As with all custodial facilities in Western Australia, Banksia Hill has an Emergency Management Plan. The current plan was created in May 2011 and outlines specific procedures staff should follow during an emergency situation. It is in line with the Department’s Emergency Management Framework and is based on the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System. It is required to be reviewed annually.
However, the Emergency Management Plan for Banksia Hill was last revised in May 2011. It is a clear oversight that the Emergency Management Plan has not been updated since the amalgamation. This is not only a failure of the local management and security team who are responsible for reviewing the plan and ensuring that an updated plan is in place, but also those responsible for preparing the centre for amalgamation. It is compounded by the absence of Head Office oversight in ensuring that this plan was completed or appropriately updated.
Further, an Emergency Management Plan is only useful if the right people are aware of its contents prior to an incident occurring. This can be achieved by having key personnel including the Director of Youth Custodial, Security Manager and anyone potentially acting as a designated Superintendent actively participating in the development and review of the plan. It can also be achieved through wide distribution of the plan and through training. The Shift Manager at Banksia Hill who was responsible for initial control of the riot on 20 January 2013 stated he was not aware of the Emergency Management Plan.
Updating the Emergency Management plan was not the only omission when preparations were made for the amalgamation of Rangeview with Banksia Hill. Youth Custodial Services Rules (‘YCS rules’) cover the management of detainees at Banksia Hill. The YCS rules were updated and approved on 27 August 2012, superseding the previous Juvenile Custodial Services rules (‘JCS rules’). However, the new rules were not published on the Department’s intranet site until 5 March 2013, after the riot. The Inquiry was advised that the updated versions required formatting prior to online publishing. This was not finalised until 22 February 2013. Therefore Banksia Hill staff were formally advised of the revisions a month after the riot.
Further, standing orders which are supported by these rules have not been updated since 2009. The standing orders still refer to the previous JCS rules and therefore no longer align with the new YCS rules. For example, Standing Order 20 – Critical Incident Including Fire, Medical, Major Disturbance and Hostage Situation Response – is to be implemented in accordance with Rules 108, 207, 208, 214 and 216. As the new rules no longer align to the previous rules, it is difficult to know which rules, JCS or YCS are supposed to support Standing Order 20.
Good governance relies on having clear policies and procedures that are understood and implemented consistently by staff. It is impossible for staff to consistently apply these rules and orders when the basic documentation is in disarray. Like the Emergency Management Plan, it is a clear oversight that these rules and standing orders were not updated, linked correctly and distributed to all staff prior to the amalgamation.