Guide to the report

This report provides information on the activities, achievements and performance of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Office) for the 2019–20 financial year.

  • Part 1—Review by the Ombudsman
    • The Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe’s review of the year and the outlook for 2020–21.
  • Part 2—Overview of the Office
    • This outlines the roles, functions and organisational structure of the Office.
  • Part 3—Report on performance
    • An overview of our performance and financial performance for the 2019–20 financial year.
  • Part 4—Public Interest Disclosures
  • Part 5—Specific Ombudsman roles—annual reports
    • Our Act establishes five specific Ombudsman roles designating that each role is to be performed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Act requires an annual report on each role. We report publicly on each of the functions throughout the year, and these reports, combined with the content in this report constitutes the annual reports required.
  • Part 6—Management and accountability
    • This outlines the Office’s governance and accountability arrangements including external scrutiny, management of human resources, procurement and asset management.
  • Part 7—Appendices
    • This includes statistics on the number of contacts and complaints received by the Office, Financial Statements, a report on compliance with the information publication scheme, entity resource statement, ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance for the Office and correction of material errors in the previous annual report.
  • Part 8—References
    • This includes a glossary, a compliance index and an alphabetical index.


Date of publication: October 2020

Publisher: Commonwealth Ombudsman, Canberra Australia
© Commonwealth of Australia 2019
ISSN: 0814 –7124

All material presented in this publication is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution
3.0 Australia licence ( This material may be copied, distributed,
transmitted or adapted (including for commercial purposes) provided the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is credited as the creator and is not represented as endorsing your use of the material.

To avoid doubt, this licence only applies to the material as set out in this document.

The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website, as
is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence (

Under the Coat of Arms—the terms under which the Australian Coat of Arms may be used
are detailed on the It’s an Honour website (

Transmittal Letter

1 October 2020

The Hon Christian Porter MP
Parliament House

Dear Attorney-General

I am pleased to present the 43rd Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2020.

The report has been prepared for the purposes of s 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), which requires that I prepare an annual report to you for presentation to the Parliament.

The Annual Performance Statement has been prepared as required by paragraph 39(1)(a) of the PGPA Act. This Annual Performance Statement accurately reflects my Office's performance for the 2019–20 financial year, and complies with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

The report includes the audited financial statements for my Office, prepared in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015.

The report includes specific annual reporting information, prepared in accordance with the legislative requirements under the Ombudsman Act 1976.

In addition, I certify that I am satisfied my Office has appropriate fraud control mechanisms in place which meet our needs and comply with the PGPA Act, PGPA Rule and associated framework.

Yours sincerely

Michael Manthorpe PSM
Commonwealth Ombudsman