Criticisms in immigration audit
The Age (Melbourne)
May 9, 2007
THE Department of Immigration and Citizenship has been criticised for record-keeping deficiencies and inconsistent management reporting in a government audit report.
An Australian National Audit Office report into preparations for re-tendering the department's detention and health services contracts highlighted lingering “behavioural problems” within the department.
It also pointed to the absence of an approved budget for the re-tendering project and predicted its total cost would exceed the $5.9 million referred to in a management plan.
The current four-year contract held by Global Solutions Limited to run Australia's seven detention facilities runs out in August and is estimated to exceed $400 million.
Referring to the department's creation of a support unit to improve record-keeping for the project it warned: “This pragmatic solution raises a risk of perpetuating behavioural problems identified by the National Archives.”
These problems were “that many staff did not accept individual responsibility for the creation, capture and management of records”.
The audit said that since the Palmer and Comrie reports that followed the wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau, the department has begun “substantial administrative reforms”. But “at the time of the audit, some key decisions were not well documented”.
Overall, the audit said practices seen in an earlier audit had improved significantly.
The new contract should be signed in December.