficient and effective administration of justice. We are also continuing to progress important technology and service improvement initiatives such as the Justice Connect Program and PlanBuild Tasmania. Both of these projects, which will modernise ways of working, streamline processes and enhance access to information, reached important milestones during the reporting period and I look forward to seeing them implemented in the coming years.
The Department continues to provide a range of important supports for victims of crime, through the work of Victim Support Services, Safe at Home and the Child Abuse Royal Commission Response Unit. This crucial work recognises the ongoing impacts experienced by many victims of crime and I am proud to lead an organisation that not only provides such important support and services, but more importantly that we do so in a sensitive, professional manner that is tailored to the needs and circumstances of individuals. During 2020-21 the legislative framework for the Witness Intermediary Scheme Pilot Scheme was developed and the scheme commenced operation to support a particularly vulnerable group in their engagement with the legal system.
The Department undertook significant work in 2020-21 to support the Government’s commitment to examine and respond to historical cases of child sexual abuse in government agencies, most significantly assisting in the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings. The Department will continue to have a key role in the work of the Commission over it’s duration, including leading the government’s response.
As in previous years, the Department has again progressed a number of significant pieces of legislation to give effect to the government’s policy priorities and reform commitments. In the past 12 months this has included legislation relating to:
The Department has further supported the government’s commitments and priorities through its responsibilities arising from the recommendations of the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee and election commitments, particularly those identified to be progressed within the first 100 days of the new term of government. Progress has been made against a number of these, which is reported in the responsible Output’s sections throughout this annual report.
Internally, we have continued to focus heavily on ensuring we have the right frameworks in place to support our people and create a positive workplace culture. During 2020-21 we launched a new set of organisational values, which:
Following a process of engaging with staff to seek their views on the most appropriate values for the department, in December 2020 I was proud to launch the new Department of Justice values. These are that: We act with integrity, respect and accountability and our workplaces are inclusive and collaborative. Since the launch of our values, we continue to develop tools and resources to ensure the values are embedded in all aspects of our work, a task which we will continue to prioritise in the years ahead.
We have also continued a body of work to implement our People Strategy and Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to ensure that our recruitment and people management framework allows us to attract, retain and develop the best people and ensure our workplaces are inclusive and supportive for all staff.
In addition to the major initiatives detailed above, all areas of the Department undertake a significant amount of business as usual activity which is not often recognised but makes an important contribution to the Tasmanian community we serve. For this reason, I would like to thank all staff of the Department for their work and dedication over the last 12 months. Our people are central to all that we do and I continue to be impressed by the high levels of knowledge and skill they each bring to their roles and the enthusiasm with which they undertake their work.
I would also like to acknowledge Output Managers across the Department, the three Deputy Secretaries and those who have acted in these roles at various times over the last 12 months. Each of these people continue to show strong leadership and commitment in their work and support their teams to achieve outcomes, in roles that are often as challenging as they are rewarding. Without the important contribution of each of these groups, the Department would not have been able to achieve all that we have over the last 12 months.
Additional information on all of these initiatives, along with qualitative and quantitative performance reports, financial statements and information required to be published to meet a range of compliance obligations, is provided throughout the subsequent sections of this annual report, which I commend to you.
Department of Justice
15 September 2021
Here’s a snapshot of our Department as at 30 June 2021. Download our Annual Report from the links below to read about us in more detail.
In 2020-21 the Department
1,557 staff equating to 1,457.5 full time equivalents (FTE)
*Note: The Department has two employees who identify as non-binary or have not disclosed their gender.
Highlights amongst the range of projects and initiatives progressed across the Department during the 2020-21 reporting period include:
Annual Report 2020-2021
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