Suicide Mortality Review Committee terms of reference
1. The Suicide Mortality Review Committee (“the Committee”) is a Mortality Review Committee, appointed under section 59E of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 (“the Act”) by the Health Quality & Safety Commission (“the Commission”).
2. A Mortality Review Committee is a ‘statutory advisor ’ to the Commission. The role of such a committee is to independently perform its functions, within the scope set by the Commission.
3. The Suicide Mortality Review Committee (SuMRC) was initially established as a trial committee as a result of a contract between the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) and the Commission in 2014. The initial SuMRC trial was time-limited in accordance with action 11.1 in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2014-2018 and signed off by Cabinet. The Committee was initially established to operate from 30 April 2014 to 30 September 2015. It was then extended to operate until 31 March 2016.
4. A fully funded SuMRC was announced in July 2017 and established by way of the contract between the Ministry and the Commission from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2020, with a two-year right of renewal.
The functions of Mortality Review Committees are set out in section 59E (1) (a) and (b) of the Act.
5. The Committee is required to work within their agreed work programme and budgets to:
5a. review and report to the Commission on deaths that are within the Committee’s scope, with a view to reducing deaths and to supporting continuous quality improvement through the promotion of on-going quality assurance programmes
5b. advise on any other matter related to mortality that the Commission specifies in writing
5c. develop strategic plans and methodologies that are designed to reduce morbidity and mortality and are relevant to the Committee’s functions.
5d. share information with other MRC(s) if the disclosing MRC considers that:
5d.i the information to be shared is relevant to their own functions and that of the receiving MRC(s); and
5d.ii sharing the information with the receiving MRC would not be inconsistent with the protections set out in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act for information held by MRCs.
6. The provisions of Schedule 5 to the Act apply in relation to a Mortality Review Committee (section 59E of the Act).
7. The Committee will be required to consider suicide on an ongoing basis and other mortality and morbidity as directed by the Commission in writing, or as specified within the Committee’s agreed work programme.
8. The Committee will also undertake all activities to ensure that the requirements of the agreement with the Ministry of Health are met.
9. The Committee is expected to oversee mortality review to ensure that relevant, evidence-based advice is provided to the Commission as quickly as practicable.
10. The Committee is required to work within their agreed work programme and budgets to:
10a. review and report to the Commission on deaths that are within the Committee’s scope, with a view to reducing deaths and to supporting continuous quality improvement through the promotion of on-going quality assurance programmes
10b. advise on any other matter related to mortality that the Commission specifies in writing in alignment with the Commission Statement of Intent 2017-2021, including:
10b.i. Priority 1. Reducing unwarranted variation,
10b.ii. Priority 2. Improving health equity, and
10b.iii. Priority 3. Reducing harm and mortality.
10c. develop strategic plans and methodologies that are designed to reduce morbidity and mortality and inequity, and are relevant to the Committee’s functions.
11. The Committee is expected to support the development and enhancement of systems to:
11a. ensure the security of personal information referred to in clause 3 of Schedule 5 of the Act
11b. provide the Commission with advance notice of media statements, public comment or publications
11c. oversee and advise the researcher(s) that will be contracted to collect and analyse data and test different review methods on the sub-groups that have been selected for the trial
11d. use the information developed by the researcher(s) to develop and share effective recommendations that:
11d.i. are useful for policy development at a national level
11d.ii. can inform services and the community of ways to improve services and reduce mortality and morbidity.
12. The Committee is expected to support the development and enhancement of positive working relationships, with:
12a. existing Mortality Review Committees and the Commission to ensure coordination and integration of functions, minimise duplication, and improve efficiency and sustainability
12b. the Mortality Review Committee's Māori Caucus
12c. relevant government bodies
12d. relevant stakeholders and stakeholder organisations.
13. In carrying out its functions, the Committee is expected to ensure:
13a. appropriate consultation when developing methods to carry out its functions and disseminate its findings
13b. any advice and recommendations comply with the laws of New Zealand
13c. a plan for recommendation dissemination is made with the Commission (including any publications) within agreed budgets.
