The Crown Response Unit leads and coordinates the Crown’s response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry was set up because the Royal Commission will have a big impact on the work of government agencies. The Royal Commission needs access to a lot of information held by agencies. The Crown Response Unit makes sure that agencies respond quickly and helpfully to the Royal Commission’s requests and recommendations throughout the life of the Inquiry, expected to be four years.
The Unit was set up in February 2019 and is a semi-autonomous group housed within Oranga Tamariki. It has a mix of 17 full and part-time staff (as at December 2021).
The Unit coordinates agency responses to the Royal Commission, drawing on people within agencies to do the response work.
Strategic governance of the Crown response is provided by a Sponsoring Group comprising the Chief Executives of Oranga Tamariki, the Ministries of Education, Health, and Social Development, and the Crown Law Office. The nominated lead Chief Executive is the Secretary of Education, Iona Holsted.
The Minister for the Public Service, Hon Chris Hipkins, is the Minister responsible for the Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.
An inter-agency group is responsible for working-level oversight of the Crown response. The group includes representatives of the agencies most directly involved in State care, or holding key records about care history (Ministry of Social Development, Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, Archives New Zealand, New Zealand Police, Te Puni Kōkiri, Public Service Commission, Crown Law Office, ACC).
Here is a breakdown of each element of the Crown response logo:
Alana Ruakere is Director of the Crown Response Unit. Of Taranaki and Te Atiawa descent, Alana has worked extensively across social, education and health (Māori, mental and child health) settings.
Before joining us in early 2020, Alana was acting Director for the Family Violence/Sexual Violence Joint Venture. Before that, she led Whānau Ora Commissioning at Te Puni Kōkiri.
Alana says the Unit’s values of listening, learning and changing (Mā Whakarongo me Ako ka huri te tai) are a natural fit for her.
“My father, the late Dr Tony Ruakere, advised his children to listen first and speak last. Taking that forward to my role today, this means learning from voices other than your own, so we can improve peoples’ lives. I am loving the opportunity to contribute to the Crown’s engagement with and support for the Royal Commission and survivors of abuse in care,” she says.