CAIN Update – 16 December 2015

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Domestic violence fatalities

Investigation into issues associated with violence restraining orders and their relationship with family and domestic violence fatalities
A report on an own motion investigation into issues associated with violence restraining orders (VROs) and their relationship with family and domestic violence fatalities. The WA Ombudsman conducted an extensive literature review and stakeholder engagement, collected and analysed a comprehensive set of de-identified state-wide data relevant to family and domestic violence and examined 30 family and domestic violence fatalities notified to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman found that there is important further work required, including a range of important opportunities for improvement for state government departments and authorities, working individually and collectively, across all stages of the VRO process. The Ombudsman also found that Aboriginal Western Australians are significantly overrepresented as victims of family violence, yet underrepresented in the use of VROs. Following from this, the Ombudsman identified that a separate strategy, specifically tailored to preventing and reducing Aboriginal family violence, should be developed. The report identifies nine key principles for departments and authorities to apply when responding to family and domestic violence.
WA Ombudsman, November 2015

Workplace death Investigations

The Workplace Death Investigations Report: An investigation into the quality of workplace death investigations conducted by the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland
This is a review of 20 investigations into workplace deaths that occurred in Queensland between January 2012 and June 2013, and 19 notifications of potential workplace deaths received and triaged as out of jurisdiction or not work related in the same period. The report identified a number of deficiencies in investigation planning, issue identification and evidence gathering and sufficiency of legal advice. It also found that timeliness in completion of some investigations was poor, insufficient information was provided to next of kin in some cases and there was inconsistency in how the agency applied its jurisdiction to a person who was not a worker at a workplace.
Queensland Ombudsman, September 2015

Benefits of collaboration between watchdogs

Collaboration between watchdogs: Learnings from the Western Australian Experience
"Collaboration between watchdogs such as the Auditor General and the Ombudsman has only rarely been the subject of research. ... This report describes a pilot research project that has explored collaboration between seven Western Australian watchdogs: ... It assesses examples of collaboration to develop an understanding of the issues involved and to develop and where possible test analytic frameworks that could provide the foundation for broader and more detailed research that looks at collaboration between watchdogs in Australia and New Zealand. ... A majority of the examples provide benefits associated with improved watchdog effectiveness."
Wilkins, Phillimore, Gilchrist, John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University, November 2015

Conflict of interest

Australian Securities and Investments Commission: Own motion investigation into the management of a conflict of interest matter in 2005
In line with a recommendation of a Senate Committee, the Ombudsman investigated and rejected an allegation that ASIC was unduly influenced by an industry organisation in coming to its decision about providing regulatory relief. While not adversely affecting ASIC's decision-making in this instance, the Ombudsman considered that ASIC's management of a disclosure of a possible conflict of interest, and its efforts to address issues raised about its decision-making process could have been better handled. In particular, the Ombudsman found that ASIC did not comply with its own internal policies for dealing with conflicts of interest, and the final report of ASIC's internal investigation could not be produced, making it difficult to assess whether the investigation was appropriate in all the circumstances.
Commonwealth Ombudsman, November 2015

Annual Reports

NT Ombudsman Annual Report 2014-15
September 2015

Commissioner for Information and Public Interest Disclosures Annual Report 2014-15
September 2015

Health and Community Services Complaints Commission Annual Report 2014-15
September 2015

Merry Christmas

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