Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
Tabled paper 283
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Claire Martin
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_________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 50 In this respect it was identified that although the suspense accounts were in excessive credit, the misapplied receipts had been posted to the correct debtor codes within the general ledger, which in effect reduced the overall level of debt shown by each of the categories for Territory Housing (i.e. rent, maintenance etc). Furthermore this office was advised that the Territory Housing Debt Management Strategy had highlighted possible solutions to reduce the number of transactions being posted to the suspense accounts; one for example was by introducing bar-coded tenant cards as an alternative to the current magnetic strip cards being used. This solution had been proposed as the magnetic strips tended to wear out and often would not swipe forcing the tenants account number to be manually entered and opening the gate for human error. In light of the action that had, and continues to be taken by Territory Housing it was determined that further investigation of this matter was unnecessary. Indeed, this office was generally encouraged by the proactive role the Financial Management Analysis Branch appeared to be taking to improve the administrative practices that surround the receipt of monies and the operation of suspense accounts. As such it was decided to close the file on this matter. 10. FACS Not Considering the Facts! Department of Health and Community Services (DHACS) Family & Children Services (FACS) The complainant approached this office seeking to complain about the actions of FACS during its dealings in matters relating to the complainants child. In this respect the complainant was generally asserting that FACS had developed the belief that he was at fault, and as a result, their actions failed to give appropriate priority to his childs interests and furthermore jeopardised his childs welfare. Specifically, the complainant was concerned that: That FACS had taken insufficient action to ensure the safety of his child; That he felt that FACS had made comments which were an unacceptable use of scare tactics; That FACS failed to interview him in relation to allegations that were made against him; That there had been an unreasonable number of case workers dealing with the various allegations involving his child; That FACS had failed to adequately investigate the concerns he had raised about injuries to his child; That FACS allowed a situation where his child was repeatedly interviewed by both FACS and Police. Preliminary inquiries of the Department of Health and Community Services, and more specifically FACS, were conducted by this office in relation to this matter. During the course of the inquiries, the complainant was interviewed and FACS was requested to provide a response to the various elements of complaint that had been raised by the complainant; a review of the relevant policies and procedures, as well as the relevant legislation as provided by the Community Welfare Act, was also conducted.