Dams Safety NSW’s (DSNSW) regulatory principles include a commitment to:
- taking decisions within an effective corporate governance process to maintain objectivity, independence, and integrity
- aiming for high levels of consistency in the decision-making process
- making decisions based on evidence
- taking regulatory action that is proportionate to the circumstances
- employing processes that provide procedural fairness and natural justice
- keeping appropriate records of regulatory activities so that decisions can be readily accessed and scrutinised.
The Dams Safety NSW Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) is established as an important part of the regulatory assurance processes within DSNSW’s quality management system to ensure that DSNSW regulatory decisions and actions reflect the above regulatory principles.
This Terms of Reference document describes and determines how the ROC functions.
2. Purpose of the Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC)
The ROC aims to ensure that there is appropriate internal oversight, accountability and consistency in regulatory decision-making within DSNSW, in accordance with the principles set out in the regulatory policy.
The ROC provides the mechanism for DSNSW to review previous regulatory decisions to enable consistent decisions to be made.
3. Scope of the ROC
3.1. Review and decision-making
The ROC will review and determine DSNSW actions for:
3.1.1. Declaration process
- dams that have been investigated and not recommended for declaration.
3.1.2. Regulatory action
- warning letters
- penalty notices (review/confirm/endorse authorised officer decisions)
- initiating prosecutions.
3.1.3. Regulatory projects
- endorsing proposed regulatory projects (eg. campaigns to address specific dams safety issues/problems).
3.2. Monitoring and review
The ROC will monitor and review:
- for high risk dams:
- proposed actions by dam owners
- monitor actions underway for high risk dams
- audit non-compliance status
- overall trends in dam owner response times to non-compliances
- dam owner responses to directions, orders and notices.
4. ROC composition and meeting schedule
The ROC comprises the following members:
- Chief Executive Officer (Chair of meeting)
- four Dams Safety senior leadership team members
A quorum for a ROC meeting is 3 of the 4 leadership team members but must also include the Chief Executive Officer.
The ROC is convened by the Operations Manager or Principal Dams Safety Engineer as required. One of the weekly leadership team meetings will include an opportunity to convene a ROC meeting. In any case, a meeting should also be convened three weeks before a Board meeting that has ‘High risk dams’ as an agenda item so that dam owner progress against agreed dam remediation work programs can be reviewed.
5. Decision-making process
5.1. Information for decision-making
To assist with the decisions of the ROC, the Operations Manager is responsible for preparing and presenting information on:
- audit non-compliance
- proposed regulatory action
- proposed regulatory projects
To assist with the decisions of the ROC, the Principal Dams Safety Engineer is responsible for preparing and presenting information on:
- proposals that recommend dams not be declared
- high risk dams
- engineering decisions that the Principal Dams Safety Engineer considers require ROC endorsement
- proposed regulatory projects.
Where possible, ROC decisions are made on a consensus basis by the ROC members. If no consensus is reached the Chief Executive Officer will decide the outcome.
The Principal Dams Safety Engineer and Operations Manager provide advice to the ROC to enable the ROC to make informed decisions.
6. Recording of decisions
Decisions are recorded on spreadsheets to:
- ensure that a history of decisions is compiled
- aid the ROC in achieving consistent decisions over time.
The MS Teams channel will be used to facilitate the ROC process and to provide access to information. The Principal Dams Safety Engineer will ensure that six-monthly versions of the spreadsheets are stored in CM9.