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SSAT - Stats at end March 2007 (Social Security Appeals Tribunal)

SSAT has made the first statistics avaialble.

SSAT has received 400 applications for reviews on cases to the end of May that are within jurisdiction.

61 decisions on cases have been made

28 cases are varied and set aside.

Overall the decision making seems to be sound, Generally in line with what is in the guide.

Site Director

Just on the numbers

Looking at these most basic figures, 28 cases out of 61 considered, which represents 46%, being set aside and new decisions made is very high percentage. Especially if the new decisions do reflect the "Guide". If this trend continues, the CSA will need to look at it's policies and the training offered to Case Officers to improve the quality of internal decisions. Also, it is worth recalling that every one of the cases reviewed had already been through CSA'a internal "Objection" process (Which a CSA officer once told me allowed less than 1 in a 1000 objections).

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
I know someone that has recently been through the SSAT process. I was quite surprised to find that the process is quite formal with responses and objections - with paperwork similar to the Courts. However this is the case with many tribunals.

Whilst tribunals are supposed to make things easier - often they make it as complicated as a Court case -as the guy said to me "The hearing was more complicated than a 12A case because there were 3 people on the review panel and they were all asking questions"

I fear that many 'blokes' would lose through incorrect presentation and paperwork and not identifying the real issues rather than a lack of merit in their case.


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

One in a thousand

oneadadc said
Looking at these most basic figures, 28 cases out of 61 considered, which represents 46%, being set aside and new decisions made is very high percentage. Especially if the new decisions do reflect the "Guide". If this trend continues, the CSA will need to look at it's policies and the training offered to Case Officers to improve the quality of internal decisions. Also, it is worth recalling that every one of the cases reviewed had already been through CSA'a internal "Objection" process (Which a CSA officer once told me allowed less than 1 in a 1000 objections).
Since I am obviously in the minority and have won against CSA's Objection process I will give a quick tip.  CSA uses Administrative justice principles in its decision making process.  Make yourself aware of these and how the process should go.  Secondly Freedom of Information can be used to pull the contents on the decision process of the original decision.  Much detail can be deleted, but it will demonstrate the points that you lost on in the original application.

For me, comments made without proof from the X were taken on face value, while my comments were discounted.  I therefore raised the issue of Adminsitrative justice in that instance.  Secondly, a "draft" parenting plan was submitted by the X, and CSA incorrectly assumed it was a signed application by me.  A mistake.  Without FOI I would not be aware of how and where to specifically challenge the decision process.

The FOI was provided freely by CSA, after I contacted their FOI officer.  The officer seemed surprised that I asked for such documentation, and I left the converstation with the belief that not many people follow these procedures.
Hi. I am new to this site.

I am interested to know where to locate the Administrative Justice Principles.

Have been busy preparing for SSAT hearing.

Can you tell me what the experience is like, and how the hearing runs?

Is SSAT fair and impartial to both sides?

Is there any preconceptions?

Is there anything I should be aware of?

I have applied for FOI, but only received some of what I requested.  I will have to appeal this decision, but the hearing will be before this.

I have worked through the case, referring to the Guide and Legislation to question decisions made.

What happens if I am wrong in my interpretation? :(

I think I have used evidence based facts and not the emotional stuff.

Any advice appreciated.
I was in SSAT early this year in Canberra. Headed by female with one other female and one male.

1 hour conference - they grill you you answer questions.

They don't make their case clear and will try to trick you like judges and lawyers do.

In my case they ended up overturning CSA (who I had appealed and won) and making me pay more - also against precedent in my own case in front of Mowbray the year before.

I am doing natural justice now in court against SSAT.

It is not a process designed to make it easier:

1) You cannot subpoena witnesses or evidence;

2) I could not cross examine the other party because they removed her from the case (but still found in her favor).

They rely on the broad sweep of 117 to do anything they like really - just like CSA, SSAT and the courts do.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
We will take those two issues back to FaCSIA for comment as, on the surface, it does not seem reasonable that you cannot  subpoena witnesses or evidence and or have evidence you need made available under FOI.

And your second point "I could not cross examine the other party because they removed her from the case". This seems to me that the case became an extremly "Technical Challenge" by the SSAT against CSA in the end and the other party was completely removed from it. Did you appeal to The FMC and when is the case likely to come up? I assume the other party lodged the SSAT appeal against your having won against the CSA in the initial CSA decsion. 

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 won my appeal  (Monday) against SSAT on the grounds of Natural Justice. The main point being that SSAT is an INQUISITORIAL process not ADVERSERIAL.

It's incumbent on on SSAT to advise of the issue they are after and help get to the information. The law is also flawed in a number of places.

Section 88 discusses fair (whatever that means). It's like we will have another 50 years of precedents for lawyers to argue what fair, just, equitable etc means to help protect them when they make intrinsically unfair decisions.

Unfortunately the non-presence of the other party at both the SSAT hearing and the Appeal to the court meant I was disadvantaged. The Magistrate could not set aside the decisions (because of natural justice issues) because I had not advised her that that was what I wanted and could not because she was not there.

I now have been sent back to SSAT for another hearing (who I believe are biased against me and have shown it but not "Legally").

The mindless administrative processes which abuse me continue.

12 years and still going - two houses lost, health declining, no financial future for children (now in my full care), but have experienced real insight into the incompetence and lack of care of all the people involved.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
OneRingRules said
SSAT has received 400 applications for reviews on cases to the end of May that are within jurisdiction.

61 decisions on cases have been made

28 cases are varied and set aside.

