PSA awaits deeper investigation into Ministry’s security practice in wake of Ashburton tragedy

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The PSA welcomed the release of a report of the Ministry of Social Development’s security environment today but says that the next phase is crucial to understanding the entire picture in the Ashburton tragedy.

The independent review shows that in relation to the Ashburton tragedy, the Ministry took all practical steps to ensure the safety of its employees.    A series of recommendations to bolster security efforts were also a feature of the report and the PSA welcomes these.

While the union welcomes the release of the report it says that further improvements are likely to be necessary at the Ministry.

“The next phase of the process and the report from that will hopefully shed more light on the overall situation at MSD.  We know that it will look more deeply at the overall security environment at the Ministry and that’s a good thing if it means we can avoid a repeat of what happened in Ashburton,” says Richard Wagstaff, PSA national secretary.

“For example, members tell us that issues like office layout play a big part in how secure they feel.  Many are concerned about the open plan arrangements in many offices and others have questioned the co-location of Work and Income staff in the same sites as Child, Youth and Family, which they feel has increased the risk for Work and Income staff and other service users.”

Members also have questions about such things as how incidents are reported, the level and regularity of training for staff and the extent to which aggressive behaviour is tolerated.

“We are hopeful that the second phase of the review will have a good look at these and other issues and that we will see real change that makes our members feel safer.” adds Richard Wagstaff.