14. The Committee is expected to submit a final report to the Commission, which will include:
14a. a summary of the Committee’s work
14b. the Committee’s advice and recommendations
14c. the Committee’s rationale for its advice and any relevant evidence and/or documentation.
15. The Committee will have a maximum of seven members, which will include the following expertise:
15a. knowledge of mortality review systems
15b. knowledge of suicide and suicide prevention
15c. knowledge of Māori suicide issues
15d. knowledge of suicide from a service user / family perspective
15e. knowledge of research methods and process, particularly in relation to health and social systems
15f. knowledge of data and information gathering systems and analysis
15g. clinical experience in mental health and addiction services,
15h. an understanding topics surrounding inequity and inequitable outcomes
15i. a knowledge of health inequities.
16. The Committee may be advised from time to time. Advisors may be sought from the Ministry of Health, Oranga Tamariki, or other agencies and organisations that the Committee may determine useful.
17. The Committee is expected to self-determine its operations, with the advice of the Secretariat and within budget.
17a. Co-option of additional expertise can be made within budget (to the Committee or to working groups of the Committee), but co-opted members will not have voting rights and will not be entitled to membership fees.
18. Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson
18a. The Commission will appoint a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson to the Committee. The Chairperson is expected to preside at every meeting of the Committee at which they are present, unless they deputise their responsibilities to the Deputy Chair.
18b. The Chair of the Committee (or Deputy Chair) is expected to attend regular meetings of all the Mortality Review Committees’ Chairs (“Chairs’ Meetings”) to ensure cooperation and integration across Committees wherever possible, and the best allocation of limited resources.
18c. The Chair of the Committee (or Deputy Chair) will be required to meet with the Commission, on request.
18d. The Chair of the Committee (or Deputy Chair) may be required to attend other Committee meetings at the request of the Commission.
19. Management of Conflicts of Interest
19a. Members must perform their functions in good faith, honestly and impartially and avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest. Proper observation of these principles will protect the Committee and its members and will ensure that it retains public confidence.
19b. When members believe they have a potential conflict of interest on a subject that will prevent them from reaching an impartial decision or undertaking an activity consistent with the Committee’s functions, they must declare that conflict of interest and withdraw themselves from the discussion and/or activity.
20a. The maintenance of confidentiality is crucial to the functioning of the Committee.
20b. Members must note the statutory requirements in section 59E(6) of the Act, which prevents disclosure of information of the kind described in clause 3 of schedule 5 of the Act.
20c. Under this clause, information means any information that is personal information within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Privacy Act 1993; and that became known to any member or executive officer or agent of a Mortality Review Committee only because of the Committee’s functions being carried out (for example, because it is contained in a document created, and made available to the member or executive officer or agent, only because of those functions being carried out), whether or not the carrying out of those functions is completed.
20d. Members must note that the disclosure of information contrary to schedule 5 of the Act is an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (s 59E(6)).
21. Meetings will usually be held in Wellington. Actual and reasonable expenses for activities required by the Committee of its members (e.g., travel, accommodation, literature searches) will be met from the Committee’s budget provided prior approval is received.
22. The timing and frequency of meetings is to be coordinated with the Secretariat to fit within the allocated budget.
23. The Committee will regulate its own procedures, according to State Services Commission requirements and guidelines to ensure that a record of decisions is maintained.
24. The Commission employs staff to assist the Committee out of the Committee’s allocated budget.
25. The Secretariat provides:
25a. policy analysis and analytical support
25b. guidance on governmental and ministerial processes
25c. budget management, contract management and service procurement support to assist the Committee to achieve its Work programme within its allocated budget
25d. central communications systems support for correspondence and public relations purposes, including secure communication between Committee Members and Agents
25e. liaison on behalf of the Committee within and across government and non-government organisations
25f. administrative support to organise, minute and follow up on committee meetings and/ or working groups as agreed within the work programme and within the budget set
25g. additional support for the Committee to carry out its functions, as agreed and budgeted for in the work programme.
26. These Terms of Reference will be reviewed every three years.
Due for review in March 2021.