CAIN Update – 28 June 2017

Items of interest for the Complaints, Accountability, Integrity Network

Good government

Good conduct and administrative practice 3rd Edition: Guidelines for state and local government

These updated guidelines explain principles of good conduct and administrative practice and provide advice – informed by administrative law, the work of the Ombudsman over the past 40 years and, where relevant, the expertise of other accountability bodies – about their practical application in the public sector. The guidelines are intended to: • assist public officials to understand the standards of good conduct and administrative practice that are expected of them • provide guidance to managers to assist in the supervision and training of staff • assist agencies in the development and review of relevant policies and procedures. They are presented as a series of 18 user-friendly modules. Where required, the modules contain links to appropriate references and further information. To guide users, an index to the modules has been included.
Ombudsman NSW, March 2017

Restoring trust in government: the priorities

A brief reflection on the challenges facing integrity agencies and lessons that can be learned from recent experience.
Professor John McMillan, Acting NSW Ombudsman, Address to the National Integrity Summit, Brisbane, 16 March 2017

Integrity in public administration

Corruption Matters

Biannual newsletter.
NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, May 2017

HomeStart – Maladministration in public administration

The Ombudsman received an ICAC referral alleging that HomeStart Finance committed an act of maladministration in public administration through excessive expenditure on alcohol. The Ombudsman found that agency had committed an act of maladministration, and that its practices and policies in relation to expenditure on alcohol have resulted in irregular and unauthorised use of public money, and a substantial mismanagement of public resources within the meaning of section 5(4)(a)(i) of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012. Over a period of approximately two years, the agency purchased $7,826.31 worth of alcohol.
Ombudsman South Australia, April 2017

Open data

Conditions Enabling Open Data and Promoting a Data Sharing Culture

This UNSW Law Report was commissioned by the NSW Information Commissioner and NSW Open Data Advocate to provide contemporary insights to support the promotion of Open Government and Open Data. To do so the Report analysed legislation, policy, regulatory settings, roles and responsibilities for leadership, culture and operations in leading jurisdictions as identified in the Open Data Barometer Report. Communications were made with government agencies, Open Data departments and organisations in these jurisdictions in the period from December 2016 to the end of February 2017 to seek direct input as to how the frameworks have operated in practice. The authors contacted many entities in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Canada, and New Zealand. The findings are therefore a snapshot of progress at a point-in-time. Open Data is a fast-moving area with new programs, policies and legislation emerging globally. The research in this Report is current to March 31, 2017. ... In practice the research has highlighted how diverse, inter-connected and context-specific each country's approach has been. In particular, it is clear that precisely because of the breadth of action some leading countries have taken it is difficult to isolate the particular contribution of any one element. However, the existing legislative and policy settings have informed advances in Open Data in the jurisdictions examined.
Dr A Maurushat, UNSW Law, March 2017


Women in Prison: A thematic report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway

"International research shows that the low number of women in prison compared with men often leads to the prison administration and prisons in general being organised on the basis of the needs of male inmates. This is reflected in prison architecture, security, available activities and health services, among other things. In addition, an even higher percentage of women in prison come from disadvantaged backgrounds than men do. They have more often been victims of abuse in childhood, have untreated mental health problems and substance abuse problems.

This report addresses key issues relating to women's prison conditions, including the physical environment, sense of security, activities, health services and contact with family. The report largely confirms that women in prison are a particularly vulnerable group. In many cases, they risk serving under worse conditions than men. Overall, the Parliamentary Ombudsman's findings show that women serve under worse conditions than men. These are some of the reasons for this:

  • Several women's prisons are located in old and unsuitable buildings.
  • Many women have significantly poorer access to outdoor areas and physical activities than men.
  • Women consistently have poorer access to real work training than men.
  • Female inmates often have other health problems than men, and therefore need different health services. Mental health care for women in prison should be improved.
  • The substance abuse rehabilitation services offered to women in prison are inferior to those offered to men.
  • Women serving in mixed-sex prisons have an increased risk of unwanted attention or sexual harassment by male inmates.
  • Some women risk having to serve in prisons with a higher level of security than their case indicates due to the limited number of prison places for women.
  • Female inmates risk having to serve their sentence in prisons far away from their families and their own children because of the low number of suitable prison places. This can be particularly challenging for mothers who want visits from children who cannot travel alone.
Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman, December 2016

Restricting contact with an agency

District Council of Peterborough – Investigation of complaint

The Ombudsman received a complaint by a Yongala resident about the Counciland the CEO's dealing with a complaint that his property was flooded. The Ombudsman found that whilst the Council reasonably dealt with the flooding complaint, it unreasonably refused to undertake an internal review pursuant to the Local Government Act 1999 (SA) and that the CEO acted unreasonably in banning the resident from conversing with Council staff. The Ombudsman recommended that the Council review its Internal Review Policy to ensure that it adequately reflects its current process; that the Council forward a copy of the report to the Local Government Association's Mutual Liability Scheme; and that the CEO retract his letter to the resident and the retraction letter be tabled at a Council meeting.
Ombudsman South Australia, April 2017

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