Approach and Methodology

The scope of this Inquiry covers the breadth of Child Protection issues.  This includes the roles and responsibilities of a number of statutory government and non-government agencies in addition to those of Northern Territory Families and Children (NTFC).  This being the case, the Board’s approach involves gathering information from multiple sources using a range of methodologies.  The key elements of this approach are as follows:

  1. Public forums – These forums held throughout the Northern Territory were designed to provide members of the public with information about the Inquiry and to provide an opportunity for attendees to raise issues that they feel should be explored by the Board.
  2. Written and oral submissions – Submissions were invited from organisations and individuals with an interest in the child protection system and the wellbeing of children. (Further details on making submissions can be found on the “Making Submissions” page.)
  3. The Inquiry Board invited a number of organisations and individuals to contribute to the Inquiry.  In some cases, the Board may issue a summons to individuals who are in a position to provide the Board with specific information.  In some circumstances, individuals may feel more comfortable presenting to the Board if they have been summonsed to do so.  This can be discussed with the Board’s Executive Officer on (08) 8999 6269 or free call 1800 770 543.
  4. Reference group – The Board has established an expert reference group made up of academics, researchers and practitioners from across Australia and the Northern Territory.  This reference group will be providing specific feedback to the Board on methodologies, areas of focus, research and recommendations (see Reference Group page).
  5. The Board’s own policy and research capacity – The Board’s Secretariat includes a number of specialist policy and research staff with capacity to co-ordinate the provision of policy advice and research.  In addition, the Secretariat includes staff members with investigative skills.
  6. The Board will be informed by recent reviews and recommendations of inquiries into child protection systems in other states.
  7. The Board has requested briefings and information from a number of other government and non-government agencies on practice and policy issues it is exploring.
  8. In order to further inform itself about issues, the Board visited all urban centres and a number of remote communities throughout the course of the Inquiry and consulted with community representatives.  Remote communities, in particular, were invited to request a visit by the Board to their community.
  9. The conducting of case reviews and file audits is an option that the Board is considering.