CAIN Update – 23 February 2016

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Older complainants

Breaking down the barriers: Older people and complaints about health care
"People are more likely to need to use health care services as they enter later life. Yet when it comes to complaining about poor care, evidence gathered for this report shows that older people are often reluctant to speak up or simply don't know how to. Through a combination of personal testimonies from focus groups with older people, information from a national survey, and evidence from casework, the report highlights the significant barriers that older people can face when looking to complain about their care. The report concludes that older people:
• Lack information about how to complain, and don't know where to go;
• Don't want to make a fuss and worry about what will happen if they do;
• Feel complaining would make little difference; and
• Can lack support to complain.
The report makes a number of recommendations to improve older people's experience of the complaints system.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, United Kingdom, December 2015

Investigative powers

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v The Good Guys Discount Warehouses (Australia) Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 22
This case contains an interesting discussion of permissible investigative techniques relating to 'mystery shopping'. The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria alleged that the respondents engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, or conduct which was likely to mislead and deceive, in connection with the promotion of goods and extended warranties for goods for sale by the respondents. Consumer Affairs conducted 'mystery shopping' exercises in a number of stores. The respondent argued that evidence from those exercises should be excluded because it was obtained improperly. The Court dismissed arguments that Consumer Affairs officers had acted beyond power (paragraphs 92-108), trespassed (109-114), infringed the salespersons' privacy (115-124) and improperly obtained admissions (125-129). The Court admitted the evidence but dismissed the allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct.
Federal Court of Australia, 3 February 2016


Podcast: corruption vulnerabilities in procurement
Discussion with Geoff Crawford, Assistant Director Fraud Prevention at the Department of Justice and Regulation
Victorian IBAC, November 2015


February 2016 Report to the Legislative Assembly
Report on a wide range of NT public sector audits, including an update on implementation of recommendations contained in the 'Stella Maris' report and findings on three referrals under section 6 of the Public Information Act.
NT Auditor-General, February 2016

Police investigations

Report on Operation Aviemore: Major Crime Squad Investigation into the Unlawful Killing of Mr Joshua Warneke
The Commission found that WA Police officers have often failed to comply with the Criminal Investigation Act and their own Police Manual when interviewing suspects. As a result, miscarriages of justice may have occurred either when the wrong person is convicted or material that might be crucial to conviction is excluded because it was obtained illegally. The Report is both a case study of Operation Aviemore and a call for WA Police to ensure: • all officers know and apply their obligations under the Criminal Investigation Act and the Police Manual contained in the Corporate Knowledge Database; • persons who are not proficient in English have the assistance of an interpreter; • officers interacting with Aboriginal citizens are properly trained in culture and language; and • decisions not to charge a person are properly authorised and accountable.
WA Corruption and Crime Commission, November 2015


Providing Remedies fact sheet
A six page fact sheet on approaches that public sector agencies can take to providing remedies for poor administration.
Commonwealth Ombudsman

Upcoming events

Australia and New Zealand Ombudsman Association biennial conference, May 2016, Melbourne
ANZOA's biennial conferences are an important source of continuing professional development for Ombudsmen and their staff. Each conference also provides a space where Ombudsmen - and those in government, regulation, industry, academia and the consumer sector, who are interested in the institution of Ombudsman - can discuss and reflect on current issues and challenges in the evolution of the Ombudsman role.

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