Appendix 4 - Recommendations of the Ombudsman's Report and relevant recommendations from the Palmer Report

Appendix 4 - Recommendations of the Ombudsman's Report and relevant recommendations from the Palmer Report

Ombudsman's report: inquiry into the circumstances of the Vivian Alvarez matter

Recommendation 1 - The Inquiry recommends that the Secretary of DIMIA take all necessary steps to:

Recommendation 2 – the Inquiry recommends that the Secretary of DIMIA instruct staff to comply with the requirement of Migration Series Instruction 267 that a compulsory checklist be completed to record the actioning of a removal and that the actioning of a removal be approved by a senior compliance officer—the Officer in Charge of Compliance. The checklist should be attached to every compliance file.

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 3 – The Inquiry recommends that the formal interview of detainees be constructed in such a way as to require that, where necessary, responses from a detainee be further investigated. The interview process should be dynamic and designed to elicit information useful to the making of decisions about detention and removal.

DIMIA response – agreed.

Recommendation 4 - The Inquiry recommends that as an urgent priority, DIMIA commission a thorough, independent review and analysis of its information management systems. The review should be carried out by an experienced, qualified IT systems specialist and should aim to do the following:

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 5 - The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA commission a thorough, independent review and analysis of the IT training requirements for the Border Control and Compliance Division and the Unlawful Arrivals and Detention Division. The review should identify the requirements for the various functional responsibilities within the divisions.

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 6 - The Inquiry recommends that in the training program for compliance and investigations officers there be a focus on objectivity in decision making and a strong warning that false assumptions will contribute to poor decisions. Further, all staff at DIMIA should be reminded of the need for great care in the spelling and recording of names in files and records.

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 7– The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA institute a review of the operations of contact centres, to determine more effective procedures for dealing with information those centres receive.

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 8– The Inquiry recommends as follows:

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 9– The Inquiry recommends as follows:

DIMIA response - agreed

Recommendation 10 - The Inquiry recommends that the Secretary of DIMIA take all necessary steps to ensure that email business records are kept in accordance with the requirements of the Archives Act 1983.

DIMIA response – agreed

Recommendation 11– The Inquiry recommends that the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs write to Mr Robert William Young to commend him for his diligence in pursuing the matter of Vivian Alvarez and bringing it to the attention of the Australian Government.

DIMIA response – agreed

Recommendation 12– The Inquiry finds that the conduct of officers A,B and C, as described in this report, might constitute a breach of one or other of the requirements of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct as detailed in s.13 of the Public Service Act 1999. The Inquiry recommends that this opinion be brought to the attention of the Secretary of DIMIA, in accordance with s. 8(10) of the Ombudsman Act 1976.

DIMIA response – Noted. It has been determined that an investigation is needed and will commence as soon as possible.

Relevant recommendations from the inquiry into the circumstances of the immigration detention of Cornelia Rau

Recommendation 3.1.

The inquiry recommends that DIMIA:

Recommendation 3.4

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA create a dedicated Identity and Immigration Status Group to ensure that, where the identity or immigration status of a detainee remains unresolved after initial inquiries have been completed, frequent follow-up reviews are conducted. The Identity and Immigration Status Group should:

Recommendation 5.1

The Inquiry recommends that the DIMIA Secretary:

Recommendation 5.2

The Inquiry recommends that the DIMIA executive ensure the preparation for staff of a checklist to be used as a minimum standards template for conducting identification inquiries. The checklist should provide a menu of avenues of inquiry, specify a sequential order for investigations, be included as an attachment to the DIMIA Interim Instruction of Establishing Identity in the Field and in Detention, and form part of the personal investigation file. The DIMIA executive should also:

Recommendation 5.3

The Inquiry recommends that, as a matter of urgency, the Commonwealth Government take a leadership role with state and territory governments to develop a national missing persons policy to guide the development of an integrated, national missing persons database or capacity. Initial policy developments could be carried out under the guidance of the Australasian Police Minister's council, with the output submitted to governments for consideration and agreement.

Recommendation 5.4

The Inquiry recommends that, on the basis of an agreed national missing persons policy, the Commonwealth Government take a leadership role with state and territory governments in developing and implementing a national missing persons database or capacity that will provide an effective national recording and search capability under both names and biometric data. Discussions in this regard should be informed by reporting on the progress and success of the Minimum Nationwide Person Profile project to the Australasian Police Ministers Council.

Recommendation 5.5

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA reassess its position in relation to privacy in all its public policy operations associated with immigration detention. In revising its practices, it should:

Recommendation 5.6

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA establish for inquiries about immigration detainees a 'hotline' facility that can deal with those inquiries as a 'one stop shop'. DIMIA should ensure that the contact officer position is continuously staffed, regardless of the absence of any officer, and that all embassies and high commissions are advised of the details of these arrangements and ask their consular officials to direct all immigration detention inquiries to the nominated DIMIA contact officer in the first instance.

Recommendation 5.7

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA ensure that:

Recommendation 7.1

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA develop and implement a holistic corporate management system that ensures every immigration detention case is assessed comprehensively, is managed to a consistent standard, is conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, and is subject to rigorous continuing review.

Recommendation 7.2

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA critically review all Migration Series Instructions from an executive policy and operational management perspective with a view to:

Recommendation 7.3

The Inquiry recommends that the Minister commission the Secretary of DIMIA to institute an independent professional review of the functions and operations of DIMIA's Border Control and Compliance Division and Unlawful Arrivals and Detention Division in order to identify arrangements and structures that will ensure the following:

Recommendation 7.4

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA:

DIMIA should incorporate this policy of 24-hour review in all relevant training programs and operational guidelines to ensure that compliance officers understand the need to:

Recommendation 8.3

The Inquiry recommends that DIMIA:

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