What we do with your complaint

Your complaint will be considered carefully and promptly.

In some cases we may decide not to take action. If we do this, we will explain why.

If we decide to act on your complaint, we may:

  • contact you or the agency and ask for more information
  • transfer your complaint to the agency for action
  • make a suggestion or comment to the agency.

We may ask:

  • the agency to reconsider or change its action or decision
  • the law, rule or procedure be changed
  • the agency take another action.

The Ombudsman cannot override the agency’s decision, or compel it to follow our suggestions, but agencies generally accept our comments or recommendations.

In some cases, if the Ombudsman considers it is in the public interest, a formal report can be made to the relevant Minister, the Chief Minister, or the Legislative Assembly.

What we cannot help you with

In some cases we may decide not to take action if you have not raised your complaint with the agency concerned, if a solution cannot be identified, or if the matter is over 12 months old.

We may not take action on your complaint if:

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

If we decide to not to take action, we will tell you the reasons why.

If we are unable to help, or your complaint falls outside our jurisdiction, we may be able to refer you to someone who can, such as:

  • ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • state, territory, industry and specialist Ombudsmen
  • ACT Human Rights Commission.

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

If you need support to make a complaint please contact us on 02 5117 3650.

How long will it take to deal with my complaint?

Most complaints can be dealt with quickly. Others may take months to investigate. We will try to deal with your complaint as soon as possible and we will keep you informed of the progress.

We aim to respond to your contact with our Office as quickly as possible. Our response time will vary depending on which of our functions you are using and who your complaint or enquiry is about. And of course, each matter is different, and the timing will depend on the nature and complexity of your matter.

In many cases, we can quickly give you advice or point you to an avenue that may assist to resolve your matter faster. We aim to give you this advice within 7 days. About 75 per cent of complaints are finalised in this way.

Often, we need to look further into your complaint but can then give you an answer. This might involve getting more information from you or from the agency, or conducting some research. We aim to finalise these cases within 30 days. This means that in total, about 90 per cent of complaints are finalised within 30 days.

Some complaints need a more detailed investigation to seek information from the agency complained about. Investigations usually take up to 90 days, although some are more complex and take longer. We’ll keep you updated if this happens in your case. Overall, 95 per cent of complaints should be finalised within 90 days, and 99 per cent within 12 months.

ACT reportable conduct

ACT Freedom of Information reviews

Other enquiries

For all other enquiries, we aim to respond to 90 per cent within 7 days, and to 95 per cent within 30 days.

What can I expect from the Ombudsman?

When you complain to the Ombudsman's Office you can expect us to:

  • be professional and courteous
  • provide an independent and impartial assessment of your complaint and advice about your options
  • undertake confidential, prompt and free assessment of your complaint in a way that is fair to everyone
  • provide clear explanations about what we can and cannot do
  • provide you information about any decision we make
  • keep you informed of the progress of your complaint.

You can find more information on our What can you expect from us page.