CAIN Update – 29 August 2016

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

How to complain

Smart complaining
Two page fact sheet that sets out "tips to help you increase your chances of having your complaint understood and acted upon, and making it more likely (though that's not guaranteed) you will get the result you want."
NSW Ombudsman, June 2016

Facilitating public participation

Public Participation in Government Decision-making: Better Practice guide
"Public participation is a critical input to government activity, and developing effective strategies, programs and projects. Failing to adequately engage the public risks alienating the community and creating negative impacts through poorly informed and implemented decisions. Despite the critical role that public participation plays, ... there is no whole-of-government guidance or framework that helps agencies plan and implement effective public participation exercises. And yet this is an area that public sector agencies find consistently challenging. In light of this, [the Auditor-General] has chosen to publish this better practice guide in order to: provide a high-level framework for agencies across the public sector to use when deciding how best to involve the public in government decision-making and implementation — and clearly set out the principles and elements to audit the efficiency and effectiveness of public participation exercises."
Victorian Auditor-General, January 2015

Towards a NSW Charter for Public Participation
In September 2015, the NSW Information Commissioner announced a commitment to collaborate with NSW citizens and agencies to promote public participation and assist agencies in achieving success in their engagement with NSW citizens, through a NSW Charter for Public Participation. This report documents progress to date.
NSW Information and Privacy Commission, June 2016

Corrections – Use of force and restraints

Two recent SA Ombudsman reports into shackling of prisoners in hospitals.
Department for Correctional Services – Shackling of a prisoner in hospital
SA Ombudsman, April 2016
Department of Correctional Services – Unreasonable shackling of prisoner in hospital
SA Ombudsman, July 2016

A Matter of Life and Death: Investigation into the direction provided by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to Ontario's police services for de-escalation of conflict situations
The investigation arose from a number of incidents over a number of years where Police in Toronto and surrounding areas have killed individuals armed with knives or items other than firearms. There have been scores of fatal police shootings in Ontario involving persons with mental illness – more than 40 since 2000. The report considers whether enough is being done to train Police in de-escalation. Investigators reviewed the record of police involved deaths in Ontario, provincial guidelines and directives on the use of force and police training, as well as de-escalation theories and best practices across Canada and abroad.
Ontario Ombudsman, June 2016

Local government corruption

A report on misuse of council resources
The report states, "This is a story of greedy officials. The three investigations set out in this report all involve allegations of misuse of public property by local council officers. One involved a council contractor paving a council officer's mother's driveway; another involved the misuse of a council fuel card to fuel an officer's own car for some two years; and the third involved officers buying machinery and equipment with council funds for private use. The amounts involved are not huge in comparison with recent corruption scandals. But it is precisely the fact that they do not involve big sums that makes the wrongdoing so pernicious – local officials who either do not recognise that their conduct is wrong but see it as a perk of the job, or who think they can get away with it because no one will notice. And all too often people do not notice and the risk escalates of a minor misuse of public funds becoming a major one. In the case of the driveway, for example, the crushed rock was worth only a few hundred dollars, but the contractor felt the pressure to do the job or lose the council's business."
Victorian Ombudsman, June 2016

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