In addition to the activities Ombudsman South Australia is obliged to report on, we have also included our operational policies, and selected public presentations and FOI determinations which you may find useful in understanding the scope of the Ombudsman’s work and responsibilities.
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July 2019: Department for Innovation and Skills
The applicant sought access to a copy of Mr Nicholas Handley’s curriculum vitae held by Department of Industry and Skills as it was then named (the agency). The agency refused access to the curriculum vitae pursuant to clause 1(1) and clause 6(1) of Schedule 1 of the FOI Act. On external review, the agency submitted to the Ombudsman that it considered the curriculum vitae was a part of, or extract from, a Cabinet submission (clause 1(1)(c)), that it disclosed the deliberation of Cabinet (Clause 1(1)(e)) and that its disclosure would unreasonably disclose the personal affairs of Mr Handley (clause 6(1)).
The Ombudsman varied the determination to give partial access to the document. The Ombudsman noted that a document attached to a Cabinet submission does not attract exemption under clause 1(1) merely because it is attached. The Ombudsman was not satisfied that any part of clause 1(1) applied to the document.
The Ombudsman identified that some content found within the curriculum vitae had also been placed in the public domain by Mr Handley. The Ombudsman was satisfied that the curriculum vitae did contain information concerning Mr Handley’s personal affairs and that its disclosure would be unreasonable, with the exception of content that is also in the public domain.
The Ombudsman also considered that disclosure of the curriculum vitae would found an action for breach of confidence, but that content already found in the public domain did not contain that quality of confidentiality. The Ombudsman therefore considered that the curriculum vitae was also partially exempt pursuant to clause 13(1)(a).
The Ombudsman concluded that the portions of the curriculum vitae which could be found in the public domain must be disclosed, but confirmed that the remainder of the document was exempt.
July 2019: Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure – Conduct of an FOI external review
The Ombudsman considered, of his own initiative under the Ombudsman Act, issues that came to his attention in the course of an external review concerning the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (the agency) conducted under the Freedom of Information Act 1991.
The Ombudsman considered that the agency’s omission to supply the materials requested by the Ombudsman’s office for a period of approximately seven months contravened section 39(7) of the Freedom of Information Act 1991 in the course of an external review and, accordingly the agency acted in apparent contravention of the law for the purposes of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act.
The Ombudsman recommended:
- That the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure take such action as is necessary to ensure that applications received by the department under the FOI Act, including associated review processes, are dealt with in a prompt and efficient manner.
- That the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure report to the Ombudsman by 28 February 2020, in respect of the following matters (as relating to the intervening period):
- the number and total percentage of applications for access under the FOI Act dealt with by the department within 30 days
- the number and total percentage of applications for access under the FOI Act received by the department in respect of which the principal officer of the department extended the period within which the application was to be dealt with, identifying in each case the period of the extension and whether the department proceeded to deal with the application during that period
- the number and total percentage of requests for internal review under the FOI Act dealt with by the department within 14 days.
July 2019: Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure – Determination of an FOI internal review and expenditure
The Ombudsman investigated, upon referral by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, whether:
- The former Chief Executive of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (the agency) committed misconduct by determining an internal review under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 in respect of a request for information concerning his own meals, entertainment and purchase card expenditure
- Whether the agency’s practice of funding the purchase of meals, drinks and entertainment by the former Chief Executive amounted to maladministration
- Whether the former Chief Executive committed misconduct and/or maladministration by making inappropriate use of public funds to purchase meals, drinks and entertainment
- Whether the agency’s Chief Corporate Officer committed misconduct and/or maladministration by approving inappropriate purchase card transactions incurred by the former Chief Executive.
In relation to the first issue, the Ombudsman considered that, while there were some mitigating circumstances, he was satisfied that the former Chief Executive Officer’s conduct amounted to a contravention of the requirements in the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector to avoid actual or potential conflicts of interest and to be diligent in the discharge of his roles and duties. Accordingly, the Ombudsman was satisfied that the former Chief Executive Officer committed misconduct. The Ombudsman also considered that the former Chief Executive Officer’s breach of the professional conduct standards amounted to a breach of the Public Sector Act and was accordingly contrary to law for the purposes of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act.
In relation to the second issue, the Ombudsman considered that the agency’s practice of funding purchase of meals, drinks and entertainment by the former Chief Executive Officer resulted in the substantial mismanagement of public resources, insofar as it:
- was done in the absence of sufficient justification for the expenditure incurred
- involved transactions which in many cases appear of dubious public value and in excess of reasonable community expectations
- involved the purchase and consumption of significant quantities of alcohol, absent sufficient or any rationale
- lacked necessary supporting documentation
- was not subject to sufficient controls at the policy level.
