Redesign Reference Group Terms of Reference

Child Protection Service Redesign Reference Group Terms of Reference

1. Background/Context

In a statement to Parliament on 27 August 2015, the Minister for Human Services, the Hon
Jacquie Petrusma MP, announced the immediate establishment of:

"…a Redesign Reference Group, that will develop, within six months, a comprehensive redesign of child protection services in Tasmania, from the bottom up, based on international best practice, to fundamentally change the way we deal with families at risk, and the way we apply protective intervention.

The Group will be led by independent Professor Maria Harries, Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in Social Work and Social Policy at the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia.

2. Role and function of the Redesign Reference Group

The Reference Group will:

Provide quality, expert advice to the Department of Health and Human Services to support the development of a strategy and business case for the re-design of the Child Protection Service that produces benefits for vulnerable children and their families in Tasmania. 

In undertaking this task the Reference Group will:

  • seek input on and consider the need for the broader reform across the system that is required for protecting children.
  • direct and conduct a program of engagement and consultation with stakeholders, including staff, service providers, children and their families regarding directions for change toward a more integrated and responsive system for the protection of children and strengthening of families
  • Identify principles that should inform the re-design

The outcomes will be to advise the Minister on:

  • fitness for purpose, and any observable gaps or omissions, of the redesign strategy
  • key elements required for the success for a redesigned system
  • workforce capabilities, skills mix and professional standards
  • impediments to implementation of the redesign and how best these can be overcome
  • strategies to improve the collection, integration and sharing of information that supports the best outcomes for vulnerable children and their families


The Reference Group Chair will consult directly with the Minister for Human Services and the Chair of the Steering Committee as she considers appropriate.

In progressing with their work the Reference Group and Steering Committee are likely to be combined meetings for a significant proportion of the Project.  The Steering Committee may need to meet separately if decisions need to be made about, for example, internal Agency resourcing or if formal, internal to government advice is required for relevant Ministers or Cabinet.

3. General

3.1 Membership

The Reference Group shall be comprised of:

  • Professor Maria Harries (Chair)
  • Commissioner for Children
  • Secretary, DHHS
  • Director, Community, Sport and Recreation, DPAC
  • Deputy Police Commissioner
  • Deputy Secretary, Department of Education

Deputy Secretary, Children and Youth Services and the Project Director will attend Reference Group meetings to provide advice on the development of the Action Plan.

The reference group may invite other representatives to attend meetings from time to time

3.2 Convenor/Chair

Professor Maria Harries will chair the Reference Group meetings.  The Project Team will provide secretariat support to the Reference Group.

3.3 Agenda Items

The Reference Group agenda, with attached meeting papers will be distributed at least three working days prior to the next scheduled meeting.

3.4 Minutes and Meeting Papers

Each meeting will be minuted by the Secretariat and full copies of the minutes, including attachments, shall be provided to all the members no later than seven working days following each meeting.

By agreement of the Reference Group, out-of-session decisions will be deemed acceptable.  Where agreed, all out-of-session decisions shall be recorded in the minutes of the next scheduled meeting.

3.5 Frequency of meetings

The Reference Group shall meet as required.  Videoconferencing facilities will be available.
A teleconference can be held as required for out-of-session decisions.  Where complex and urgent issues arise requiring decisions on this basis, additional face to face or videoconferencing meetings may be required. 

3.6 Alternates to Meetings

Alternates are to be considered and approved by the Chair prior to a meeting.  Approval is required for persons formally acting in a position that has membership of the Reference Group.  The Chair will be informed of the intended substitution at least four working days prior to the scheduled nominated meeting.

3.7 Quorum and Decision Making Requirements

Three members are required for the meeting to be recognised as an authorised meeting for the recommendations or resolutions to be valid.

Decisions will be reached by way of consensus.  Any differing views may be recorded in the meeting outcomes or reports if required.