WHEN YES IS THE HARDEST WORD TO SAY
Welcome to Russell Offices staff indoctrination training for 2021.
This training will be accompanied by a short PowerPoint presentation and a break for morning tea.
The most important word you will learn here today is “no”, which should be the standard response to most submissions.
Indeed some issues predate the defence records move to Canberra from Melbourne and Ms Gladys Throgmorton, who was promoted to OIC records following forced redundancies of the tea trolley dollies, has produced a very helpful annex to your aide memoires listing these issues.
You will also find at appendix 1 to that annex a standard rejection form that simply requires updating current appointments for your response.
In summary – slide six thanks – that letter has a salutation followed by the standard response; “Your submission into <subject> has been thoroughly reviewed by <actioning branch> and after careful consideration by <department head, only officers full colonel and equivalent and above> you are advised it has been< unsuccessful/rejected>.
Should the actioning staff officer feel the need for further explanation, she may choose a generic response from those listed at appendix 2.
If I might pause momentarily, we have chosen “she” to describe actioning officers since that more accurately reflects majority gender balance on most senior HQ.
In a tight situation there’s the old guaranteed comeback.
“The office of the Governor-General has carefully considered this matter and his/her excellency has advised it does not meet the strict criteria for vice-regal consent and that therefore he/she has reluctantly ruled against its approval.”
This of course places no obligation on the actioning officer’s part to actually submit the correspondence to Government House for vice-regal consideration.
The final par states “No further correspondence will be entered into” followed by a closing salutation.
This is best done personally by hand for the senior officer responsible for the issue.
Again, no need to refer up, but you should memorise the chain of responsibility in your section.
Let’s look at some stubborn cases. In the event you receive a persistent inquiry from an individual, particularly one still serving, a word with officer career management can have the correspondent posted into the relevant position responsible for research and response.
This always imposes a convenient delay.
Remember, saying yes requires considering an issue.
No is always the easy way out.
Finally, are there any questions?
No? I thought as much.