Oversight of Oranga Tamariki
The Ombudsman now has a stronger role
The Ombudsman will continue to consider complaints about Oranga Tamariki and other government agencies and can now also consider complaints about Oranga Tamariki care or custody providers.
From May 2023 the Ombudsman has new powers and duties
The Ombudsman’s powers have been extended to obtain information from Oranga Tamariki or its care or custody providers for a ‘preliminary inquiry’.
This means on receipt of a complaint the Ombudsman can require Oranga Tamariki or its care or custody providers to provide information, so the Ombudsman can decide whether an investigation or resolution is appropriate.
The Ombudsman can disclose information to an appropriate agency or person if it is necessary to mitigate a serious risk of harm to a child/tamaiti. This overrides the Ombudsman’s secrecy obligations.
Supporting complaint processes
The Ombudsman may provide guidance to Oranga Tamariki and its care or custody providers on the design of their own complaints processes and to support their learning and continuous improvement.
Access to trends and data
Oranga Tamariki and its care or custody providers will be required to give the Ombudsman broad access to information relating to critical or serious incidents, complaints, and trends and data about complaints.
Ombudsman processes must be culturally appropriate and recognise and incorporate a Tikanga Māori approach and be accessible to children/tamariki, young people/rangatahi, family, whānau, hapū, iwi and others supporting them.
The Chief Ombudsman must make reasonable efforts to build relationships with hapū, iwi and Māori organisations to help the Ombudsman to perform their role.
Three oversight agencies for the Oranga Tamariki system
There are three oversight agencies: We work together to provide strengthened complaints handling, advocacy and monitoring:
Kaitiaki Mana Tangata | Ombudsman
Strengthened complaints handling about Oranga Tamariki and its care or custody providers. This includes resolution and investigation of complaints and wider issues.
Mana Mokopuna | Children and Young People’s Commission
Advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children/tamariki in the Oranga Tamariki system, and where needed, help children/tamariki and their family and whānau navigate the system to resolve problems.
Monitor the performance of the system, including identifying areas for improvement. Monitoring reports will be used by others to advocate for system change. Monitoring spans compliance, quality of practice and outcomes.
‘No wrong door’
Regardless of which oversight agency a child/tamaiti, young person/rangatahi or adult approaches, the oversight agencies will help them reach the appropriate agency. Those reaching out will know that their safety, wellbeing and care is paramount and any appropriate action will be taken.