Incompetent record keeping is depriving thousands of Victorians of life-changing information, but the Department of Human Services has ”a profound conflict of interest” because fixing the problem would allow a rush of lawsuits, a parliamentary inquiry was told on Friday.
Some 90 per cent of DHS records are not properly managed, and the increasing amount of electronic data is making the problem worse, the Victorian inquiry into how the churches have handled sex abuse heard.
Debbie Prout of the Records and Information Management Professionals of Australasia said by law the department had to ensure records were accessible and discoverable, but the more it did the higher the chance of lawsuits would be….
Ms Prout said the record deficit particularly impacted on the most vulnerable, such as former wards of state, who could not find out information such as surviving relatives or material they could use in seeking compensation.
She said Ombudsman and Auditor-General’s reports showed that record-keeping compliance breaches were ”prolific, recurring and have high risk implications”.
”There is no agency monitoring, no agency compliance reporting, no defined community complaints process, and the penalties for destruction are woeful.”
Read more: The Age, April 6, 2013