Administrative Review Council - Admin Review
CURRENT WORK PROGRAM
Further information on any of the projects discussed below can be obtained from the Council's Secretariat on tel (02) 6250 5800.
Preparing statements of reasons
The Council is currently preparing a set of practical guidelines, for use principally by primary decision-makers, and those assisting them, in their production of statements of facts, evidence and reasons. It is intended that the guidelines will assist in the production of improved statements, which constitute a significant foundation of the Commonwealth system of administrative review.
The Council had previously issued a Memorandum that set out what it regarded as desirable in statements of reasons - given the terms of relevant Commonwealth legislation, and taking into account the decisions of the courts and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as they then stood. The new guidelines are an updated, succinct and user-friendly document.
The last of the Focus Articles in this edition of Admin Review represents part of the Council's work in this area.
Internal review of agency decisions
As discussed in previous issues of Admin Review, the Council is engaged in a project aimed at identifying the needs that Commonwealth agencies seek to satisfy in their internal review systems. In turn, the extent to which those systems meet those needs, and the values and principles of administrative law, is being examined.
The result of the Council's inquiries is intended to be the development of a 'best practice' guide, that will assist agencies to develop or adapt internal review systems to achieve their particular needs.
The Council has now conducted a series of interviews with members of the five agencies involved in the pilot study (the Department of Social Security and Centrelink, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Health and Family Services and the Australian Customs Service). The next stage of the project is collation and analysis of the information obtained from the interviews.
Professional standards for tribunal members
The Council is currently examining the ethical responsibilities, accountability and personal and professional standards of members of merits review tribunals.
The aim of this project is to develop a Code of Conduct that will be of assistance to tribunal members, tribunal managers and tribunal users, including: members of the public; government departments; and, relevant professionals.