An investigation has found the disciplinary action taken against Child Safety employees who 'completely failed' Mason Jett Lee was 'manifestly inadequate'
An investigation has found the disciplinary action taken against Child Safety employees who 'completely failed' Mason Jett Lee was 'manifestly inadequate'

Mason Lee Child Safety staff ‘should have been sacked’

An investigation has found the disciplinary action taken against Child Safety employees who "completely failed" tragic toddler Mason Jett Lee was "manifestly inadequate" and some should have been sacked, but nothing more can be done now.

The Queensland Public Service Commission released its review into the officers whose actions were slammed in the inquest into the death of Mason last year.

Chief executive Robert Setter said while no one person was responsible for his death, the collective impact of individual actions had dire consequences for the little boy.

"The discipline taken against those employees was in no way proportionate to the seriousness and extent of their failings, which when combined completely failed Mason," Mr Setter said.

"It is the opinion of the Commission review that the discipline imposed at the time was severely inadequate.

"In the most significant cases, some employees should have had their employment terminated.

"We would have expected that some other officers would have received a reduction in pay, and others demoted."

Mr Setter said the PSC's review had been thorough and it had taken the time to understand all legal options available with the assistance of Crown Law and the Crime and Corruption Commission.

It found that despite interrogating all possible avenues, there were no legal grounds to further discipline any public service employee.

A statement said the Queensland legal system provided protection against double jeopardy so that people cannot be disciplined for the same thing twice, even if the original punishment was lenient.

"In short, it is not legally possible to take further action against any of those employees who had already faced discipline," Mr Setter said.

"Those employees whose actions most significantly failed Mason are no longer working for the Queensland public service."

One manager - referred to as Manager 1 - had not been previously disciplined, but the PSC agreed with the department's Ethical Standards Unit that legally there was no grounds to discipline that person.

Senior department employees that had escalated concerns regarding insufficient resourcing and workplace culture at the Caboolture Child Safety Service Centre had followed proper process and also had no case to answer.

The PSC has recommended the Child Safety Department make significant changes to its discipline process, which it had done.

"In addition to the changes the department has initiated themselves, for the next two years we have insisted the department receive independent advice from Crown Law on all discipline processes," Mr Setter said.

"This is to provide greater confidence around discipline and to improve and build the capability of employees.

"The Commission will also review the department's discipline decisions regularly during this time to ensure appropriate standards are being met."

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.  

Originally published as Mason Lee Child Safety staff 'should have been sacked'


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