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  • Fact sheet: Oranga Tamariki

    This fact sheet explains the Ombudsman's role in relation to complaints made against Oranga Tamariki. Also available in Easy Read format.
  • Ministry of Social Development (CYF) failings at Family Group Conference and remedy of ex gratia payment required

    Case notes
    Ministry of Social Development (CYF—later Oranga Tamariki) fails to recognise impact and stress caused by failings by its staff at a family Group Conference to discuss child’s future—Advisory Panel had already acknowledged many of the failings but MSD had not accepted the gravity thereof—Ombudsman’s opinion on the matter accepted and MSD (OT) finally offered reasonable ex gratia payment and meaningful apology to complainant
  • Ministry of Social Development’s Advisory Panel will make administrative change as a result of complaint

    Case notes
    Complaint about MSD CEO’s Advisory Panel—MSD appointed panel outside governing terms of reference—Chair of Panel was formerly employed by Child Youth and Family (CYF)—Ombudsman found composition reasonable in the circumstances but on second matter, that the Panel should have in its reports, a record of consideration of compensation requests and reasons why payment would/would not be recommended
  • Ministry of Social Development’s decision not to review student allowance application

    Case notes
    The Ministry of Social Development refused an application for a student allowance and on review, concluded that the application should not proceed—Chief Ombudsman concluded that the decision to review the application as an administrative review (rather than a statutory review pursuant to section 305 of the Education Act 1989), was unreasonable—Ministry agreed to reconsider the application under the Education Act 1989
  • Department of Internal Affairs accepts it unreasonably interpreted requirements for death certificate

    Case notes
    Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) did not allow certain details on death certificate—complainant requested amended death certificate for father because of error relating to birth date noted on original certificate—DIA accepted the Ombudsman’s opinion that the information should be recorded as required under the legislation at the time of death
  • Ministry of Social Development should make ex-gratia payment for accidental disclosure of an informant’s identity

    Case notes
    Whether Child Youth and Family (CYF), a service of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) which received information from an informant about alleged offending by another individual, was reasonable to accidentally disclose the identity of this informant to the alleged offender – Ombudsman found CYF’s procedures for protecting the identity of informants had not been followed in this case
  • Department of Labour reasonable not to investigate accident of primary student on extra-curricular activity

    Case notes
    Primary school student training for cross country competition on mountain road struck by motor vehicle – training sanctioned by school as an extra curricular activity—OSH declined to investigate—father complained to Ombudsman—Ombudsman examined provisions of Health and Safety in Employment Act—satisfied that OSH had no jurisdiction to investigate as accident did not fall within the definitions of ‘place of work’ or ‘work’ in s.2(1) as occurred outside school grounds—Police investigation limited to criminal liability—Ombudsman identified no mechanism in place for ensuring accountability by schools in providing safe environment for students outside school gates—Ombudsman approached OSH, Ministry of Education and Minister of Labour about his concerns – Ministry confirmed it was developing policy to address this and agreed to keep Ombudsman informed—Ombudsman advised complainant he was satisfied OSH’s original decision was reasonable
  • Child Youth and Family’s decision to remove child from care

    Case notes
    The Department of Child, Youth and Family (CYF), now Ministry for Children - Oranga Tamariki, agreed to apologise and reimburse couple’s legal fees following Ombudsman’s finding that CYF’s decision to decline custody of a child was unreasonable and then, when CYF acquiesced following the commencement of a court proceedings, CYF was unreasonable not to reimburse legal costs incurred by the couple
  • Ministry of Social Development has no authority to require beneficiary to appoint agent

    Case notes
    Illiterate beneficiary preferred to communicate verbally, frequently and often vociferously—the Ministry arranged for beneficiary’s solicitor to become agent—Ombudsman sought advice from Ministry as to authority it was relying on to request appointment of an agent—the Ministry confirmed there was no specific legislative authority— Ombudsman formed view that requirement unreasonable—complainant revoked agency and dealt directly with Ministry again
  • Superannuation Appeals Board reasonably relied on Crown Law advice

    Case notes
    Failure to give reasons for decision—reasons given in counsel’s written submissions adopted by Board—disclosure of reasons distinguished from merits of decision—Government Superannuation Appeals Board—Ombudsmen Act 1975—Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956, s 12(A)(2)
  • Department of Social Welfare and suspending debt recovery action while disputing the debt through the appeal process

    Case notes
    Failure to suspend debt recovery action pending appeals—reference to Social Security Appeal Authority decisions—Department’s general policy to suspend recovery action—policy applied on a case by case basis—discretion not to suspend recovery should not be fettered—application of policy should be consistent nationwide—circular outlining policy issued—manual to be revised
  • New Zealand superannuation commences on day application received

    Case notes
    New Zealand superannuation surcharge—timing of application for superannuation—superannuation payable from day application received—Income Tax Act 1994, s OB 1, Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Act 1990, ss 3 and 5
  • Right of review available to Work and Income beneficiary over advance payment to spouse

    Case notes
    Wife of beneficiary granted advance on Invalid’s Benefit to pay power account without beneficiary’s knowledge or consent—beneficiary and wife later separated—advance recovered from beneficiary’s Invalid’s Benefit—beneficiary maintained Department had no authority to make advance—right of review available—further investigation precluded—Ombudsmen Act 1975, s 13(7)(1)(a)
  • Work and Income and balance of benefit debt waived

    Case notes
    Recovery of benefit overpayment by Income Support Service—existence of debt acknowledged—failure to provide breakdown of how debt arose—benefit file could not be located—balance of debt waived
  • Tenancy Tribunal’s officer changed Tribunal hearing date without authority

    Case notes
    Tenancy Officer changed a hearing date which amounted to an adjournment—following the Ombudsman’s inquiries, the Ministry of Housing (which managed the Tenancy Tribunal) accepted the tenancy officer failed to follow the law when agreeing to change the date of the hearing after the landlord requested the change—the Ministry sent a memorandum to all staff clarifying the role of Tenancy Services where a party asked for a date change—apology sent to the complainant
  • Department of Social Welfare provides incorrect information about Superannuation

    Case notes
    Department of Social Welfare provides incorrect information about Superannuation
  • NZ Superannuation Corporation provided incorrect advice incurring loss to complainant and offered ex gratia payment

    Case notes
    Incorrect advice—Government Superannuation Fund—Voluntary Severance
  • Department of Social Welfare error in employment issue

    Case notes
    Dispute over offer of employment—remedy available under Employment Contracts Act— Ombudsman exercised discretion under s 130(a) to investigate—employment offer reinstated
  • Department of Social Welfare and unfair repayment of a loan

    Case notes
    Department of Social Welfare-decision to require repayment of a suspensory loan granted under the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act
  • Department of Social Welfare and inadequate advice for unsupported child benefit

    Case notes
    Advice given by Department on availability of financial assistance—remedy for financial loss
  • Department of Social Welfare agrees to reconsider offer of severance payment for employee

    Case notes
    Application of redundancy provisions in Employment Agreement to part-time employee—part-time employment offered on permanent basis—employee made redundant after 60th birthday and excluded from severance provisions—department reconsidered and agreed to pay severance
  • Department of Social Welfare required to offer travel expenses to disabled person

    Case notes
    Reimbursement of travelling expenses pursuant to s.13 of Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975—whether application by pregnant diabetic constituted permanent disability—Department decided specialist oversight necessitated by longstanding diabetic condition and approved payment