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CSA have offered me a 'specialist case officer'. Why?
Posted 18 February, 2012, 01:57 PM
#45639
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Hi,

Firstly I will congratulate each of you on such a helpful and in depth forum. It's brilliant, and I thank you for it.

A question for those of you who've had dealings with CSA and know their tactics better than me:

I have advised CSA several times that I am a write only customer (shift work and I live in a rural area so I have no recpetion whilst at home, and I don't trust them so it's a necessity). They still call, but I generally advise them straight away that I will only correspond in this way. They have not once responded to my written requests, other than a matter of me questioning their application of the CS (Assessment) Act, in which case they were/are wrong anyway. That response took five weeks as they vet any written correspondence, but an APS lackey is allowed to give any old advice they wish over the phone....explain that one oldboy.

The last time I spoke with my case officer (I have to call them in order to prompt them to provide written responses or nothing happens, at least it hasn't yet) she offered me an 'opportunity' to be allocated a single case officer. In essence, rather than calling and speaking with a different person each time (because they don't write back), I would deal with the same person every time. I have studied both CS acts and tax law, and quite happily refer to those acts, so I get the impression that my normal case officer is palming me off....

Considering their untrustworthy nature, and the fact that CSA are generally hopeless (such as mentioning a section of the CS Act and the person on the other end of the phone replying with "what do you mean....this is doing my head in". Brilliant!) I am curious as to why they're offering me this personalised service, and whether there's anything I stand to lose in addition to having lost everything else I ever worked for? Trust and accountability are the major issues, which is why I'm instinctively sceptical of everything they do.

Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 02:59 PM
#45641
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Percolo Alio

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Sleepy said

They have not once responded to my written requests, other than a matter of me questioning their application of the CS (Assessment) Act, in which case they were/are wrong anyway.

I'd suggest that every time that they don't respond within a reasonable time frame that you make a complaint. The complaint being sen not only to the CSA but to the Ombudsman, your local Federal MP, and the DHS Minister (Brendan O'Connolly). You could also make a claim through the Compensation for Detriment due to Deficient Administration scheme (CDDA), say for $100 for every complaint letter you have to write (you'll not get any money. However, you may get a count of deficient administration as before considering the compensation they have to determine if the administration was defective).

I not sure about a specialist officer. I do believe that there is a team of officers that work with special cases. Secretary_SPCA may be able to shed more light on that team.

If you know the CS legislation and also Tax legislation then I think that any contributions that you make would be gratefully appreciated.

As you do shift work you may wish to consider strengthening your write only status by saying that you consider it harassment to be phoned at times that you will likely be sleeping (obviously it could be put better). Of course if you are write-only and your are called then again complain.

Disclaimer - I apologise for any adverse reaction/feeling you may have if you are not of sound mind and therefore take this disclaimer and everything I post ridiculously out of context and see the hidden gender-biased messages that my lack of self-awareness allows me to actually be aware of and compose without actually even composing them.

Thanking Larissap for the inspiration behind this signature.

When asked about hand written notes on the document marked as Exhibit 3 the best that the Applicant maternal grandmother could say was :
 It looks like my handwriting!
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 03:55 PM
#45644
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They have a "personalised case officer" program to deal with write-only and other cases where the payer is regarded as "difficult". Their purpose is to get you to use the phone or CSAOnline and try to make you believe you have no genuine case so you stop trying to enforce basic expectations of fair treatment. I've had a couple of them at various times. about as useful as tits on a tomcat.
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 04:14 PM
#45646
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They have a "personalised case officer" program to deal with write-only and other cases where the payer is regarded as "difficult".

My OH had a 'personilised case officer', I think he fell into the difficult catorgy lol. Our personalised case officer only lasted a few months before randoms started contacting us again.
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 04:26 PM
#45647
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Thanks Craigo, that is exactly what I had described to me by my case officer (who I've spoken with once, and that was two weeks ago and that's how I found out that I actually had 'a' case officer) but I couldn't remember the exact title she used. I'm happy to be regarded as difficult. At least any CSA staffer worth his/her salt will presumably do some research before trying to force their often erroneous decisions upon me, knowing that I don't suffer fools well and I have the will to learn more than they know. It's the only way you can avoid being administratively brutalised by them.

Mike, many thanks for your suggestions. I have used CDDA to good effect before and I know through painfully time consuming experience that it is worth the effort. I'll use your idea regarding complaints too.

Many, many thanks for the information. Hopefully if enough 'clients' (that usually implies that a service is provided, not imposed doesn't it?) improve their understanding of all things CS and keep them honest, the situation will improve.
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 09:26 PM
#45664
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I have written a script to use when they call a Write-Only Client - perhaps some other Write-Only people might like to print it out so they can use it too.

CSA: "Do you have time to talk?"

You: "I do have a small amount of time to give you"

CSA: Proof of identity process (POI) - usually ask for DOB and address

You: answer POI questions and then say: "Do you see on my account that I have requested all contact to be in writing?"

CSA: will likely say yes and may give some excuse for ringing

You:
"According to the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct, you are required to be able to explain and justify your decisions.
You have decided not to respect my request for all contact to be in writing and phone me instead.
Please explain and justify this decision."

CSA: May make some attempt to explain - mine said "because you are in debt collection I have to talk to you" - unless they quote the section of the legislation that says they have to phone you, their explanation is not satisfactory.

You:
"That explanation does not in any way justify your decision to disrespect my request for all contact to be in writing.
This call amounts to harassment which is a breach of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct.
I will now give you an opportunity to avoid having an official complaint lodged against you for making this call.
I request that you apologise to me for disrespecting my request for all contact to be in writing and undertake to refrain from committing such harassment in the future.

Then it is up to you to decide whether the apology given is suitably sincere or whether you need to proceed to ringing the complaints line on 132 919
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 10:34 PM
#45672
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Seriously, I appreciate the time and effort that you put into that post. If it means anything to you, your handy work will be printed and kept on my person indefinitely. It's a weird happiness when one looks forward to using a passage like that, but I can't wait!
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 11:01 PM
#45676
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Sleepy said

Seriously, I appreciate the time and effort that you put into that post. If it means anything to you, your handy work will be printed and kept on my person indefinitely. It's a weird happiness when one looks forward to using a passage like that, but I can't wait!
  That does mean quite a lot to me actually - I'd like to see loads of people doing this to them - might smarten up their procedures.

You should probably add get the officer's name and a receipt number for the call after the POI and before you ask if they can see the write-only note.
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Posted 18 February, 2012, 11:55 PM
#45678
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seriously said

That does mean quite a lot to me actually - I'd like to see loads of people doing this to them - might smarten up their procedures.

Without doubt and it is exactly what clients should do IMHO.  The way Case Offices develop bad habits is by not being taken to task about it.

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Posted 19 February, 2012, 03:22 AM
#45684
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I had one of those specialised officers a few years back.

When this officer first called me she offerred to come to my house to discuss my case. I was offended by the suggestion so I put in a complaint.

There were a few other incidents where she also slipped up so by the time she moved on (as this appeared to be a common in C$A) I had a few written apologies filed away.

I must say it did make it easier having one person to deal with and being write only made it very easy to keep up with C$A processes.

With the way scammers are working these days you cannot afford to give personal information to anyone who calls claiming to be from your bank, C$A etc.....
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