If Oranga Tamariki needs 'systemic change, we'll recommend that', ombudsman says

If there needs to be "systemic change" at Oranga Tamariki, the chief ombudsman won't be afraid to reccomend so, he told TVNZ1's Breakfast today - one day after announcing an independent investigation of the agency. 

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“If there does need to be systemic change … we’ll be recommending that,” he said. Source: Breakfast

"One of the concerns that’s arisen in this case whether or not Oranga Tamariki is operating too much in isolation," Peter Boshier said. 

The chief ombudsman, the Children's Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki have all launched separate probes after a controversial documentary showed a newborn being removed from her mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital last month.

Mr Boshier said Cabinet requested him to have a greater long-term oversight role of Oranga Tamariki.

"Because we’re an office of Parliament and we have that independence, I felt that we ought to do a broader range of inquiry," he said of the latest investigation announcement. 

His review will provide detailed information, whereas the Children's Commissioner review is limited to Māori babies of a certain age, he explained.

"We’ll be broader-based and look at systems as well as what just happened," he said. 

"When we decide to investigate, we clearly set out what we’re doing and why. We set our terms of reference at the end of the investigation and we do a provisional report.

"It's a very open and transparent process."

One of the main concerns that has arisen during this case, he acknowledged, is whether Oranga Tamariki is operating too much in isolation and having little to no interaction with iwi.

"The Children, Young Persons [Well-being] Act has a fundamental expectation with iwi, it's actually written into the statute, so that's something of great importance," he said. 

"If there does need to be systemic change … we’ll be recommending that."