Complaints about us
Making a complaint about the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman
Unhappy with our decision
If you disagree with a decision we have made about your complaint, you should discuss the matter with the person who made the decision. If you remain dissatisfied, you can ask us to review the decision. A request for a review should be submitted in writing within three months from the date we advise you of our decision.
If we agree to review our decision, your request for review will be assigned to an officer who was not involved in the original investigation of your complaint. The review will consider
- the process adopted by the investigating officer and whether it was fair and adequate to address all the complaint issues you raised
- the merit of the officer's conclusions and whether they were properly explained to you.
Australian Government agencies administered under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA) may provide discretionary assistance in some cases by act of grace payments, or by waiving debts owed to the Australian Government. In general, this assistance may be granted where it is considered that the Australian Government has a moral responsibility to provide assistance, rather than a legal responsibility. In particular, the Scheme for Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme) allows a claim to be considered for loss arising from defective administration.
The Ombudsman is an FMA Act agency, to which the CDDA Scheme applies. The Ombudsman is in a different position to many other agencies, in that the office does not dispense benefits, entitlements etc. The office can only investigate complaints against other agencies, and does not have determinative powers. The office can only make a recommendation on the action that should be taken by another agency.
It is unlikely that a claim for loss attributable to defective administration could be related to the Ombudsman’s handling of a complaint. It is nevertheless an option that is open to a person, and a claim can always be made and will be considered by the office.
Unhappy with our service
We are committed to ensuring the best service possible and access for all clients. We take all complaints seriously about our decisions and actions, including officer conduct.
- actively encourage feedback about how we carry out our core complaints function
- take a client-focused approach to how we deal with complaints about our services
- accept complaints about our services orally or in writing
- use complaints about our services to improve our business processes.