The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has accepted in full the recommendations of an independent review into allegations made last year by former staff about workplace culture and human resources (HR) processes.
The review was conducted by former Commonwealth Government Deputy Public Service Commissioner Carmel McGregor PSM, appointed in January this year as the Independent Integrity Advisor for the Department.
The Department’s new Secretary, Jim Betts, appointed in April, said he had accepted all Ms McGregor’s recommendations, most of which had already been implemented by the Department with the remainder on track for delivery this year.
“I want to thank Ms McGregor for prioritising this independent review of our work practices in light of allegations made last year about people being afraid to raise concerns about failure of processes, potential misconduct or fraud.
“As part of her work, Carmel reached out to relevant former staff to find out whether the matters have been addressed and whether staff have been treated appropriately.
“Carmel’s report highlights the efforts underway under to set high standards of ethical behaviour and goodwill in the relevant teams to deliver on that.
“Fear is toxic, it hurts people and stops real conversations taking place. I’ve made it clear behaviours like this will be called out and dealt with, without compromise. I’m grateful to Carmel and to all staff, current and former, who contributed to this review,” he said.
Recommendations against which work is already underway or complete include:
- Providing greater clarity on the roles and responsibilities of Governance, Legal and HR teams
- Centralising ethics and complaints management
- Reviewing roles and responsibilities in the Department’s HR operating model
- Providing staff with a more robust onboarding process, including comprehensive onboarding training for HR staff
- Closer collaboration between HR and Ethics staff
- Lifting the pause on recruitment at the Department
- Reviewing HR delegations to ensure clear, consistent and equitable treatment of staff who may need to be terminated
- Appointment of a full time and onsite HR and Work Health and Safety team at the Department’s Maitland office, in place since December 2018.
“This review marks a firm reset on issues raised last year and provides a clear roadmap to help re-define what a successful government department looks like and take our culture and values where no other agency has gone before,” Mr Betts said.
You can read the review on our website.