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This report has been prepared at the request of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme (see letter of engagement at Attachment A). It addresses each of the matters the Royal Commission identified in its request, and sets out the recommendations that, in the author's professional opinion, would address the concerns he identifies which appear to be systemic or critical points in the Robodebt scheme. The matters covered include: 

  • the role of the Australian Public Service (APS) and the professional relationship that exists/ed between APS leaders and their Agency Minister/s and their respective responsibilities
  • the responsibilities of individual public servants, particularly Secretaries, SES and ELs including their statutory obligations 
  • the relationship between policy advising and administration as well as the structure of the social security portfolio i.e., the respective roles of and relationships between the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Services Australia
  • the annual budget process including arrangements for ensuring Cabinet had/s sufficient information to make proper decisions
  • the relationship and level of engagement between Services Australia and DSS and each agencies' clients and stakeholders
  • the use of technology in the administration of social security payments, including data matching and automated decision making
  • the level of APS capabilities within the social security portfolio, including with regard to policy advice, administrative experience, understanding of social security and administrative law, and project management
  • the culture of Services Australia and DSS and the levels of communication between the two agencies.

The report draws on the author's experience in the Australian Public Service (APS) from 1968 to 2005, and his subsequent academic work on public policy and public administration.This report also refers extensively to recent inquiries into the APS and to the author's submissions to and commentaries on those inquiries. 

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