What we do

Ombudsman's role

We consider and investigate complaints from people who believe they have been treated unfairly or unreasonably by an ACT Government Directorate or agency, including the Australian Federal Police in its community policing role. We also investigate complaints from ACT public education providers including Australian National University (ANU), Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and University of Canberra (UC). Our aim is to resolve complaints impartially, informally and quickly. If we cannot assist with a particular complaint, we will explain why, and suggest other avenues for resolving the matter.

We cannot override the decisions of the agencies we deal with, nor issue directions to their staff. Instead, we resolve disputes by consultation and negotiation, and if necessary, by making formal recommendations to the most senior levels of government. Since the inception of the ACT Ombudsman’s office in 1989, we have assisted in resolving many hundreds of individual complaints, and brought about significant improvements in the quality of government administration.

Our annual report provides details of the numbers and types of complaints we deal with, and the ways in which they are resolved.

We also conduct inspections of law enforcement agencies' use of covert powers under ACT legislation and the management of the ACT child sex offenders register. The results of our inspections can be found in our annual report.

Vision

  • Administrative action by ACT Government agencies is fair and accountable.

Mission

The office safeguards the community in its dealings with ACT Government agencies by:

  • correcting administrative deficiencies through independent review of complaints about ACT Government administrative action
  • fostering good public administration that is accountable, lawful, fair, transparent and responsive
  • assisting people to resolve complaints about government administrative action
  • developing policies and principles for accountability
  • reviewing statutory compliance by agencies.

Values

  • independence
  • impartiality
  • integrity
  • accessibility
  • professionalism
  • team work.

What we do

  • investigate complaints about ACT Government agencies and public education providers and make recommendations for resolving complaints
  • foster good complaint handling in ACT Government agencies and public education providers
  • encourage and assist people to resolve problems directly with government agencies and public education providers
  • highlight problems in public administration through complaint handling, own motion investigations and reporting
  • contribute to public discussion on administrative law and public administration
  • focus attention on the adverse impact government administration can have on individuals
  • promote open government
  • assess law enforcement agencies' compliance with ACT legislation when using the following covert powers: surveillance devices, controlled operations and assumed identities
  • monitor ACT Policing's management of the ACT child sex offenders register.

How we do it

  • professional, high-quality and well-trained staff
  • delivery of our services in accordance with professional standards
  • efficient and effective information systems
  • being responsive to criticism of our own performance.

How the Ombudsman can help you

If you think you have been unfairly treated by an ACT Government agency or public education provider you can complain to the Ombudsman’s office. We can investigate complaints about:

Agencies

ACT Government agencies responsible for services such as public housing and education, corrective services, planning and municipal services.

Services

We can investigate services delivered by ACT public education providers including ANU, CIT and UC. Complaints can be received from domestic and overseas students who are over 18 years of age. Students who are under 18 years of age can make complaints to the Children and Young People Commissioner at the ACT Human Rights Commission.

Freedom of information

Freedom of Information (FOI) including delays in processing FOI requests and complaints about FOI charges.

Whistleblowers

Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 we can receive disclosures. We may investigate complaints about 'disclosable conduct' of the Head of Service. We may investigate complaints about the administrative arrangements in place within a Directorate for managing PIDs, and about how a PID has been investigated or handled by an agency.

Australian Federal Police (AFP)

The AFP provides community policing services to the ACT under an agreement with the ACT Government. We can investigate complaints about the actions of the AFP.

We cannot

We cannot investigate complaints about the actions of ACT Government ministers or politicians; private individuals; or environment, health and young person services (there are special commissioners to deal with these issues); decisions of courts and tribunals; and public service employment.