OUR COMPLAINTS POLICY AND PROCEDURE
The purpose of the Ombudsman SA complaints policy and procedure is to provide information to the public and agencies and guidance to Ombudsman SA officers, to ensure a fair and consistent approach to complaints made about our services and decisions.
Our complaints policy and procedure is based on the Australian/New Zealand Standard Guidelines for complaint management in organisations (AS/NZS 10002:2014).
The basic principles which underpin the policy and procedure are fairness, accessibility, responsiveness and continual business improvement. Complaints made to Ombudsman SA about our services and decisions are integrated into the business operations of our office.
Complaints about our services
If you are concerned about our service, you should first try and resolve your complaint with the particular Ombudsman SA officer. You may telephone and ask for that person; send an email, or write to them at the Ombudsman SA address below.
We will respond to people making a complaint about our service with courtesy and respect. We ask that people show courtesy and respect for our staff when making a complaint.
For example, you may be concerned that:
- we have not applied our policies fairly or
- we have not complied with the SA Public Sector Code of Ethics.
If you are unable to resolve your complaint with the officer, you can ask for a review of your complaint by the Deputy Ombudsman on telephone 08 8226 8699 (or toll free outside of the metropolitan area on 1800 182 150); firstname.lastname@example.org; or PO Box 3651, Rundle Mall SA 5000.
If your complaint is about the Deputy Ombudsman, it will be dealt with by the Ombudsman.
The Deputy Ombudsman or the Ombudsman will deal with your complaint within five working days. We will let you know if this will take longer.
There is no charge for making a complaint to Ombudsman SA. If you require further assistance to make your complaint you should contact the Deputy Ombudsman.
Note that if your complaint involves allegations of serious misconduct or maladministration on the part of the officer, we must report this to the Office for Public Integrity.
Complaints about our decisions
If you are concerned about a decision made during our investigations, reviews or audits, you should always raise your concern with the particular case officer responsible for the matter. You should give clear facts and reasons to the case officer for your concern.
Our investigations, reviews and audits also incorporate a ‘natural justice’ step in the following way:
Decision – not to investigate or continue to investigate a matter
If we are considering making a decision not to investigate or not to continue investigating your complaint under the Ombudsman Act 1972, we let you know and give you the opportunity to tell us where you think we have gone wrong before we finalise your complaint. (Ombudsman SA Operational Policies)
Decision – investigation or audit
Towards the conclusion of an investigation or an audit, the Ombudsman provides the parties with a provisional report or assessment showing our views about the matter. We give the parties the opportunity to comment on these views before the investigation or audit is completed and the report or assessment is finalised. (Ombudsman SA Operational Policies)
If at the conclusion of an investigation, you are still concerned about our decision, you can ask the Ombudsman for the case to be reviewed.
However, for us to conduct a case review, you will need to give the Ombudsman significant persuasive evidence and tell us how the decision is wrong. (Ombudsman SA Internal Review Policy)
If we agree to review our decision, the review will be assigned to an officer who was not involved in managing the original investigation. We will only review a decision once.
A review is not a reinvestigation. Rather, we look at whether the processes which the officer/s followed were fair and adequate, whether the conclusions reached were reasonable on the information available at the time and whether the conclusions were properly explained.
Determination – Freedom of Information Act 1991
Towards the conclusion of an external review under the Freedom of Information Act 1991, the Ombudsman provides the parties with a provisional determination showing our views about the review. We give the parties the opportunity to respond to these views, before the Ombudsman finalises the determination. (Ombudsman SA Freedom of Information Policy)
If parties are dissatisfied with the Ombudsman’s determination, they have a right to appeal to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) under the Freedom of Information Act 1991.