Performance frameworks in custodial centre operations

3 March 2016

The effectiveness of Corrective Services NSW’s performance framework is limited because organisational key performance indicators (KPIs) do not cascade to public correctional centres, according to a report released today by the Acting New South Wales Auditor-General, Tony Whitfield.

“As a result, individual public correctional centres could not be assessed on how well they are contributing to overall Corrective Service objectives, and it is difficult to vary performance expectations in response to changing operating environments,” said Mr Whitfield. “Its commissioning and contestability project is designed to address these issues,” he added.

Some key organisational targets were met and publicly reported

In 2014–15, Corrective Services met five of 12 organisational targets. Targets that were not met include nil prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and eight hours’ time out of cells for inmates in secure facilities. It advised that these targets reflect government policy and can be difficult to consistently achieve in a high risk corrective services environment.

“Corrective Services does not publicly report on public correctional centre performance and provides only limited information for private centres, which limits transparency and accountability,” said Mr Whitfield.

Corrective Services’ low time out of cells low cost system increases risk

More inmates are being housed in existing facilities, reducing the time out of cells for inmates and the cost per inmate.

“While the increasing number of inmates is reducing the inmate per day cost, it also is adversely affecting inmate welfare and increasing the risk of inmate self-harm,” said Mr Whitfield. ”In 2014-15 the inmate cost per day was $190.29,” he added.

The effectiveness of remedial action in response to poor KPI performance was limited

Corrective Services set remedial actions in response to poor performance against KPIs, but correctional centre general managers found it difficult to deal with underperformance as not all employees have performance agreements.

Correctional centres met most operating standards

Corrective Services has developed a comprehensive suite of operating standards and specifications to assess correctional centres against international best practice. High security public centres met most operating standards while private centres met all but one operating specification for the 2014–15 contract year. Lower security public correctional centres have not been assessed against these standards.

Private correctional centres met all but one performance linked fee

Junee Correctional Centre met all of its performance linked fees and Parklea Correctional Centre met all but one for the 2014–15 contract year. The link between performance linked fees and outcomes could be strengthened by applying greater weight to outcomes-focused performance measures, such as prisoner-on-staff assaults.

Further Information

For further information, please refer to the report’s Executive Summary or full report. Please contact Barry Underwood on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au.

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