CAIN Update – 30 November 2017

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Improving administration

Good decision-making

A brief ten step guide to good decision making.
Queensland Ombudsman webpage

Access to Justice

Citizen Centred Justice

Presentation by Dame Hazel Genn, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, University College London. "Co-locating legal advice centres in hospitals and doctors surgeries and online legal proceedings are two ways of improving access to the legal system for those on modest incomes. Cutbacks in legal aid funding have increased the number of self-represented litigants in British and Australian courts. So how can the justice system be re-designed to improve access?"
Sir Zelman Cowen Centre Oration, Victoria University, ABC Big Ideas podcast, 29 November 2017

Annual Reports

NT Consumer Affairs 2016-17

NT Health & Community Services Complaints Commission 2016-17

NT Children's Commissioner 2016-17

Public housing

Investigation into the management of maintenance claims against public housing tenants

This investigation is into how the Department responsible for public housing deals with repair and maintenance at the end of a tenancy. The issues raised in a complaint suggested there may be systemic problems in the Department's administration of its debt recovery practices, and this was borne out by the investigation. Case studies, drawn from each of the Department's geographic regions, revealed unfair management of maintenance claims over many years, particularly in relation to vulnerable tenants, for example, where a tenant experiencing family violence is forced to flee, the accommodation is trashed, either by a former partner or a later squatter.
Victorian Ombudsman, October 2017

Water resources

Investigation into water compliance and enforcement 2007-17

This report relates to the fourth formal investigation by the NSW Ombudsman in the past ten years into water compliance and enforcement issues. This is a progress report which explains the background to the current investigation, the nature of the allegations being investigated, the procedural steps undertaken so far, the work required to complete the investigation and the projected date of completion.
NSW Ombudsman, November 2017

Judicial review of Ombudsman matters

Kaldas v Barbour

The plaintiff was a former senior police officer who sought to challenge certain aspects of a report of the NSW Ombudsman. The defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the claims made by the plaintiff. The Ombudsman Act provided that the Ombudsman was not liable to any civil or criminal proceedings except in cases involving bad faith. It also provided that proceedings could not be brought without the leave of the Supreme Court and that the Ombudsman was not competent or compellable to give evidence or produce any document in any legal proceedings in respect of any information obtained in the course of their office. The Court discussed the approach it should take to Ombudsman matters, including immunities granted to the Ombudsman in the Act. It held that plaintiff's claims were precluded by the Act and that the provisions of the Act were not invalid. The Court also determined that notices to produce should be set aside.
NSW Court of Appeal, [2017] NSWCA 275 (24 October 2017)

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