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Customer Representitive

Being a representitive and how CSA treats you

I am a paying CSA client, in a shared care 50/50 arrangement who has fought CSA and won.   My girlfriend is currently taking on her leach of an ex partner who obviously earns $100K plus but claims to have zero income by the use of up to 9 companies and trust funds to hide is income.  My girlfriend becomes very stressed when dealing with the CSA staff and asked me to deal with them to get better outcomes, and assigned myself to be her representitve.

What I have found is the CSA basically refuses to deal with me, and in particular the current SCO stated "I dont like dealing with client representitives and I will be directly contacting the client as it provides better outcomes."  So far I have seen the SCO convince my girlfriend into accepting that her objection rather being an objection to the original decision, to be treated as a "response" to her ex's objection (both parties objected to the original decision).

Does anybody know whether this is grounds to appeal to the SSAT?  That the client wished for a client rep to deal with CSA, but basically refused the request?  I fear that CSA will only now deal with any information related to her ex's objection and not deal with the additional information provided that he hasn't covered (in other words only dealing with his objections and any text she supplied that related to his points).
           section 6.3.6 of the guide indicates that the only reason that a customer representative cannot be accepted if they are not satisfied that they have the authority. It does then go on to limit, by saying what they can do according to the power they have (not what they can't do). There are 3 such levels; solicitors, representatives with power of attorney and ordinary.

They limit, by exclusion, rather than being specific by saying that a representative with ordinary status can act for a customer when it does not involve negotiations. However a quick look through the underlying legislation referred to by the guide, doesn't appear to support that limitation and only deals with aspects of secrecy.

Saying that section 2.6.5 of the guide on the Change of Assessment Process, does specifically exclude representatives, and says "No party can have a representative appear for them at their conference (section 98H(5))."

In my opinion if the SCO doesn't like dealing with representatives, then the door is what the SCO should be dealing with and that dealing should be enforced, they have no right to invent their own legislative powers and discriminate outside of the legislation.

I think that you could apply to SSAT assuming that you made an objection to the decision (check out section 4.2.2 (and section 4.1) of the guide and also the underlying legislation), perhaps part of the grounds could be that you believe that a just an equitable decision, as is required, could not be made as they did not allow you to represent the customer. You can make a submission in writing to SSAT, so you could introduce the other information then, although I suspect that it would be thrown out as they will be reviewing the decision not doing the job of the CSA. To have the other information included may mean another COA application. That is unless the refusal to accept your representation caused the information to be omitted.

The guide can be found here The Guide.

Links to the legislation are provided in the guide.
Two things come to mind:

1. If you put everything in writing the SCO has no option but to deal with you.

2. It seems you are complaining about defective administration.  I suggest you contact the CSA complaints people first, and if no resolution refer it to the Ombudsman's office. You may also like to read their latest CSA report on their website, as well as the Annual Report chapter on CSA.

You cannot go to SSAT unless you are dealing with a specific CSA decision on an objection.  If going to SSAT you need to keep within the boundaries of the decision made by the objections officer.  

Also, don't forget that only 49% of CSA decisions are surving intact after the SSAT intervenes.  I went their last week and did OK.  Actually, the outcome was even better than I was seeking.  
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