Queensland Government investigation into Domestic Violence Shelter nothing more than a cover-up.

Thursday 1st October 2015

I visited the office of Bill Byrne, Member for Rockhampton for the purposes of obtaining the most appropriate contact to refer my public interest disclosure. I was given the contact details for the Department of Housing in Brisbane. I telephoned their office and explained my concerns

A few hours later I was contacted by Simone Finch, General Manager Operations Housing Services. Ms Finch provided me with her contact details and volunteered herself as my first point of contact.

Later that afternoon I was contacted by another client of the shelter. She was very distressed at how the manager of the shelter was treating her. I documented the individuals concerns and made the necessary changes to my public interest disclosure to ensure they were included.

Friday 2nd October 2015

At 8:20am I received a SMS from Ms Finch wanting to ensure I had her correct details. It was obvious at this point Ms Finch was very keen to see what information I had. I found this very reassuring and comforting. I relayed this information to my informants. They were also relieved.

SMS from Department of Housing

At 4:30pm, I emailed the Public Interest Disclosure to Ms Finch and published a censored version on my blog and shared it across my social media platforms.

Read the original censored disclosure here

Saturday 3rd October 2015 to Monday 5th October 2015

I received several private messages from previous employees of the shelter. They all agreed with the content of my public interest disclosure. Other members of the public who have had dealings with the shelter also provided me with further evidence to indicate the concerns I raised have been going on for quite some time. There was consistent feedback indicating the conduct of the Manager was more of a self interest than actual caring for victims of domestic violence. I received further information that a senior public servant in the department was allegedly financially benefiting from the government funding.

Wednesday 7th October 2015

There appeared to be a lot of activity at the shelter. For the first time in a very long time the Manager appeared to be present at work. This was the second day in a row. There was lots of cleaning going on and employees of the shelter were properly engaging with victims of domestic violence. There were contractors onsite doing a lot of activity around maintenance.

At 12:07pm, I emailed Ms Finch requesting an update on the investigation. I received no response.

Friday 9th October 2015

At 9:44am, I emailed Ms Finch again requesting an update on the investigation.

Since the 2nd of October 2015, I made numerous attempts in contacting Ms Finch via telephone however none of my messages were returned.

 

Friday 16th October 2015

At 5:40pm, I received an email from Ms Finch … “I am not at liberty to discuss the matter, or the progress of the investigation, with you.  I will notify you of the completion of the matter, when appropriate.”

email from finch

Saturday 17th October 2015

I received more information from informants to which I documented.

Monday 19th October 2015

I contacted the Ministers office via telephone as I no longer felt that Ms Finch was had the interest of the public. I spoke to a man by the name of David. I was provided with an email address and I forwarded the additional information. The censored version is below

  1. Staff (A & B) collect donations before clients
  2. xyz linen is left on office floor for days while staff and clients put it through the shelters washing machine
  3. xyz apartments linen is washed in inappropriate water temperature, unethical hygiene
  4. Managers main focus is on xyz apartments
  5. Nil health and safety/ fire training, nil inductions, nil lock down training, nil training on fist aid
  6. Client case notes stored on word documents, inadequate confidentiality procedures
  7. Manager not answer phone calls from staff when she is needed
  8. Manager often not on site for weeks/days
  9. Manager has nil involvement between staff conflicts
  10. Clients are ignored due lack of staff availability
  11. Clients are not supported with individual needs or directed for professional assistance
  12. Staff often do not attend the doorbell ringing from a client during the day
  13. Security cameras not always working
  14. Long periods of smoke alarms not working
  15. Manager told of men on site at night and chooses to ignore the information
  16. Manager will not do incident reports
  17. Unethical incidents are not reported (staff in contact with clients blood from client’s accident)
  18. Children are often late to school from lack of staff or from particular staff members avoiding this role of support
  19. Pet hygiene is not supported by manager and creates health and safety matters
  20. Manager notified that (F) changes other staff members case notes, untraceable owing to the word document format (nil action)
  21. Staff do not have individual broken security alerts replaced
  22. Security codes are not changed after the departure of staff members
  23. Children’s playground requires a child gate lock to stop unsupervised children (recently child with broken arm)
  24. Child gate required on stairs to upstairs rooms to prevent high risk accidents
  25. Staff contracts expire without any further updates (staff feel vulnerable with job security)
  26. Manager repeats confidential conversations with other staff members (lack of professional conduct)
  27. Nil professional supervision provided to staff causing extreme stress within the work place
  28. Staff member instantly sacked without any prior warnings/ nil reason given
  29. Currently employed is one Manager and one Family Support Worker to house 11 families (insufficient service to clients)
  30. (Z) behaviour towards clients suppress clients ability to become self sufficient, clients know they are disliked by her

I made attempts in trying to contact the Regional Director for the Department of Housing, Barry O’Rourke. My attempts were unsuccessful. His office closes at 4:30pm.

Tuesday 20th October 2015

I recontacted the Ministers office. I was instructed to contact Ms Finch again in relation to my enquiry. I told them Ms Finch does not return my telephone calls or emails. I wanted to speak to someone else. I was instructed to speak to the Regional Director. I was also informed that an investigator from Brisbane was travelling to the location of the domestic violence shelter today to conduct an onsite audit. I informed the person on the telephone that this visit today was nothing more than ticking the boxes and a cover-up as on Wednesday the 7th of October, some of the matters I had mentioned in my PID were resolved. I was told this is the first appointment the department was aware of for this investigation and that any prior visit was just coincidence.

I attempted to contact the Regional Director again. I was told he was unavailable. I left a message and told them I would call him every day until he took  my calls.

An hour later I recontacted the Regional Director. Was told he was on the telephone. I asked to be put through to someone else. Spoke to someone else in his office. She told me that the Regional Director does not want to answer my questions or meet with me. I asked her if the Regional Director met with members of the public. She answered yes. I asked for an appointment with the Regional Director. She told me I wasn’t able to get one.

I  am of the strong belief that the department  has done a stealth by night operation and fixed the issues  prior to the “official” visit. I will allege financial misconduct and the misuse of government funds for the personal benefit of public servants. I will allege this matter is now a Government cover-up.

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