Chapter Three - People > Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling > page 11 of 12
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Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling

Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration

The Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration scheme was established in October 1995 to enable Commonwealth agencies to compensate persons who have no other avenues to seek redress for the adverse effects of 'defective' actions or inactions of such agencies. The scheme is a remedy of last resort. The Department of Finance and Administration circular 2001/01 provided policy guidance on the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration Scheme.

The Minister for Defence has authorised a number of senior officials in Defence to decide Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration claims. Responsibility for the review and management of claims in Defence (as well as Act of Grace and debt waiver claims) was transferred to Defence Legal in February 2005, from Assistant Secretary Personnel Services. The Directorate of Special Financial Claims has now been established in Defence Legal to review and manage these claims. The move to Defence Legal was undertaken to improve the administration and management of financial claims. The immediate priority is to review and finalise a backlog of claims. Contact is being made with claimants in the older matters on hand. New policies, practices and procedures for managing claims will be developed.

Unlike other government agencies, the majority of claims in Defence are not from members of the public. Claims are mostly from current and former ADF members. There are a small number of claims from APS staff.

The Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration scheme is particularly useful in resolving straightforward matters where there is no doubt that some form of defective administration has directly caused a financial loss, for example, a claim for compensation due to underpayment of salary or allowances. The complex cases that involve elements other than direct entitlements are the most time consuming and difficult to resolve. These cases can involve disputes about the exercise of command authority in a military operational context, the taking of adverse administrative action, the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, and disputes about career progression such as promotion. Claims can also involve allegations of bullying and harassment. Claims can be multi-dimensional requiring compensation, mediation, and demands for an apology. These claims can be resource intensive. Defence Legal aims to work with relevant stakeholders to try and achieve a more integrated approach to resolving complex claims.

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