DEVASTATING: Family violence boss sacked before shake-up
THE head of Queensland's domestic and sexual violence crisis support service has been sacked as the organisation prepares for a major shake-up.
DVConnect CEO Diane Mangan was told on Monday she would be made redundant after almost 15 years with the organisation.
The board informed staff on Tuesday that Ms Mangan's role would be replaced by a "business transformation manager" while it attempted to "streamline" the organisation by "updating its IT, communications and record-keeping systems" in line with an auditor's recommendations.
In a bombshell letter obtained by The Courier-Mail, Ms Mangan's lawyer accuses the organisation of being a "closed shop" and says she was forced out in what appeared to be a "sham" redundancy.
"Friends, acquaintances and former colleagues of existing directors are invited to become directors themselves with little public scrutiny and minimal transparency," the letter says.
Ms Mangan's supporters have taken to social media to defend her and say lives will be put at risk from the sudden loss of experience.
The report did not recommend doing away with the CEO position, rather it urged the board to appoint an extra specialist to help oversee the transition.
"The board of DVConnect has been working with the management team and department over the past few months to implement the findings from the KPMG report," a note from the board to staff said.
"This report... made a series of recommendations with the goal of being able to provide the best service possible to our clients, the most streamlined workflow for staff and the most reliable data on demand and service provision."
DVConnect is the key Queensland agency supporting women, men and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
It receives 80per cent of its funding from Queensland's Department of Communities - in 2015-16 that funding was worth $4.4million.
DVConnect acting board chairwoman Shaan Ross Smith did not say if other staff would be let go and she did not outline how the changes would impact people in crisis when they contacted the service.
"The board is committed to the on-going delivery of the current suite of services during this process and to keeping the needs of its clients in view at all times," Ms Ross Smith said.
Australian Services Union executive president Jennifer Thomas said her organisation believed other DVConnect jobs were safe.
"We understand the staffing won't be changing," Ms Thomas said.
"We will work with the staff during this transition."
Domestic Violence Minister Shannon Fentiman would not be drawn on the organisation's future, saying the board made its decision without her involvement.
"The independent board has made an independent decision and it is not appropriate for the government to get involved," Ms Fentiman said.
"The government has sought and received assurances vital services for victims provided by DVConnect will continue unaffected and... will continue to fulfil its contractual obligations."
LNP domestic violence spokeswoman Ros Bates said she was extremely concerned about Ms Mangan's sacking, calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Ms Fentiman to intervene.
"Labor have been happy to drag out Di Mangan every time they need cover for their failings in domestic violence and now they throw her aside," Ms Bates said.
"This is a devastating blow to the sector and puts us back years in the reform process."
Ms Mangan is considered one of Australia's pre-eminent domestic and family violence experts and she has worked in the sector for more than 40 years.
She was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.
*For 24-hour support phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800811811 or MensLine on 1800600636, NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800656463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800737732).