Refining Risk Based Regulation

Philippa Murphy 18th, October 2019

This week we ran a workshop for a large federal regulator who is facing the challenges of significant change driven internally and externally.  Changes in legislation and independent reviews of the activities of players in the industry has driven increased media interest resulting in substantial increases in their reported complaints to manage.  Internally, a change in the compliance and enforcement approach and the pressures of resourcing the rapidly growing demand for services across the organisation has meant that a review of their regulatory strategy and processes are now required.

This experience is not unusual for many regulators around Australia, and in fact, in many Western democracies where stakeholder expectations of government agencies who have a role in protecting the community are (and many would say, quite appropriately!) high.  This environment can put organisations at considerable risk and requires a structured approach to recalibrating and reassessing strategies at all levels in the face of these types of changes to their operating environment.

Australian public sector use a ‘risk based regulation model’ and in that lies the inherent issue.   In periods of particularly stretched human and physical resources, which is the experience of our Agency this week, risk based regulation is only as good as your ability to identify, prioritise and manage the contemporary risks!

It becomes critical that resources are expended on the basis of:

  1. Being able to accurately identify what activity or industry behaviour presents the most significant risks
  2. Ensuring there are robust processes on which to base triage and case prioritisation decisions
  3. carefully considering what is the most effective regulatory strategy response in the current climate that acknowledges the operating constraints.
  4. Regular evaluation of the model

As we have done with other agencies facing similar situations, through discussion and the use of evidence based data, the focus was on refining risk parameters and processes and objectively evaluating the approaches to proactively and positively with the changed circumstances in a matter commensurate with both internal and external stakeholder expectations.

If we can assist your agency to review current regulatory processes, please get in touch @

Violence prevention at work

Philippa Murphy 15th, August 2019

This article out yesterday from WA discusses some govt initiatives to address the increasing trend of violence in the health care industry.   Our own work with NSW Ambulance and many other organisations who encounter community violence as part of their work confirms how widespread and serious this safety issue has become for so many.  Not surprisingly, providing staff training is one of the strategies but in order to be effective that training needs to be relevant to each operating context and include practical steps for people in high risk workplaces so they can build strong protective behavioural habits.

Any violence prevention training should include opportunities for participants to practise dynamic risk assessments and develop skills in situational awareness.  It should focus on preventative risk management strategies and provide participants with basic self defence tactics that they can use when confronted with physical violence as part of their work.

If you would like to know more about tailored violence prevention programs for your teams, please get in touch on

To read the article please click WA Hospital Violence




Environmental Regulation

Philippa Murphy 5th, July 2019

A new performance report has been released last week by the Audit Office of NSW in relation to the regulation of native vegetation that has relevance for all regulatory bodies. Performance audits of agencies examine whether the organisation is carrying out its activities effectively and doing so economically and efficiently and in compliance with relevant laws. Comments were made about the level of enforcement action and systems and processes around compliance activities across the two key agencies that highlight the challenges faced by agencies agencies tasked with  environmental regulation when navigating legislative change and adequate resourcing.

The report highlighted concerns around inadequate compliance processes, level of effective enforcement action undertaken in response to unlawful land clearing and the need for interagency MoU’s to move past draft and to be implemented effectively to improve communication.

As often emerges from these reports, the need for effective training of regulatory staff to support them in their role was also discussed as critical in going forward under the new Agency structure.

For further information on training and developing compliance staff in your own agency, please get in touch with us at

For the full NSW Audit Office Report, please Click Here

Changing landscape for Regulators

Philippa Murphy 24th, June 2019

This is a really interesting article from Claire Noone for all those working in regulatory agencies. Noone discusses how the Banking Royal Commission should signal a change in focus for ALL regulatory agencies (and industries) in understanding the changing landscape and evolving community expectations of how they operate.

“For starters, regulated entities are not clients and regulators do not provide services. The client of the regulator is the government, and through it all citizens; regulated entities are not clients and should not be treated as such. While efforts should be made to streamline compliance processes this should not come at the expense of robust monitoring.”

If your investigation and compliance team require training and development to provide support in performing their roles given the changing environment please contact us for both nationally accredited programs and targeted short courses.

Training Courses


Full article by Claire Noone

Our Services and Our Team

Philippa Murphy 27th, May 2019


We are excited about our new promotional video which highlights our range of services. 2019 has been a big year so far for our team as we continue to grow. We are very much looking forward to our ongoing work with our valued clients and making new connections.

