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In preparing for an SSAT hearing the CSA may have sent me out to much information

Hi all,

I have applied for an SSAT hearing as I feel I have been hardly done by the CSA. I received all my paper work from the SSAT and CSA (conversation notes, copies of letters ect). Funny thing is, the one night stand I had with this person (word deleted and added to banned words dictionary) ( which is why I'm paying child support), she has a child with another man.

And low and behold the CSA have sent me his child support assessment mixed up with mine (mind you this (word deleted) person probably has a father in every port, all the more money she receives without doing a days work). So my question is, is this not a breach of the privacy act?( I know this poor schmucks name, how much heearns and how much he pays in child support, name of his child ect). And if this is a breach in the privacy act (which I'm sure it is) How can I make CSA pay for this costly mistake?. Any thoughts on how I can (words deleted as innapropriate words) seek some recompense from the department will be greatly appreciated.

As I'm at my wits end with the CSA and I will do anything to make their life a misery.
The CSA may have made an error in sending the other blokes details to you for the SSAT hearing however they are obliged to give full disclosure to a SSAT hearing. The tribunal has to examine all parties to the case both you , and the other party to determine what is legally due and to ensure the payment meets the formula calculations. Now if this includes the other party details I am not sure but we can enquire. They are not completely fail proof and mistakes can get made. There is no real penalty for making a genuine mistake except to report it so that mistakes are not made as easily next time. Have you called the CSA to discuss this?

CSA themselves do monitor these forums from time to time so are probably better able to answer that question. The fact of the matter however is that if you have a child regardless of other issues then there is a child support liability. If you don't wish to have contact and participate that is unfortunate indeed but at the end of the day the legislation is quite clear about the requirement for paying child support. Now if that is something you can accept then the next step is to work out what has to be paid and how it is paid and is the amount you are paying correct and in keeping with the the many rules. If you are not having much communication with the other party in the matter you will be using the CSA to collect and private treaty and other options won't work.

Have you actually bothered to go to our site calculators in the CSA section on the web site here under "The Guide" area and used the advanced calculator to do a full assessment? Are you paying the correct amount? 

What is your grievance with the department as you say you have been "done over" what does "done over" really mean? Does it mean they caught up with you and you are unhappy that you have to pay or does it mean there are other fundamental issues that are a problem. If you want some valid input you will need to explain what that really means. Is it that you just don't want to pay child support or is it that there has been some problem with the departments assessment process or determination? A lot will relate to the amount of time you have with the child and how much each party earns. 

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
An error? Interesting. I'm sure most people who are "clients" of the CSA would be mighty upset to think the CSA can make a mistake like this by sending me someone else's assessment.

As your aware this document tells me his name, taxable income and child support monthly payments and name of his child. I know if they sent my assessment to someone else I would be a little miffed to say the least. And I bet most people on this site would feel the same.

And you call this a mistake. I think monumental blunder is a more appropriate words.

Anyway I plan on contacting this bloke, I'm sure he will see this as a genuine mistake… lol

I will see if he is interested in taking this to the media.
Bobbyboy.

I don't think the mistake could be seen as adversely affecting you, the aggrieved person is I believe the other father, who's personal details have been given to you and yes likely in contravention of the Privacy Act. Perhaps he has also been furnished with such details and then you may well have every right to action as an aggrieved person under the Privacy Act. You could make a complaint to the CSA and see how that goes. I also believe that you could go to the ombudsmen and they might suggest action.

Here's what the CSA Guide says about complaints:
CSA Guide - 6.9.3 said

6.9.3: The steps in the complaint handling process

Version 2.0, Last updated 17 March 2008 5:00pmInformation in this version of The Guide applies from 1 July 2008

Refer to the previous Scheme Guide for information until 30 June 2008

CSA policy is to respond promptly to every complaint it receives. CSA has a 3-step complaint process which is set out below. However, complaints about very serious misconduct may be reported directly by the Customer Service Officer, manager or Complaints Officer to the relevant CSA Service Delivery Manager for further action.

CSA keeps a record of all complaints and the action taken to resolve them.

Step one

When a CSA officer receives a complaint from a parent in writing, over the telephone, or in person the officer will make their best efforts to resolve the complaint. They may need to refer it to the relevant team member handling the matter to resolve the complaint. This can involve:

  • explaining the operation of the legislation;
  • apologising for an error or inappropriate behaviour or action; or
  • explaining objection rights to the parent.
CSA officers dealing with a complaint about the delivery of service by a contracted Senior Case Officer will involve that officer in the complaint handling process.

Step two

If the CSA officer cannot resolve the complaint they will refer it to their manager who will deal with the matter promptly and give the issues raised fresh attention. They will also use their best efforts to resolve the complaint and escalate any issues as appropriate. If the manager cannot resolve the complaint they will advise the customer that they can refer the matter to the complaints service by calling 132 919.

Step three

By calling 132 919 a parent can speak to a Complaints Officer who will be responsible for resolving the complaint. An officer who is independent from CSA officers who have handled the parents child support case will look at the complaint.

If the parent is not satisfied with the action taken by CSA they may lodge a complaint at any time with the Ombudsman, their Member of Parliament or the Minister's Office.

In some cases, complaints may go directly to step two or three. These complaints include:

  • complaints from very distraught parents who believe they have a serious issue that cannot be resolved by staff in a site office; and
  • complaints about the behaviour of the Customer Service Officer, their colleagues or manager or a more senior officer.
And here's a link to the Ombudsmen's website where you can make an online complaint. Ombudsman's Website

You may also wish to have a look at the Privacy Act, here's a link to the website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (note that State's also have Privacy Laws, so these may also apply) Website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner
CSA treats privacy very seriously and will take action to investigate any alleged privacy incidents. In the interests of protecting the privacy of CSA's customers it would be appreciated if you could contact the CSA Privacy Hotline on 1800 082 703 to allow the CSA an opportunity to investigate this matter.


