Seeking information

Requests for information

If you are interested in obtaining information from the Ombudsman’s  office, it is a good idea to telephone first to find out the most  efficient way to do so. Sometimes a formal Freedom of Information (FOI)  request may be needed, but this is not always the case. Senior officers  of the Ombudsman’s office have been authorised to disclose the  following information to a person who has made a complaint to the  office, or to a person known to be acting on their behalf:

  • Correspondence to the office received from them
  • Correspondence to them from the Ombudsman’s office
  • Records of telephone and personal discussion involving them, unless  those records contain information which the officer making the  disclosure considers sensitive, in which case non-sensitive portions  may be disclosed
  • Other documents where the officer making the disclosure is  satisfied that the person would have already seen them (for example,  copies of correspondence between themselves and the agency, which is  the subject of their complaint).

Information held by the Ombudsman's office

The Ombudsman holds information in the following broad categories:

Investigations, including complaints

This could include:

  • Correspondence and records of consultations with people making complaints, agencies and other information sources
  • Background material
  • Records of conversations
  • Analysis
  • Advices
  • Reports

Ombudsman’s role

This would include information relating to the Ombudsman’s role as  the chief executive of an Australian Government agency with a  particular set of responsibilities, in terms of the development or  implementation of administrative process, policy or legislation.

Management of the Ombudsman’s office

This category includes information relating to the management of the  office, including staffing, contracting and financial records, and  information about asset management

Information that may be disclosed

The information the Ombudsman holds may be disclosed in the following circumstances:

On request

For example in relation to information sought by a person about the investigation of his or her own complaint, where:

  • The documents are routine
  • An ongoing investigation will not be prejudiced
  • There is no other interest likely to be adversely affected by disclosure.

As required under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

The FOI Act creates a general right of access to documents held by  government agencies, subject to exemptions, which recognise the need to  protect sensitive personal and commercial information and some  government records.

In reports

For example the Annual Report and other published reports, including reports on investigations.

As required by law

From time to time the Ombudsman’s office is required to provide  information in relation for example to legal proceedings or during the  course of auditing. The legislation provides substantial protection for  investigation information.

Media enquiries

Media enquiries can be directed to 02 6276 3759 during standard business hours.