CAIN Update – 11 November 2016

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Handling complaints

Effective handling of complaints made to your organisation - An Overview
An 8 page overview of effective complaint handling elements.
Ombudsman WA, March 2016

Ombudsman enquiries: Resolving complaints informally
This report considers the many complaints from the public that the Victorian Ombudsman resolves informally each year. "Every day my staff help Victorians with concerns that they have been treated unfairly by government agencies and councils. These concerns may seem small in the scheme of things but can have a profound effect on their wellbeing." The report highlights some of the common mistakes agencies can easily fix. The examples in the report illustrate some of what an Ombudsman can do: recognising that minor mistakes can have larger consequences; responding quickly to serious concerns; and that one complaint can fix an issue for many others.
Ombudsman Victoria, October 2016


Comic contracts
Academics from Western Australia are among the first in the world to try the concept. They've developed a comic contract, using cartoon illustrations with balloon script. And in South Africa, a lawyer has developed a legally binding contract that only uses pictures.
ABC Law Report podcast, October 2016

Governance and misappropriation

Report on a Matter of Governance at the Shire of Dowerin
The report arose from the misappropriation of large amounts of money by the CEO of a small council over an extended period. It discusses the circumstances that allowed the misappropriation to happen, including numerous issues with the governance of the Council.
Corruption and Crime Commission WA, October 2016


Overcrowding at Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre
The report found that the level of overcrowding at the Centre, when compared with men's prisons and coupled with the inadequate living conditions for prisoners, creates the circumstances where the administration of the Centre is improperly discriminatory towards female prisoners. It stated that overcrowding at a correctional centre has serious consequences. Sometimes, two prisoners are forced to share a cell designed for one. Due to the configuration of a cell, this means one prisoner sleeps on a mattress on the floor with their head close to an exposed toilet and shower. This creates concerns about privacy, dignity and hygiene. It also puts pressure on the Centre's staff and infrastructure, and interferes with the effective delivery of health services and programs. As a result, the overall and important task of trying to rehabilitate prisoners becomes extremely difficult. The Ombudsman was also very concerned that the overcrowding coincided with a significant increase in the number of prisoners involved in assaults, self-harm episodes or incidents of attempted suicide.
Ombudsman Queensland, September 2016

Major project risks

Cost overruns in transport infrastructure
"Over the past 15 years, Australian governments have spent $28 billion more on transport infrastructure than they told taxpayers they would. The cost overruns amounted to nearly a quarter of total project budgets. Western Australia's Forrest Highway between Perth and Bunbury cost nearly five times, and New South Wales' Hunter Expressway cost over four times, the amounts initially promised. Yet despite their sometimes staggering size, cost overruns attract little public attention. There is little interest in understanding and fixing the underlying causes. For the first time in Australia, this report investigates the cost outcomes of all 836 projects valued at $20 million or more and planned or built since 2001. It finds that most problems are caused by a relatively small number of projects. Ninety per cent of Australia's cost overrun problem is explained by 17 per cent of projects that exceed their promised cost by more than half."
Terrill, M, Grattan Institute, 2016

Recent annual reports

NT Ombudsman 2015/16

NT Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures 2015/16

NT Consumer Affairs 2015/16

NT Anti-Discrimination Commission 2015/16

Provision of a link in CAIN updates is not an endorsement of a website or a publication. Readers must make up their own minds about the value of any information provided or views expressed.