Review of Employee Performance and Conduct
In January 2019, the New South Wales Department of Education commissioned Mr Mark Tedeschi AM QC, former Senior Crown Prosecutor for the State of NSW, to conduct a review into the functions and operations of the Employee Performance and Conduct Directorate (EPAC) in the Department.
Purpose and scope
The specific focus of the review was the way allegations of staff misconduct are referred to and subsequently assessed, investigated and managed by EPAC.
The review examined and made recommendations to the Secretary about:
- the structure and adequacy of resources currently deployed in the EPAC Directorate
- the roles, responsibilities and functions of EPAC
- investigation practices and procedures in use within EPAC
- how procedural fairness considerations are incorporated into investigative practice and procedure and demonstrated as part of the investigation process
- the tools, systems and processes used to manage cases under investigation including monitoring and reporting on the time taken to finalise investigations
- opportunities for improving the timeliness of investigations while maintaining the quality to investigative outcomes.
The review also considered how similar investigative functions are managed by other agencies both within and outside NSW in both educational and other professional settings.
More than 100 written submissions were received from interested parties including: stakeholder organisations; former complainants and staff subject to allegations of misconduct; school Principals and Directors of Educational Leadership; and former and present employees of EPAC. In addition, more than 40 people/organisations were interviewed.
Impact on current and past EPAC investigations
The review did not look into the outcomes of individual cases. It considered the systems, processes and procedures currently in place and those that could be adopted, ensuring that investigations of alleged misconduct are conducted in the most efficient and effective way, that procedural fairness considerations are observed in all cases and that matters are dealt with appropriately.
Key recommendations of the review
The key recommendations of the review include:
- Regular and informative updates for parties involved in EPAC investigations
- Timely notification of allegations
- Additional resourcing and improved systems for EPAC
- Streamlined investigations and implementation of new decision-making procedures, including the use of a disciplinary advisory panel when more serious disciplinary action is considered appropriate
- Clearer definitions of misconduct and the establishment of a database of disciplinary decisions, and
- Publication of anonymised summaries of disciplinary outcomes for all employees of the Department.
Implementation of the recommendations
The Department has accepted in principle Mr Tedeschi’s recommendations, subject to resourcing availability and further analysis of implications. The recommendations will be acted upon by mid- 2020.
View or download a copy of NSW Department of Education Secretary, Mark Scott’s related media release.