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.

Review of our decisions


Australian Government agencies administered under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act) 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 a PGPA 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.

CDDA claims about the Commonwealth Ombudsman are dealt with by the Attorney-General’s Department. You can make a claim by emailing:

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.

Service Charter