A group of senior public servants found to be at fault for their roles in the fatal home insulation scheme will learn their likely fates this month, the government's workplace authority has confirmed.
The Public Service Commission says it is close to finalising reports on the conduct of the officials at the departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Environment in the run up to the ill-fated scheme, which cost the lives of four young workmen, in 2009.
The royal commission on the affair, which published its report in September 2014, was scathing about the conduct of senior bureaucrats and even some of their hired private sector consultants.
Commissioner Ian Hanger, SC, found "the failings of senior management assured the failure of the project" and that senior bureaucrats may have breached the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct in their handling of the program.
Mr Hanger made adverse findings against 19 individuals, who were not all publicly named, but it was unclear which of the officials named by the royal commission are being examined by the Public Service Commission.
Mr Hanger found that senior officials failed to provide candid advice to ministers, that they lacked subject-matter expertise and did not to provide leadership of the program.
The royal commissioner left it in the hands of the Prime Minister to decide whether public servants should be disciplined.
The Public Service Commission told The Canberra Times this week that it had been working on a review of "roles and responsibilities" of some of the bureaucrats involved in the scheme and that it expected the review to be complete within weeks.
"Drawing on the findings of the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission, the Australian Public Service Commission is undertaking a statutory review of the roles and responsibilities of individual public servants during the Home Insulation Program, with regard to the governance and accountability arrangements at the time," a commission spokeswoman said.
"This review is expected to conclude within the next month."
Among those named in the royal commission were Environment Department assistant secretary Beth Brunoro and senior public servant Aaron Hughes, now Comcare general manager.
Two external contracters were also named – risk consultant Margaret Coaldrake and project adviser Janine Leake, who charged taxpayers more than $1800 a day for her work on the Home Insulation Program but who admitted she was unclear what her role was.
Senior government lawyer David Hoitink was criticised for offering the incorrect advice that states would be solely responsible for the safety of insulation installers.
The oral evidence and poor recollections of former senior Environment managers William Kimber, and Simon Cox, came in for attention from Mr Hanger and he also found Environment Department senior public servants Kathy Belka and Kevin Keeffe failed to candidly brief their minister, Peter Garrett, on the dangers of insulation installation.
Meanwhile, a review by former top public servant Peter Shergold into the government's approach to public programs in the wake of the home insulation debacle is getting under way.
Dr Shergold, a former Prime Minister and Cabinet Department chief, will examine the roles of senior bureaucrats as well as their political bosses in his review.