CAIN Update – 28 April 2017

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network



"This report looks at when and how apologies are given to resolve complaints – and why they are not used more often in appropriate cases. ... Effective apologies are a necessary life skill that have to be honed until mastered. ... the report goes through the six R's of an effective apology – recognition, responsibility, regret, reasons, redress and release."

Ombudsman Victoria, April 2017


South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – Conduct of a bailiff

The complaint related to a failure by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to properly conduct an investigation into a complaint regarding inappropriate behaviour by a bailiff when executing a court order. There was a failure by the SACAT officer to speak to witnesses when conducting an investigation. The Ombudsman found that one of the witnesses in particular, had information that should have been considered as part of the investigation. The Ombudsman made recommendations that SACAT conduct a fresh investigation of the complaint and further that the SACAT complaints policy and Bailiffs' Manual be amended.

Ombudsman SA, March 2017

Automated systems

Centrelink's automated debt raising and recovery system: A report about the Department of Human Services' online compliance intervention system for debt raising and recovery

"In July 2016 the Department of Human Services (DHS) - Centrelink launched a new online compliance intervention (OCI) system for raising and recovering debts. The OCI matches the earnings recorded on a customer's Centrelink record with historical employer-reported income data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Parts of the debt raising process previously done manually by compliance officers within DHS are now done using this automated process. Customers are asked to confirm or update their income using the online system. If the customer does not engage with DHS either online or in person, or if there are gaps in the information provided by the customer, the system will fill the gaps with a fortnightly income figure derived from the ATO income data for the relevant employment period ('averaged' data). Since the initial rollout of the OCI, the Commonwealth Ombudsman's office has received many complaints from people who have incurred debts under the OCI. This report examines the Commonwealth Ombudsman's concerns with the implementation of the OCI, using complaints investigated as case study examples."

Commonwealth Ombudsman, April 2017

Youth justice

Report on youth justice facilities at the Grevillea unit of Barwon Prison, Malmsbury and Parkville

The Report was initiated following riots at the Parkville Youth Justice Centre in November 2016 and the Victorian Government's subsequent establishment of a youth justice centre within Barwon Prison. It is intended to give Parliament and the public a window into the state of affairs within Victoria's youth justice facilities and how oversight agencies hold government to account. The report evidences the close scrutiny of the Grevillea unit by the Commission for Children and Young People since the unit was set up last November. It also evidences the pressures on the Parkville and Malmsbury facilities: while staff shortages have long been a problem there, this has plainly been exacerbated by the creation of Grevillea, with the predictable effect that young people are kept in lockdown for longer periods, creating further unrest.

Ombudsman Victoria, February 2017

Administrative law

Lewis v CEO Housing

Consideration of whether NTCAT has power under section 44(1) of the Limitation Act to extend a limitation period prescribed by section 12(1) of that Act affecting an action brought in the tribunal's jurisdiction under the Residential Tenancies Act. The President determined that there was such a power but declined to make a decision on whether the power might extend to other circumstances, for example, an extension in the small claims jurisdiction. This may be of relevance in considering the alternative forums open to a person complaining about an issue.

Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal [2017] NTCAT 239, 18 April 2017

Records management

Management of public records - Corruption Prevention Advisory

This advice highlights the risks and offences of poor records management practices within a public authority. It covers: · Risk factors · Corruption offences · Strategies to prevent corruption · Further information and resources on records management.

Crime and Corruption Commission, Queensland, October 2016

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