Accordingly, the Ombudsman considered that the agency’s practice amounted to maladministration.
In relation to the third issue, the Ombudsman considered that, in light of his views on the second issue, it was not necessary to further consider the former Chief Executive’s conduct under the ICAC Act. The Ombudsman’s opinion was, however, that the former Chief Executive’s use of the purchase card to incur the expenditure was wrong within the meaning of section 25(1)(g) of the Ombudsman Act.
In relation to the fourth issue, the Ombudsman’s view was that (despite some genuine concerns), having regard to:
- the nature of the Chief Corporate Officer’s responsibilities in respect of the purchase card
- her subordinacy to the former Chief Executive within the organisation
- the overall deficiencies of the agency’s policy framework
a conclusion of misconduct or maladministration was not warranted in relation to the Chief Corporate Officer.
The Ombudsman did, consider, however, that the Chief Corporate Officer’s approval of purchase card transactions was wrong within the meaning of section 25(1)(g) of the Ombudsman Act.
The Ombudsman recommended in relation to the agency:
- To the extent that this has not already occurred, that the FOI Policy be adequately amended so as to address the potential for a conflict of interest on the part of accredited FOI officers.
- To the extent that this has not already occurred, that a suitable policy be developed and implemented in respect of the identification and management of conflicts of interest on the part of departmental officers.
- That suitable polic(ies) be developed and implemented in respect of:
- the provision of catering and other forms of official hospitality through use of departmental funds
- out of hours meetings
- the purchase of alcohol through use of departmental funds.
- That the Purchase Card Policy and other relevant policies be revised so as to expressly require that transactions be reasonable and publicly defensible, and to emphasise that it is the responsibility of both cardholders and card supervisors to ensure that all transactions meet this criteria.
The Ombudsman also recommended that a suitable whole-of-government policy be developed and implemented in respect of the procurement (including by way of use of government-issued purchase cards) of meals, drinks (including alcohol) and other forms of entertainment through use of public funds.
June 2019: Kangaroo Island Council
Mr Andrew Boardman
Former Mayor Peter Clements
The Ombudsman investigated upon referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption various issues including the conduct of Mr Andrew Boardman, the former Chief Executive Office of the Kangaroo Island Council (the council), taking Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) and being paid for additional hours worked, which was approved by former Mayor Peter Clements. The Ombudsman’s view was that the provision of TOIL both as leave and in payment was not envisaged or authorised by Mr Boardman’s Employment Agreement (EA)(which clearly prohibited remuneration for overtime) or by a motion of the council which was relied on by Mr Boardman and former Mayor Clements as authorising the TOIL. While the Ombudsman did not consider that either Mr Boardman or former Mayor Clements acted dishonestly, he considered that both officers committed maladministration, misconduct and appeared to have acted contrary to law within the meaning of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act.
The Ombudsman also expressed the view that the council was wrong in the way in which it conducted Mr Boardman’s performance reviews.
The Ombudsman considered Mr Boardman’s use of council resources for interstate flights, use of the council’s workshop and mechanic, and authorisation of council funds to pay for airport security and landscaping at the Kangaroo Island Airport and did not consider that there was any misconduct or maladministration in relation to those issues.
The Ombudsman recommended that the council:
- consider taking steps to require Mr Boardman to pay back any cash payments not made in accordance with his EA
- review the approval process for the Chief Executive Officer’s leave so that it is transparent and the leave is regularly reported to council
- ensure the council’s Chief Executive Officer maintains a current EA which incorporates any or all amendments agreed to by the council.
April 2019: Department for Child Protection – Wrongful failure to share information concerning the care and protection of two deceased children
The Ombudsman received a complaint from the grandfather of two children which alleged that Families SA (now the Department for Child Protection) had failed to communicate with him and his partner in respect of concerns it received about the care and protection of his late grandchildren. The children and their mother had been murdered by the mother’s domestic partner in May 2016.
The Ombudsman investigated and determined that prior to the tragedy the agency had received a succession of notifications which raised concerns about the mother’s household. The Ombudsman observed that the agency had neglected or ignored several opportunities to meaningfully assess the risk to which the deceased children were exposed; that information held by the agency suggested that the children were at serious risk of harm while they remained in the care of the mother and that the family’s situation was steadily deteriorating; and that the agency could reasonably have concluded that, absent a meaningful child protection response, further intervention by the complainant and his partner offered the best prospects for protecting the children. The Ombudsman criticised the agency’s approach to the question of information-sharing, which the Ombudsman observed prioritised considerations of privacy and confidentiality over the safety and wellbeing of the children. The Ombudsman concluded that the agency’s failure to share information with the complainant and his partner was wrong for the purposes of the Ombudsman Act. Among other things, the Ombudsman recommended that South Australia’s Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing be incorporated into law.
