CAIN Update – 17 August 2015

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network


ICAC Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct for staff is worth looking at, particularly in so far as it addresses many issues relevant to investigative and independent offices.
NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, May 2015

Investigation into allegations of improper conduct by officers of VicRoads
A report into allegations that it is "normal practice" for VicRoads Transport Safety Services staff caught speeding in VicRoads vehicles to avoid a fine by claiming unjustifiable exemptions. In effect, the allegation was that some VicRoads staff break the road rules with impunity.
Victorian Ombudsman, June 2015

Open government

Freedom of Information and a history of the right to know podcast
Michael Schudson discusses what freedom of information means, how it works and why it has become globally significant for governments and business.
ABC podcast, May 2015

Failure to advise about waiver of a penalty

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources – Failure to advise
The Ombudsman was asked to investigate allegations that the Department did not properly advise the complainant of the grounds for seeking a waiver of a penalty for overusing its water allocation, and that the Department provided the wrong advice to the Minister. The Ombudsman found that the Department acted in a manner that was wrong within the meaning of section 25(1)(g) of the Ombudsman Act in relation to both the allegations.
Ombudsman South Australia, July 2015

Oversight in disabilities sector

Reporting and investigation of allegations of abuse in the disability sector: Phase 1 – the effectiveness of statutory oversight June 2015
This Ombudsman investigation was prompted by revelations in the media and concerns in the sector about the capacity and capability of the oversight systems in place. The conclusion of the investigation was that despite areas of good practice, oversight arrangements in Victoria are fragmented, complicated and confusing, even to those who work in the field. As a result there is a lack of ownership of the problem and little clarity about who is responsible for what. In some areas there are overlapping responsibilities between agencies and no clear understanding of the boundaries. In others there are legislative barriers to sharing information or jurisdictional gaps. Thus problems are regularly raised – including by many well-meaning players in the system – but rarely fixed. This means that the system is fundamentally failing to deliver protection in a coherent and consistent way.
Victorian Ombudsman, June 2015

Essential Services

In the Dark: Investigation into the transparency of Hydro One's billing practices and the timeliness and effectiveness of its process for responding to customer concerns
"Report on the largest investigation in the history of the Ontario Ombudsman's office – comprising more than 10,500 complaints – the Ombudsman revealed a litany of egregious problems with billing and customer service arising from Hydro One's disastrous installation of a new customer information system in May 2013, which he estimates affected well over 100,000 customers. The report details how problems with the system transition resulted in a massive disruption of billing, including overbilling (sometimes by thousands or even millions of dollars), no bills, estimated bills, and outrageously bad customer service during the scramble to fix technical glitches."
Ombudsman, Ontario, Canada, May 2015

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