Government is strengthening independent oversight of the children's system. It is also strengthening the system and children’s issues in three core areas:
- system level advocacy on behalf of children and by children, which will continue to be undertaken by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC)
- oversight and investigation of complaints relating to the application of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and/or the children in the care or custody of the State, which will be undertaken by the Office of the Ombudsman
- independent monitoring and assurance of the operations and obligations delivered under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and associated regulations; this function is being established by the Ministry of Social Development and will be phased in over time, with the in-principle intent that it will later be transferred to OCC.
The Ministry of Social Development is also leading a process of policy and legislative change which will be achieved through a new Act and associated regulations.
Work to refine the legislative proposals regarding the Children's Commissioner Act 2003 has beeen carried out in conjunction with the Ombudsman, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, and the Independent Children’s Monitor. A wider set of agencies have also been consulted on the scope of monitoring and long-term home of the monitor.
The Bill is expected to be introduced and referred to select committee in mid-2021, with enactment in April 2022.