The Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)

What is the CDDA Scheme?

The CDDA Scheme provides a mechanism for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Department) to compensate persons who have experienced detriment as a result of defective actions or inaction, in cases where it has been established that there is no legal liability to pay compensation.

The CDDA Scheme is discretionary as well as permissive. It does not oblige the decision-maker to approve a payment in any particular case.

Claims under the CDDA Scheme are managed and investigated by the Department.

Who has the authority to make decisions?

The CDDA Scheme is an administrative, not a statutory (legislative) scheme. It has been established under the executive power of section 61 of the Constitution.

Portfolio Ministers have responsibility for decisions made under the CDDA Scheme. Ministers may also authorise departmental officers to make decisions.

When are compensation payments made?

Payments made under the CDDA Scheme are discretionary. This means there is no automatic entitlement to a payment.

Payments may be made by the relevant portfolio Minister or authorised officer if a Departmental Officer or the Department has directly caused an applicant to experience detriment as a result of defective administration.

The CDDA Scheme is generally an avenue of last resort and is used only where there is no other viable avenue to provide redress.

That a mistake has been made by an entity or an official of an entity does not automatically mean compensation is payable under the CDDA Scheme.

What is defective administration?

Defective administration is defined as:

  • a specific and unreasonable lapse in complying with existing administrative procedures; or
  • an unreasonable failure to institute appropriate administrative procedures; or
  • an unreasonable failure to give to (or for) an applicant, the proper advice that was within the officer's power and knowledge to give (or reasonably capable of being obtained by the officer to give); or
  • giving advice to (or for) an applicant that was, in all the circumstances, incorrect or ambiguous.

What is detriment?

Detriment means quantifiable financial loss that the applicant has suffered.

There are three types of detriment:

  • detriment relating to a personal injury including mental injury (personal injury loss);
  • economic detriment that is not related to a personal injury (pure economic loss); and
  • detriment relating to damage to property.

Who can apply for compensation?

Any individual, company or other organisation can apply for compensation, either for themselves or for an authorised third party. There is no guarantee of a favourable outcome.

How do I apply?

To apply for compensation for detriment caused by defective administration (CDDA) please first complete the form:

PMC Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration Form V1.03, claim form.

Please attach all relevant documentation to support your claim, e.g. correspondence between yourself the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, medical certificates etc.

You can return your claim to us, by sending in the post to:

Chief Financial Officer
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PO Box 6500
Canberra ACT 2600

Your application should:

  • address the criteria for determining defective administration;
  • explain how the actions or inactions were defective;
  • provide details of the detriment being claimed, including an explanation of how the amount claimed is calculated; and
  • explain how the defective administration directly caused the loss.

Assessing a Claim

The criteria used by decision makers in deciding CDDA claims is set out in the Department of Finance's Resource Management Guide 409.

Losses that can't be considered

Generally, claims for the following types of losses can't be considered under claims of legal liability or the CDDA Scheme:

  • claims for personal time spent resolving an issue
  • claims for stress, anxiety, inconvenience
  • costs of putting in a claim or conducting a claim for compensation

Losses we can consider

Types of compensation we can consider are financial losses with a direct connection to our actions that lead to a finding of legal liability or defective administration. These can be losses such as:

  • professional fees, where evidence of payment is provided and the fees are considered by the decision maker to be reasonable (our assessment of what is reasonable may differ from yours)
  • bank or other administrative fees you incurred because of our actions.

Service standards

We aim to acknowledge receipt of your compensation claim in writing within seven (2) business days of receiving it.

Once you provide all necessary information in support of your claim, we aim to process the claims and have made a decision within 90 days.

Some complex claims and internal reviews may take longer to investigate and consider. In these cases, we will contact you about an extended reply date.

If you did not provide us with all the information we need to make a decision on your claim, we will contact you to tell you what information we need. We will also provide a timeframe for the conclusion of your claim.

We will not consider your claim until your original issue (that led to your claim) is resolved. If you are involved in other dispute resolution processes, including court or tribunal action, these need to be resolved before we consider your claim.

Receiving payment & Tax Implications

If your claim is successful, we transfer payment electronically into your nominated bank account.

You will need to provide us with your nominated bank account details. We will ask you for these at the time of payment.

If you're unsure whether the payment is taxable, you can seek advice from a tax professional.

You can also contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 and ask for advice or guidance for example a Private Tax Ruling.

Reviewing the decision

Internal review

There is no automatic right of administrative review of decisions under the CDDA Scheme. Our approach is to offer internal review where the claimant can provide new and relevant information or contentions in support of the claim.

Ombudsman Review

If you have a complaint about the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in regard to the CDDA Scheme, or you are dissatisfied with the Department’s decision under the CDDA Scheme, you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has also produced a factsheet on the CDDA Scheme. You can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman on the following details:

Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
CANBERRA ACT 2601
1300 362 072
www.ombudsman.gov.au