Overall the decision making seems to be sound, Generally in line with what is in the guide.
The 1994 JSC questioned the fact that everything (such as the stats you give) to do with the activities of the CSR under Part 6A were hidden and clandestine.

May I ask how you are now able to pluck such stats out of the air?

Also who ARE you? - that is to say you may not be aware that we have a Privacy Act in Australia and from where I sit the ONLY way you could know these stats would be that you work for the CSA or have a link to CSA.

In both cases you are prohibited from divulging such information.
nicholson said
Also who ARE you? - that is to say you may not be aware that we have a Privacy Act in Australia and from where I sit the ONLY way you could know these stats would be that you work for the CSA or have a link to CSA.

In both cases you are prohibited from divulging such information.
Who are you? - click on the name and it reveals a site administrator with 391 posts and obvious access to a great deal of information.

Of course he is aware of the Privacy Act.

The information was provided by the SSAT.

Now who are you my friend with one post and the worst possible user name you could have chosen for this site?
nicholson said
OneRingRules said
SSAT has received 400 applications for reviews on cases to the end of May that are within jurisdiction.

61 decisions on cases have been made

28 cases are varied and set aside.

Overall the decision making seems to be sound, Generally in line with what is in the guide.
The 1994 JSC questioned the fact that everything (such as the stats you give) to do with the activities of the CSR under Part 6A were hidden and clandestine.

May I ask how you are now able to pluck such stats out of the air?
Where have you been? The information being made available is part of a much more open operating CSA with figures readily available from appropriate sources. They are accurate stats for the period covered. You need to take a look at the speech from the General Manager of the CSA, made recently in Parliament House and get a feel for how things will look as the new legislation starts to roll into place. (I will post the link for you shortly)

There is nothing secret about the numbers of cases through the SSAT and there have been no individual case files identified in open forums. Privacy is a very important factor here in the Portal and the site admins are careful to ensure any posts that would contravene various legal sections and instruments are moved to appropriate closed group member forums.  :)

Site Director
I have but about the SSAT matter. I tried to join the community but need to spend time working it all out as when I pressed join it went to my email but wouldn't send. I am awaiting on his affidavit as the family report says all the children should live with me. He has a solicitor but unless there is some new evidence the ICL does not see the Judge allow what is going on. The other problem is the boy's are too old. Thanks for your help and advice…Ann
Secretary_SPCA, well all, just a thought, perhaps something similar to SRL, to assist with people preparing for COA's SSAT could be useful.
I agree with Mike T that it woud be an excellent idea.  If our objection fails, we'll have to go to the SSAT as our family will be financially hamstrung and my husband will never be able to see his kids again under the current COA decision  - looking at the posts on SSATs, I'm terrified at the prospect of doing so.
There are later stats and remiss of me not to publish. The reason I held back was that the last stats we had in June tended to have some discrepancies compared to other figures. Also I need to update the status on publishing cases which is slowly winding it's way through to a resolution. I will go back to the stats and see what can be published that is reliable.

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
 
ANy update on the release of stats.  Surely full year 2007-08 are now available to give people an idea on how its going?  This is a matter of real public interest and shouldn't be hidden for so long.

Updated SSAT Stats mid June 2008

Some later stats as at mid June and my apologies for the delayed posting.

Approximately 1300 hearings to date.

52 % of hearings are being upheld and 48% a new assessment is ordered so approximately half are being altered.

It is clear that the vast majority of new assessments are being ordered varied and set aside due to additional evidence and supporting documentation that was not available to CSA officers at the time of the assessment. The rate of variation in the decisions made by SSAT clearly indicates that more information is coming to light after the CSA made its decision.  FaHCSIA stated that SSAT appeals are being systematically monitored by FaHCSIA and CSA.  Ruth Pilkinton (Legal Aid NSW) also advised that court decisions are being monitored.

Most decisions are involving very small amounts of money.

The CSA reviews the hearing outcomes and apparently is continuously looking to the reasons decisions are overturned to enable any changes to CSA policies that can better determine a COA outcome. I understand that a number of hearings have been conducted due to out of time objections and this is being looked at in more detail.

Overall the decision making seems to be sound, Generally in line with what is in the guide.

(FaHCSIA) advised that customers must go to SSAT before they take the matter to court.  Once someone has gone to SSAT and they think an error of law has been made only then can they take the matter to court. You can only appeal a SSAT determination on a matter of law.

Training programmes are in place for SSAT officers. Once a month there is a post review committee. They look at trends emerging and policy trends. There is an issues register to follow up at SSAT.

SSAT are looking at service delivery issues, and publication procedures. which are yet to be advised. We are expecting SSAT decisions to be published in a similar manner to court orders.

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
 
Sec SPCA, not wishing to labour the point but could it be that the reason that the variations involve small amounts of money is because the payers are required to object each and every error as a unique case, then follow it up with an SSAT appeal if they have any energy left?  I have also heard this line being touted on more than one occasion, but the cumulative impact on the individual may actually be quite significant.  

I guess the first time we will see a real analysis of the data will be when an investiagtive journo or academic researcher gets access to the data or the ANAO puts it on their future audit program.

 

2007-2008 SSAT Annual Report

According to the annual report for 2008 there were 2174 appeals lodged. 39.4% were withdrawn/not categorised/dismissed/or not within SSAT jurisdiction. 29.6%(635) were affirmed and 31%(674) set aside or varied.

So of the valid appeals, 1309, that SSAT made a decision on, 51.5% (674) showed that the CSA's decisions were incorrect.

Here's the
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Annual Report

i have no faith

Judging by a lot of people not having any luck i am not feeling very confident in my  hubbys SSAT's case coming up.:'(
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