Thanks to Kailin at One Stop Productions – always a pleasure to support young people in small business who are hardworking and talented!

Check it out!

EM volunteers studying as a group and achieving nationally accredited qualifications for free!

Philippa Murphy 7th, February 2019

Free study options are now available for emergency management volunteers. Study together in your local area with your local emergency management volunteer group to achieve your Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) PUA52312 for free!

Just like Port Stephens SES (pictured), we are working with Units, Brigades and local EM volunteers around Australia who are taking advantage of the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience (AIDR) government scholarships to assist emergency management volunteers achieve qualifications. Studying together is a great way to do this program and our facilitators come to you!

Applications for the next round of grants close on 4 March 2019. This is a great opportunity for your whole team! Contact us to find out more on or read the blog below.

Round 5 - Emergency Management Volunteer Scholarships

Philippa Murphy 2nd, January 2019

Study scholarships

ACIM Solutions is proud to be working with many successful scholarship recipients from around Australia who have taken up the opportunity to achieve the following nationally accredited leadership qualifications  paid for by the AIDR scholarship:

Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) PUA52312 (10 Units)

The Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) qualification provides the skills and knowledge required to develop leaders in operational roles in emergency or disaster management. It is suitable for paid professionals or volunteers working across the emergency or disaster management spectrum; Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR)

Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) programs PUA60112 (12 units)

The Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) qualification provides the skills and knowledge required to perform a senior leadership role in emergency or disaster management. This qualification addresses both the planning for, and management of major risks in emergencies and recovery operations with a strong focus on engaging communities and key stakeholders throughout the PPRR phases.  The program’s specific focus is on developing skills that can be applied directly into emergency management agencies to support positive outcomes across the phases of professional emergency management.

>SKILL SETS (groups of units) ALSO AVAILABLE

Round 5 opens on 7 January 2019 and closes on 4 March 2019.  Scholarship amounts for the vocational sector is up to $12,000 per person.  

NB: Applications can be as an individual or if you have an organisational group seeking leadership qualifications please get in touch regarding a group application.  Study must be completed by the 2nd of December 2019.

If you are a volunteer in the emergency management sector and would like to take advantage of this great opportunity to achieve nationally accredited qualifications please get in touch with us to discuss the options.  You can study remotely and if you would like to supplement your study with our face to face workshop program we will be offering face to face locations later in 2019 where sufficient demand exists.

Please read our information sheet and get in touch with us to assist you in identifying the program options and units of study.

All our qualifications issued with the CIFAL and Unitar branding as part of our ongoing relationship with the United Nations Institute of Training and Research.

ACIM Solutions- Scholarship pathways

For more information on the scholarships Click  Volunteer Scholarships AIDR

Philippa Murphy 27th, December 2018

“It’s been a watershed year. From now on, life will never be the same for regulators found wanting under the microscope of public scrutiny.” This is an interesting article out recently which reviews the performance of several economic regulatory agencies in light of the findings of the Banking Royal Commission. Although this article focused on several financial regulators, the themes are applicable to regulators across the Board. Community and other stakeholder expectations have never been higher. This makes it essential that oversight agencies remain vigilant in ensuring their compliance and enforcement policies, processes and most importantly, cultural practices are aligned with those evolving community expectations and their broader responsibilities on behalf of communities.

Training your licensing, compliance and enforcement teams is a critical part of supporting teams in understanding the current operating environment and provides a great opportunity to both upskill teams with contemporary investigative practices but also ensure alignment of their activities and cultural practices with the expectations of the Agency.

At ACIM Solutions we provide highly tailored training which incorporates and embeds in practical terms the compliance and enforcement framework of the agencies that we work with.  This ensures consistency in practices across the workforce which continues to present significant risk to regulatory agencies.  If you would like to discuss your individual development needs, or those of a group please get in touch.

Important first steps for workplace investigations

Philippa Murphy 19th, August 2018

Managing workplace complaints can be challenging. The impact on the workplace during and post the investigation can be negative and long lasting and can affect not only those involved but also team members on the periphery.

Poor investigation processes can result in disengaged staff, low morale, lost productivity, poor performance and workplace relationship breakdown that can take years to rebuild.

Facilitating a professional investigation in a timely manner using investigative processes consistent with best practice and compliant with legislative frameworks can offer a valuable opportunity to minimise the additional human resource risks to your workplace.

There are several underlying principles to positively managing workplace investigations. They are:

  • Developing and implementing consistent policies and processes around workplace investigations
  • developing strong communication practices with all those involved,
  • ensuring confidentiality,
  • recording your actions and
  • documenting decision making processes.