The Child Support Agency (CSA) has provided this general information to support a better understanding of the Child Support Scheme. To discuss an individual child support case, or for further information, please contact the CSA directly, as specific cases or circumstances will not be discussed in a public forum.
All CSA communications with the forum will be in the form of public posts- the CSA will not be responding to private posts or emails.
Additional information on the Child Support Agency, and details on their participation in this site can be found here
Here is an extract from the CSA Guide

6.11.1: Compensation

Breach of privacy

The Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) requires that agencies like CSA observe strict privacy safeguards in handling personal information. These obligations are legally enforceable.

If the Privacy Commissioner upholds a complaint under the Privacy Act he can award a specified amount of compensation. This amount is recoverable from the Commonwealth. It can include reasonable expenses incurred in making the complaint and compensation for injury to personal feelings or humiliation.

Where a decision maker feels that the Privacy Commissioner would be likely to find that CSA is legally liable for a breach of privacy, CSA can try to settle the matter by offering an appropriate amount as compensation.


I hope this helps…..
MikeT & Isntlifegrand, thanks for your advice.

Oh and to the CSA, ring you… as if.

I have not decided what I will do with this information, but I will be contacting this other person first and have a chat to him.
hi bobbyboy.

I do agree, it does seem that an error has been made by the CSA in relation to a breach of an individual's privacy, however, I believe that your ranting has effectively made the decision of what to do with this information for you. If you do anything but sit on this information and not divuldge it to anyone, including the gentleman in question, any chance for anonamynity will be lost. The gentleman would of course be upset about the breach of privacy, make the reasonable complaint and your undeniable involvement would be brought to the fore. Without making any incinuations as to porposeful wrongdoing by government departments, I would predict that a long list of new "mistakes" would then occur with your own interests as a focus.

The correct alternative of course would be to make a report of the incident directly to the CSA, as directed by the CSA, negating any humiliation you would impose upon the gentleman and allow the dept. to appropriately address the situation.
Dalobsta said
I do agree, it does seem that an error has been made by the CSA in relation to a breach of an individual's privacy, however, I believe that your ranting has effectively made the decision of what to do with this information for you. If you do anything but sit on this information and not divulge it to anyone, including the gentleman in question, any chance for anonamynity will be lost.
A sensible comment and post.

The CSA have immediately offered a contact number for Bobby Boy to call but I suspect Bobbyboy is an angry man who is so angry with a range of issues not even raised here that sensible commentary will be ignored.
secretary Spca said
Have you called the CSA to discuss this?

CSA themselves do monitor these forums from time to time so are probably better able to answer that question. The fact of the matter however is that if you have a child regardless of other issues then there is a child support liability. If you don't wish to have contact and participate that is unfortunate indeed but at the end of the day the legislation is quite clear about the requirement for paying child support. Now if that is something you can accept then the next step is to work out what has to be paid and how it is paid and is the amount you are paying correct and in keeping with the the many rules. If you are not having much communication with the other party in the matter you will be using the CSA to collect and private treaty and other options won't work.

Have you actually bothered to go to our site calculators in the CSA section on the web site here under "The Guide" area and used the advanced calculator to do a full assessment? Are you paying the correct amount?

What is your grievance with the department as you say you have been "done over" what does "done over" really mean? Does it mean they caught up with you and you are unhappy that you have to pay or does it mean there are other fundamental issues that are a problem. If you want some valid input you will need to explain what that really means. Is it that you just don't want to pay child support or is it that there has been some problem with the departments assessment process or determination? A lot will relate to the amount of time you have with the child and how much each party earns.
It was interesting that you did not respond to any reasonable questions asked but continue to act in a most aggressive manner.
Bobbyboy said
As I'm at my wits end with the CSA and I will do anything to make their life a misery
If you have an issue the first thing is to try and identify each issue and knock them off one at a time. Simply going along in life and doing anything to make their (CSA) life a misery will not help you, your kids or anyone else. Some of the moderators and technical members here are very experienced with CSA process, rules, guidelines, procedure , policy and legislation.
Bobbyboy said
Oh and to the CSA, ring you… as if….
What a comment to make… How on earth do you think the issues will be resolved with your case if you don't want to talk to the CSA and adopt that attitude.

If you want some help ask for it and you will more than likely get it. There are thousands of people who have had their issues resolved, cases sorted out, obtained good information and documents and also a number who have come back from suicide through their contacts here. The very real facts are in the huge number of satisfied members, the massive number of donations sent, the letters that come and the personal thanks given. We sometimes get these members posting thanks which you appear to have missed. Here is one link if you have the time there are hundreds of others.

Help is available, the issues can be resolved … That is if you want them resolved… with the help of the agency. Up to you if you accept that help or not.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I had a similar thing happen to me recently.  Contacted the CSA in writing and asked them 1. advise me how to provide them with the information I had received in error, and 2. to assure me that a similar thing didnt happen with my personal information.

Am still to get a reply.  Maybe it happens more than we think.
   
Bigred said
I had a similar thing happen to me recently. …Am still to get a reply.  Maybe it happens more than we think.
If you feel an enquiry and follow up from us may help please contact us separately through the whisper or personal post function. There should be a relatively prompt response and at the very least an acknowledgement of receiving your correspondence. You can also follow up through the phone number advised in this post. There should be some stats available if we asked as to how many breech of privacy issues are dealt with each year.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Bobbyboy - C$A make mistakes all the time. So take note of the advice to communicate with them mostly in writing. This will enable you to keep track of their processes against you, as you may have three or more C$A officers dealing with your case at any time, and they do not always communicate with each other, and can then make decisions contrary to the other.
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