Handling of my complaint

The ACT Ombudsman can investigate how an ACT government agency has managed a complaint. We can also review decisions made by a government agency that you felt was unfair or incorrect.  

This may include complaints about:

  • an agency not calling back or responding to complaints
  • making repeat complaints and not receiving a response
  • not being able to make a complaint
  • being targeted because you made a complaint
  • complaints processes not recognising your specific needs (for example, you are unable to put a complaint in writing due to a disability)

What we cannot help you with

We will not investigate a complaint when:

  • a more appropriate agency can assist
  • the matter has been considered by a Minister or has been before a court or tribunal.

If we decide to not investigate your complaint we will tell you the reasons why.

See Who else can help for a detailed list of other complaint-handling agencies.

Before you make a complaint

Before making a complaint to the Ombudsman we ask you to try and resolve the issue with the agency concerned. There are two main reasons why this is important:

  1. it lets the agency know that you are not happy
  2. agencies can fix most problems quickly and simply. Our investigations can take more time.

For advice on how to approach an agency, see our guide Resolving the issue yourself.

If the agency does not fix your problem or is taking too long to resolve it, you can contact us.

How to get help with making a complaint

If you need support to make a complaint, call us on 02 5119 5518. We will do our best to help you.

You can call us on our dedicated Indigenous number 1800 060 789, or you can use our Indigenous language interpreter service.

If you are a non-English speaking person, we can help through the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450. You can visit our brochures page for information in many community languages.

If you are hearing, sight or speech impaired, please use the National Relay Service:

  • the speak and listen number is 1300 555 727.
  • for TTY call 133677

Phone calls to the ACT Ombudsman from the Alexander Maconochie Centre are free.

How to complain

You can make a complaint via our online complaint form or call us on 02 5119 5518.

When writing your complaint keep it simple and list the facts. Be as specific as possible about dates, names and other important details. Make sure you include:

  • a description of your issue, incident or decision
  • dates of events and contact with the agency
  • who was involved including witnesses
  • details of telephone conversations or meetings
  • reference numbers you received when dealing with the agency
  • evidence such as photographs or medical records
  • steps you have already taken to resolve the problem
  • the outcome you would like to see as a result of your complaint.

How we have helped

Invoice processing case study

A complainant runs a small business that does work for an ACT government agency. They wrote to our Office, saying that their business had been waiting for payment of outstanding invoices for work that had been competed in 2016. Despite making a complaint to the agency they still had not received payment.

Some of the delay in payment had been caused by delays in issuing the invoices, but there were instances where it appeared the agency had not acted in accordance with the ACT Accounting Policy.

Following our investigation, the agency was able to identify and arrange payment for all outstanding matters. They wrote and apologised to the complainant. They also reviewed their processes with a view to improving services to suppliers in future.