What powers does the Ombudsman have?

The Ombudsman Act gives the Ombudsman extensive powers to investigate complaints.

The Ombudsman or, by delegation, staff of Ombudsman SA may:

  • determine the procedure to be used in an investigation
  • obtain information held by an agency
  • enter and inspect any item on the premises of an agency.

In addition to these powers to obtain information, the Ombudsman has all of the powers of a Royal Commission, and hence can summons any person to attend, to provide any document and to give evidence on oath or affirmation under the Royal Commissions Act.

A specific power under the Ombudsman Act allows the Ombudsman, in certain circumstances, to direct an agency to refrain from performing an action for up to 45 days to allow the Ombudsman to undertake an investigation.

Upon completion of an investigation, the Ombudsman can make recommendations for remedial action; and if those recommendations are not complied with by the agency, he can report this to the Premier and the Parliament.

The Ombudsman can publish a report of an investigation.  This may include a release of a report to the media or publication to the complainant or any other party, if the Ombudsman considers this to be in the public interest. A published report can include the names of the people involved.