Tell us what has happened

We receive your complaint and acknowledge it within three business days.

We look into your complaint

Many complaints can be fixed by us contacting the relevant organisation.

We may look into your complaint further

We'll see if we can resolve your complaint and if not whether we should investigate.

You receive an outcome

We reach a decision and contact you about the outcome.

How we handle complaints


We assess all complaints to determine whether to investigate. We may contact you for more details and to clarify issues. If the Ombudsman does not intend to take further action on your complaint, we let you know why and give you the opportunity to comment.

Notification to the agency

We invite the agency to respond to the complaint. We then review the agency’s response and consider whether to take further action.

Early resolution

We may try to resolve the matter with the agency’s cooperation, whether formally or informally.


If there is no early resolution, and a matter meets our criteria for investigation, we formally investigate the matter. While we have broad investigation powers, investigations may involve:

  • seeking a written response from the agency
  • assessing documents
  • interviewing witnesses.

Provisional view

The Ombudsman forms a provisional view about whether there has been error by the agency. We give parties who may be affected by the provisional view a chance to comment (i.e. procedural fairness) before forming a final view.

Final view and recommendation

If the Ombudsman considers that the agency has made an error, we make recommendations to address the error, and we notify the relevant Minister.

Reports to other authorities

We may have to report matters raised in your complaint to another authority.

If the information gives us a reasonable suspicion of corruption in public administration, we must refer it to the Office for Public Integrity

We are also required to make reports under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018.

Next page: Other complaint handling authorities