When are workplace investigations required?

The need to conduct an investigation into an employee’s behaviour in the workplace or otherwise in relation to his or her employment may arise in the following circumstances:

  • Where an employee lodges a complaint about the behaviour of another employee, for example sexual harassment, bullying, micro-management or various other issues.
  • Where management becomes aware of conduct by an employee that, if substantiated, may justify disciplinary action or even dismissal.

Investigative first steps

The first action to undertake is to discuss and record the information accurately from the complainant or source.

Ensure that the allegation is clearly articulated and all information to substantiate an allegation is collected. You should then advise the complainant of your proposed action to speak to the team member.  Confirm that you will keep them updated as the investigation progresses.

Following this, and in a timely manner, inform the team member of the allegation and allow them an opportunity to respond and explain any mitigating circumstances that may exist.

If the employee denies the allegations or claims mitigating circumstances, inform him or her that you intend to investigate the matter, and that your investigation will include contacting other people, including other employees and, where relevant, external parties.

You should now commence your investigation without undue delay. Any investigation of an employee’s behaviour should be conducted as soon as practicable. Delays may suggest that management does not regard the matter as serious, or even condones it.

Further, some tribunal and court cases have found that a significant delay was unfair to the employee, in that it made it harder for the employee and witnesses to recall accurately what really happened. There is also a strong argument that the unreasonable delay in investigating allegations can exacerbate the stress for those involved which can increase any subsequent workers compensation claims.

Despite the need for a timely response, the investigation still needs to be thorough. As part of this process you need to communicate the process and the timeframes you envisage to both the complainant and the team member. Be sure to highlight that any delay does not imply that the employer condones the conduct either alleged or complained about.

The next step is to conduct the investigation, which will be detailed in the next blog. In the meantime if you would like to know more training around complaint management, or would like ACIM Solutions to assist you in conducting an investigation please get in touch @

Conducting the workplace investigation

Philippa Murphy 19th, August 2018

Once the need for an investigation has been established, the following are our suggested steps when conducting an investigation.

Conducting the investigation

Step one when conducting a workplace investigation is to determine if your organisation is able to conduct the investigation internally or whether it would be more appropriate to use an external investigator.

The answer to this question will depend upon a number of factors including, the seriousness of the allegation and whether there is anyone in your organisation with sufficient skill, and independence from the parties, to be able to carry out the investigation with credibility.

A consideration of these factors will enable you to determine if the investigation should and can be undertaken “in-house’ or whether it should be outsourced to experts who have experience in conducting workplace investigations.

Don’t forget, depending on the outcome, the conduct of the investigation process may come under as much scrutiny as the original allegation!

The investigation should cover not only whether the alleged act or behaviour actually occurred, but also whether the employee accused or complained about was actually involved, and whether there are any mitigating circumstances.

You should only approach witnesses or other parties that you are definitely aware can help you and you must instruct them to treat the matter as confidential.

When speaking with witnesses ensure you collect facts around the specific allegation. A workplace investigation is not the appropriate process for ‘fishing expeditions’. Poor investigative practices such as these can undermine the entire investigation, jeopardise the investigation and potentially embarrass the organisation.

As part of the investigative process adhere to the principles of procedural fairness. For an employee to defend him or herself against allegations or complaints, you must provide them with sufficient details of the allegations or complaint to do so.

This is why shaping the allegations is one of the most critical parts of any investigation process as they will determine what evidence is able to be gathered and how that information can be used in the process.

The employee is entitled to seek assistance from an appropriate person, such as a union delegate, to defend him or herself.

After the investigation

If an investigation finds that an employee’s complaint is substantiated, inform the employee in another interview and advise him or her about what action you intend to take to resolve the matter.

Inform the employee (in the presence of a witness if he or she prefers) of your findings and advise what action you intend to take.

If the complaint is not substantiated, you must still inform the employee, providing some details of the nature of your investigation and the basis for your decision. Be careful not to take sides in this process, just provide the facts.

Ensure you update the complainant on the outcome of the investigation.

Keep a record of the complaint, your investigation findings and the final interview, in case the employee or complainant decides to pursue the matter through other avenues, such as legal proceedings.

If you would like assistance in conducting or managing investigative processes in your organisation, please contact us @

Who we are

ACIM Solutions is a Registered Training Organisation (41002) and a NSW Government preferred provider (146291) providing contextualised training for people working in Government and the Emergency Management sector.

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