Australian Royal Commission recommendations adhered to in Polonious case and records management system

Each day millions of children are placed in the care of organisations for education or social activities. To help ensure their safety, a Royal Commission in to the care of children recommended a number of principles relating to records and record keeping.

Polonious now enables organisations to meet the Royal Commission recommendations with its world-leading records and case management system.

The Royal Commission recommended all organisations engaged in child-related work should implement the following principles for records and record keeping. Records should be managed and maintained to a level that responds to the risk of child abuse occurring within the organisation.

  • Principle 1: Records are integral to improving child care. Creating and keeping full and accurate records relevant to child safety and wellbeing (including child sexual abuse) is in the best interests of children and should be an integral part of institutional leadership, governance and culture. Institutions that care for, or provide services to, children must keep the best interests of the child paramount in all aspects of conduct, including record keeping. It is in the best interest of children that institutions foster a culture in which the creation and management of accurate records are integral parts of the institution’s operations and governance.

 

  • Principle 2: Complete records must be kept. Full and accurate records should be created about all incidents, responses and decisions affecting child safety and wellbeing, including abuse. Institutions should ensure that records are created to document any possible incident of grooming, inappropriate behaviour (including breaches of institutional codes of conduct) or sexual abuse and all responses to such incidents. Records created by institutions should be clear, objective and thorough. They should be created at, or as close as possible to, the time the incident occurred, and clearly show the author (individual or institutional) and the date created.

 

  • Principle 3: Records must be maintained appropriately. Records relevant to child safety and wellbeing, including sexual abuse, should be maintained appropriately. These records should be maintained in an indexed, logical and secure manner. Associated records should be collocated or cross-referenced to ensure that people accessing the records are aware of all relevant information.

 

  • Principle 4: Records should only be disposed of legally. Records relevant to child safety and wellbeing, including sexual abuse, should only be disposed of in accordance with legal requirements or policy. Records must only be destroyed in accordance with records disposal schedules or published institutional policies. Records relevant to incidents of sexual abuse should be subject to minimum retention periods that allow for (potentially) delayed disclosure of abuse by victims, and take account of limitation periods for possible civil action.

 

  • Principle 5: Victims have rights to access and annotate their records. Individuals’ rights to access, amend or annotate records about themselves should be recognised to the fullest extent. Individuals whose early years are documented in institutional records should have the right to access these records. Full access should be given unless contrary to any legal circumstances. Specific, not generic, explanations should be provided in any case where a record, or part of a record, is withheld or redacted. Individuals should be made aware of, and assisted to assert, their existing rights to request that records containing their personal information be amended or annotated. A person should be able to seek review or appeal of decisions refusing access, amendment or annotation.

Here are some examples of how Polonious is helping organisations meet their commitments to child safety and wellbeing: