Four people have so far been found to have breached the APS Code of Conduct in relation to their role in the Robodebt automated debt collection scandal, the Australian Public Service Commission says.
An independent code of conduct taskforce headed by former APSC Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick and senior bureaucrat Penny Shakespeare have been investigating 16 matters following the Robodebt Royal Commission which referred a number of key people to the APS Commissioner in a sealed section of its final report released in July 2023.
Following initial investigations, the taskforce found grounds for potential breaches in 15 cases and cleared one person.
Four of those now been issued with a preliminary determination that they were in breach of the code.
“Of the 15 investigations, 4 individuals have been issued a preliminary determination that they have breached one or more elements of the APS Code of Conduct,” the APSC says in an update posted on its website on February 8.
Eleven investigations are ongoing.
The individuals involved will be informed about final determinations and any decisions about sanctions once the preliminary determinations are wrapped up, the APSC says.
Of the 15 investigations, 4 individuals have been issued a preliminary determination that they have breached one or more elements of the APS Code of Conduct.APSC
The commission says the matters are complex and involve ‘a significant volume of evidence’.
“The timeframe for the conclusion of inquiries depends on various factors, including the complexity of each matter, the number of submissions and any extensions that may be requested by respondents,” the update says.
“Sufficient time is required to allow the Independent Reviewers … to conduct the inquiries in a manner that is robust and affords respondents appropriate procedural fairness.”
The 16 referrals included APS employees named in the sealed section, former APS employees referred by their agency head and former agency heads referred by the minister following advice from DPMC secretary Glyn Davis.
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