TRIM troubles catch parliament’s eye

It’s the public administration equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”, but many senior public servants have found themselves caught short by document management. Last week, the Department of Parliamentary Services was explaining why TRIM had let them down.

The mystery of missing documents — another embarrassment in the “Zahalka issue” procurement saga at the Department of Parliamentary Services — has been narrowed down to TRIM record mislabelling.

Two draft documents and one letter were not included when DPS scooped up all the documents it could find relating to the procurement of commemorative pieces from Sydney photographer Anne Zahalka for Parliament’s 25th anniversary. The omission might have gone unnoticed except they were included when the Australian National Audit Office did its timeline.

The senate finance and public administration committee has been investigating the procurement for many months now, but without all the documents.

Myra Croke, DPS’s chief operating officer, was the first to notice the discrepancy, and given the pressure the department is under — its secretary, Carol Mills, was sacked last month — sought to make amends with the senate committee.

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