Annual report 2016 cover

Improving the safety and security of staff and clients

The safety and security of our staff and clients are of paramount importance to us. Our staff have a right to be safe at work, and our clients should feel safe when they visit and talk about their needs and should have confidence and trust in our management of their personal information.

Security Response Programme

This past year has seen us continue to respond to the tragic events that occurred in Ashburton on 1 September 2014 and ready the organisation for the changes introduced under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which came into force on 1 April 2016.

Following the Ashburton tragedy we established the Security Response Programme (SRP) to implement changes based on the recommendations of the independent review of our security environment and to respond to the changing health, safety and security environment. The SRP has focused on embedding a stronger culture of safety and security awareness across the Ministry, and has implemented a new health, safety and security operating model and a dedicated Health, Safety and Security Group.

Physical environment

We developed an on-site risk assessment framework and deployed a comprehensive site security assessment and associated response programme.

We established two trial sites to test new approaches for our client-facing Work and Income sites (Willis Street, Wellington and Levin). This included introducing different zones within the sites with varying levels of client access, as recommended by the Government’s Protective Security Requirements. This testing was supported by staff training that covered situational awareness, stress and stressors, safety tactics and techniques, and emergency response. We will use what we learnt to inform the layout of future sites.

In addition to the physical layout trials, and as part of the overall security system, security levels and an interim Threat Assessment Process have been developed. We will continue to embed the practical use of these into our everyday business.

We also reviewed our off-site framework and looked into deploying mobile duress alarms.

Security incidents

Since the spike in security events following the Ashburton tragedy, the number of reported incidents has settled but remains at higher levels than in 2014. This was expected, given our work to increase staff awareness of safety and security practices and the emphasis on incident reporting.

Training and support for staff

As a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our people and their role in the safety and security environment, we have implemented a comprehensive training plan to help staff understand the Health and Safety at Work Act. This included:

  • introducing annual refreshers to the online training modules we brought in for all staff in 2015
  • safety drills across our sites, and scenario-based training for frontline staff
  • using our annual National Days of Conversations as an opportunity to talk about safety and security.

ACC Accredited Employer programme

As part of our ongoing commitment to delivering on our health and safety objectives, we are audited annually as part of ACC’s Accredited Employer programme. This provides assurance that we are complying with minimum health and safety standards, but it also provides an independent assessment of our commitment to achieve a higher standard.

In the August 2015 audit we retained our Primary Level accreditation. We are aiming to achieve a Tertiary Level accreditation score by 2018.

Privacy and security of information

This year we introduced an Information Management Strategy Framework, which emphasises the importance of privacy and information security, prioritising these areas for further development.

The Framework enables the integration of information management, information sharing, and privacy and information security plans and priorities.

Key initiatives that we have already completed in implementing the Framework include:

  • introducing an information security strategy
  • completing an information asset inventory
  • developing information management, and security, privacy and information-sharing resources, guidance and support
  • increasing our investment in privacy and information security.

These initiatives will enable us to deliver safe and secure information for day-to-day operations, transformation programmes and information sharing across the social sector.