Nada McDonald

on Monday, 21 May 2012. Posted in Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award (AWWA)

Nada McDonald

Nada is Inspector of Police and a Manager within the Operational Information Agency (OIA) of New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF). 

Inspector McDonald recognises that women are still significantly under represented at senior or management level in policing, although the overall representation has improved over the past few years.  Currently, women constitute a total of 34.4% with 26.4% being sworn officers.  McDonald feels that there is a need to continually embrace career development opportunities for women through corporate commitment and implementation of fortified strategies.

The issue of the number of outstanding arrest warrants was raised by the Commissioner of Police, who deemed 2008 to be the ‘Year of the Warrant”. A project team comprising of the Warrant Unit, internal and external Command representatives came together to examine the issues and a corporate project was initiated. Nada McDonald recognised that the interaction between OIA and operational areas of the organisation would be paramount to the success or otherwise of the project.  By virtue of the project, her goal was to improve the image, reputation and customer service of the OIA Command to the remainder of the organisation and external stakeholders.

Inspector McDonald believed that her empowerment and influence on the women in my Command would be central to attaining that goal. The way forward was to engage, gain a commitment and promote women who held key roles in the Command in order to achieve the desired project outcomes. This also had the effect of reducing the gender disparity which existed between operational commands and specialist areas such as OIA. The project had a significant and positive impact on the women in the workplace which was acknowledged by the senior executive of the organisation and resulted in me receiving a Commissioner’s Award in 2009, that award being: The Commissioner’s Perpetual Award for the Advancement of Women in the NSW Police Force. The award recognised her outstanding contribution to the standing of women in NSW Police Force by supporting and developing women, establishing their careers and improving their experiences of work.

How did Inspector McDonald empower women?

"I engaged the skills of numerous female staff to research, analyse, develop strategies and implement recommendations.  The warrant subject matter expert and Warrant Team Leader was a civilian officer responsible for supervising male and female police officers and well as administrative staff.  In order to enhance her profile and build her confidence, I invited her to shadow me at meetings, including internal and external stakeholder meetings. I invited her to meet with the Assistant Commissioner assigned as the corporate sponsor for warrants and Senior Executive from the Attorney Generals Department. The officer assisted with presentations to the Deputy Commissioner and Regional Commanders and written project status reports.  The officer assisted me in achieving major changes to the core business of the warrant unit, to bring it in line with the needs of the field, community expectations and Government State Planning. We reported regularly to the Commissioner, Operational Commander’s Forum, State Planning Coordination Unit and Local Area Command Management Teams. Her enhanced leadership and management skills have been recognized and promoted by way of her selection on several occasions to relieve in the Managers position. A civilian officer relieving in a police officer’s position is often resisted by many areas of the organization.

In the initial phases of the project, I invited a female staff member to conduct a detailed analysis of warrant data. This officer was then able to add significant value to the project and build her research and analytical skills. This opportunity built this female staff member’s skills at the same time as significantly benefiting the project. The staff member has subsequently achieved a substantial promotion of grade in anther area of the NSWPF.

I recognised the skills of a female project officer, with some warrant experience, who was deployed to another area of the command. This officer had much to offer but her full potential was hampered by a lack of self confidence. I negotiated with the Commander and her manager to release her to the project, which had now taken on National significance via the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management – Police Senior Officers’ Group. This was a fantastic opportunity for the staff member to work with the Team and build her skills by contributing to the National Agenda. She reviewed existing policy and legislation and coordinated information from other law enforcement jurisdictions. The officer also gained valuable insight into project management at the National level and the workings of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA). This opportunity ultimately built the confidence of the officer and she is currently on secondment to the Aboriginal Policy area performing policy work at a higher grade..."

Through collaboration and teamwork, the staff  achieved improvements in information exchange.  Initially, there were some 48,000 outstanding arrest warrants. At the end of October 2009 there are approximately 35,000.The project exceeded the State Plan 2008-2009 targets of reducing the number of outstanding warrants by 4000 in 2008, with a total reduction of 5,705 achieved that year.

Inspector McDonald feels that being approachable as a manager to the diverse group of staff, the majority of whom are female, has enabled them to commit and adopt the constructive outcomes of the project. She recognises that her awareness of the ongoing needs of the staff, several who have part-time agreements and others who are afforded special consideration on the basis of medical and personal issues has encouraged the best from the staff. She actively involved and was guided by the experience of the police within my team and the Team Leader. 

"I have become acutely aware of the influence I have as a senior female officer in the organisation and the power of being a role model to enhance the image and standing of women."

Thank you note from Inspector Nada McDonald

"Thank you for the honour of selecting me as Highly Commended for the 2010 CLW's Advancement of Women in the Workplace Award.  I am enormously proud to be representing the women of NSW Police Force and delighted to share the award with them. I am in awe and inspired by the outstanding efforts of the other award winners. Congratulations to them and my sincere appreciation and thanks to you and your fellow judges." 

Nada McDonald