CAIN Update – 29 September 2017

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Information access

A Guide to FOI Exemptions

The Information Commissioner has issued a new Guideline on the interpretation and application of Exemptions in the Information Act. The Act's exemption provisions cover a range of information characteristics and circumstances in which a public sector organisation is not required to provide access to particular information because it is not in the public interest to disclose it. The Guideline will remain a 'living document' to be updated as case law or legislation changes. The Commissioner welcomes any feedback or comment on the new Guideline's relevance, usefulness, layout and content. Feedback is welcomed and can be provided to
NT Information Commissioner Guideline, August 2017

Phillips v NT Electoral Commission

Three recent NT Information Commissioner decisions on an FOI application seeking access to documents held as a result of an investigation involving Foundation 51. The first relates to preliminary issues of standing. The Commissioner determined that none of 'the Foundation 51 undertaking', the deregistered Foundation 51 Pty Ltd or Mr Graeme Lewis had standing to take part in the proceedings. The second decision related to the substantive question of access to documents. The Commissioner determined that a number of documents were not exempt and that the respondent was required to give the applicant access to them. In the third decision, the Commissioner determined that all three decisions should be publicly available and published on the Commissioner's website.
NT Information Commissioner, 2017

Complaint handling

United Breaks Guitars

What can happen when you don't handle complaints well. 17,660,286 views and counting. And 17,700 comments.
Dave Carroll, YouTube, 2009


Enquiry into the provision of alcohol and drug rehabilitation services following contact with the criminal justice system

A report on the availability and effectiveness of alcohol and other drug services following contact with the criminal justice system in Victoria. The enquiry specifically focussed on: • the experiences of former prisoners referred to community based AOD services, particularly in rural and regional Victoria; and • the effectiveness of community based AOD services across Victoria in preventing and reducing the number of AOD users facing court or prison. The enquiry confirmed that access to rehabilitation services remains the dominant concern for prisoners and former prisoners struggling with addiction. They are highly vulnerable to relapse and more likely to reoffend if they are unable to access timely, consistent and targeted support services, both within prison and upon release. The problem is of particular concern in rural and regional Victoria, and is exacerbated by lack of access to secure and affordable housing.
Victorian Ombudsman, September 2017

Local Government – refusal by Council to adopt outcome of investigation

City of Onkaparinga – Unreasonable investigation of code of conduct complaints

The complaint received by the Ombudsman concerned a resolution passed by the Council in relation to the findings of an investigation undertaken by an external investigator about alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by an elected member. The external investigator found breaches of the Code of Conduct. The Ombudsman found that the Council's resolution not to accept the findings due to the timeframe associated with the complaint handling process and the resolution to instead apologise to the parties for the delay, were based on irrelevant grounds. The Ombudsman considered that although there was a notable delay in the process, it was concerning that the Council had resolved not to accept the findings of breaches of the Code of Conduct and to apologise for the delay when the investigator did not consider the delay to be an issue and was satisfied that the evidence was reliable.
SA Ombudsman, July 2017

Police oversight

Police oversight mechanisms in the Council of Europe member states

The report provides an update to the main findings from a comprehensive review of policing oversight across the 47 Council of Europe States first set out in September 2015. The update reflects the position of police oversight mechanisms across the 47 States as of 20 February 2017. In addition to the update, the introductory chapter explores the recent history of police oversight in the Council of Europe, its origins in legislative and other supporting instruments, and its development in case law. The remaining two chapters incorporate a revised country-by-country review of police oversight mechanisms, along with a critique of these approaches and an assessment of progress with a series of recommendations made in the original document.
J Byrne, W Priestley (September 2015). Updated February 2017 by W Priestley.

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