12.12We recommend establishment of an independent public body modelled under the Crown Entities Act 2004 and charged with the key functions discussed in Chapter 11. Crown entities are appropriate where there is a compelling need to have the function performed “at arm’s length” from government and in this case we consider that an independent Crown entity is necessary to promote confidence across the sexual violence sector and the community.
12.13Establishing a new Crown entity is the preferred option. Consideration will need to be given to whether the default Crown entities regime would apply in full or any amendments would be made, and whether this entity would be subject to the Official Information Act 1982, Ombudsmen Act 1975, Public Audit Act 2001, and Public Records Act 2005.
12.14A principal enabling statute would set out the core functions, constitution and appointment as well as the powers and duties of what we recommend is the establishment of a commission on sexual violence. Statute would also establish review and reporting requirements. Delegated legislation in the form of regulations and codes would also likely be required in order to implement policies and reforms and to keep up to date with changes in strategy, for example ensuring good practice and accreditation standards are current.
12.15Should our recommendation to establish a commission not be taken up, consideration should be given to the support structure needed to facilitate the other proposals in this Report, namely the training and accreditation of alternative providers and programmes. If a support office were established for this purpose, costs would inevitably be incurred – costs that could otherwise be shared amongst and absorbed within the broader operational costs of a commission (for example, rent and personnel).
12.17The appointment of a prominent individual or someone with public standing as a figurehead could give mana to the organisation and raise the profile of the organisation and the issues being tackled. This comes with the risk that the public body becomes closely linked with the individual rather than the issues at hand, namely sexual violence. Commissioners should have knowledge of and contacts within the sexual violence sector. The relevant individuals may for example have a legal, medical, political or educational background but would need a deep understanding of sexual violence and the sexual violence response sector. The vision of those individuals should be broader than that of the body or enabling statute and should draw on their history and experience.
12.19A further reason for adopting a model similar to the Health and Disability Commissioner is to appropriately accommodate functions relating to oversight of the alternative process within the commission. To retain independence of function and process we consider the ideal would be to have a separate sub-commissioner or director (as with the Director of Advocacy) who has responsibility for coordinating the alternative process (see Part C).