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Sydney

New South Wales minister sees off female frontrunner in search of new Children’s Guardian

New South Wales Community and Justice Minister Natasha McLaren-Jones has turned down the top-ranked female candidate for the role of protector of independent children, recommending a man who has never formally applied for a job. selected.

The minister is currently pushing for the abolition of the age limit set by law for the status of child guardian.

McLaren-Jones did not respond to specific questions from 7.30 regarding her role in this process, but said in a statement, “After both formal and informal research, I am the best candidate for the job.” A person has been identified,” he said.

“Using an outside recruitment agency is just one method used to find suitable candidates for the position,” she said.

The appointment follows intense scrutiny when former NSW Nationals leader John Barillaro was selected for the New York trade post.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian is an independent statutory body that regulates child protection in NSW, including oversight of NSW government services.

On December 12, Ms McLaren-Jones announced the appointment of Steve Kimmond, who has led the Association of Child Welfare Agencies since 2019 and previously served as Deputy Ombudsman for 15 years.

Kimmond told 7.30 he had never applied for the role of Children’s Guardian and had initially turned down an approach from a senior official late last year.

He then met with Ms. McLaren-Jones and some of the minister’s staff in her office to discuss his advocacy efforts.

“I came out thinking, ‘Oh, it’s like a job interview,'” Kimmond said.

“I have shown very strongly that I am independent.”

Steve Kimmond says he never applied for the role of Children’s Guardian.(ABC News)

Ms McLaren Jones said she had met Mr Kimmond as president of the Association of Child Welfare Agencies.

“Mr Kimmond’s appointment was made without special conditions and I expect him to act in accordance with his duties as an independent regulator.

The government first advertised the role in late July and contracted executive recruitment firm Omera Partners to find candidates for the position who paid more than $372,000 in 2021-2022.

7.30 has spoken with two senior government officials and said they were informed that the recruitment process had identified an all-female finalist. These candidates underwent an extensive vetting process that included interviews before a panel of high-ranking civil servants.

Despite picking a preferred candidate, Ms McLaren-Jones chose to formally endorse Mr Kimmond, and Mr Kimmond’s appointment was approved by the NSW Governor in December.

McLaren-Jones issued a statement at 7:30 p.m., saying, “Many other candidates with suitable qualifications were also scrutinized prior to Kimmond’s appointment.

“It is not appropriate to comment further on these candidates.”

Citing nearly 40 years of experience in the children and families sector in New South Wales, the minister praised Kimmond, adding that his appointment was “very well received by a wide range of stakeholders”.

age limit 65

Kimmond has been appointed to lead the regulator for a five-year term.

But Children’s Guardian law limits the age for the position to 65, and Kimmond’s term lasts just 10 months and ends in October.

According to communications confirmed on 7.30, Child Protection sent a letter to McLaren-Jones on December 19 warning him about the age limit.

McLaren-Jones said he was aware of the age barrier, believed it was against “community expectations” and was taking steps to seek its removal.

“This will ultimately be an issue for the 2023 Cabinet and the NSW Legislature,” she wrote on 21 December.

Ms McLaren-Jones said at 7:30, “The Department of Community and Justice has advised me that there are no barriers to appointing Mr. Kimmond to the position.”

Kimmond learned about the age limit after receiving a phone call from a human resources representative a few days before Christmas.

“How hard is it to read a very obvious clause?” he said.

“I’m not criticizing the minister. I know the system. The minister should have been properly advised.”

clock 7.30Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ABC eye view and ABC TV

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-07/minister-passed-over-female-frontrunners-for-children-s-guardian/101942640 New South Wales minister sees off female frontrunner in search of new Children’s Guardian

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