March 2019: Department for Health and Wellbeing – Public officer engaged in covert recording of colleague’s telephone conversations – Misconduct in public administration
Upon referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption the Ombudsman investigated whether a public officer committed misconduct in public administration by recording telephone conversations of a colleague without their consent and whether the public officer’s manager (who is also a public officer) committed misconduct in public administration by engaging the public officer to make the recordings. The investigation substantiated the allegations and concluded that both public officers breached the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector and had thereby committed misconduct in public administration for the purposes of section 5(3)(a) of the ICAC Act. Their misconduct was reported to the Chief Executive of the Department as required by section 18(5) of the Ombudsman Act.
April 2019: City of Victor Harbor – Breach of council member code of conduct – Cr Peter Charles
The Ombudsman investigated whether Cr Peter Charles had a conflict of interest in relation to the council’s consideration of a Final Report of an earlier Ombudsman investigation into a complaint against Cr Charles. The Final Report of the earlier investigation was considered at a council meeting on 23 July 2018. At the meeting three motions were moved to receive the Final Report, note my findings that Cr Charles had breached the code of conduct and the recommendation that Cr Charles offer a public apology for sharing incorrect information to the general public. The three motions were carried. The official recording of the council meeting indicates that Cr Charles did not declare that he had a conflict of interest and voted against each motion.
The Ombudsman determined that Cr Charles had both an actual and perceived conflict of interest in relation to each of the motions and that he did not deal with the conflict in a transparent and accountable way. The Ombudsman recommended that the council reprimand Cr Charles and that Cr Charles issue a public apology to the council.
May 2019: Department for Correctional Services – Restraint of prisoner during hospitalisation – Compliance with Standard Operating Procedures in relation to checking of restraints
The complainant was a prisoner of Yatala Labour Prison when he made a complaint to the Ombudsman about the level of restraint he received whilst a patient at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) in January 2018. Upon investigation, there were two issues arising from the Department for Correctional Service’s (the department’s) handling of a prisoner who was hospitalised following his arrest by South Australian Police (SAPOL). The first was whether it was reasonable of the department to restrain the complainant with a two point restraint whilst in hospital given he was recovering from surgery and therefore had limited mobility, had a 24 hour guard outside the door and that he was the subject of an Inpatient Treatment Order (ITO) under the Mental Health Act 2009. The department disputed the Ombudsman’s categorisation of the complainants mobility and stated that the complainant was restrained as per the restraint regime outlined in its SOP, which was reduced from a three point restraint to a two point restraint after 24 hours of the department’s custody. The Ombudsman found that there was no evidence that the department took the complainant’s individual circumstances into account and that being restrained with a two point restraint for 28 days was excessive in the circumstances and that the restraint regime should have changed in accordance with the complainant’s mobility. The department therefore acted in a manner that was unreasonable within the meaning of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act 1972 (SA). The second issue examined was whether the use of restraints were regularly reviewed in compliance with the department’s SOP’s. The department provided my investigation with a summary of restraint checks which showed that restraints were checked in excess of 24 hours and therefore not compliant with the department’s SOP. The Ombudsman therefore found that the department acted in a manner that was wrong within the meaning of section 25(1)(g) of the Ombudsman Act by failing to comply with its SOP 013. The Ombudsman made the following recommendations: (1) to remind staff about the relevant SOPs involving restraint regimes for hospital watches and that individual circumstances need to be taken into account and a default regime is not to be applied automatically, and (2) provide a letter of apology to my Office to the complainant for the excessive use of restraints while in departmental custody during his hospitalisation which was forwarded to the complainant.
The Ombudsman considered whether the council committed maladministration in public administration in relation to procurement of 21 vehicles upon referral by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption. While the Ombudsman considered that there were some failures to comply with the council’s procurement policies, he was not satisfied that those failures amounted to substantial mismanagement of public resources. The Ombudsman noted that his view would have been different, however, if the council had regularly failed to properly test the market.
The Ombudsman investigated on his own initiative whether the council acted in a manner that was wrong or contrary to law by failing to have appropriate procurement policies and comply with those policies. The Ombudsman’s view was that the council’s failure to have a policy which complied with the requirements of section 49(2)(c) of the Local Government Act was contrary to law and the council’s failures to comply with the policy were wrong. The Ombudsman recommended that the council:
1. amend its procurement policy to clearly require that reasons must be recorded for entering into any contracts other than those resulting from a tender process
2. develop a template for recording reasons as required by section 49(2)(c) of the Local Government Act
3. amend the policy to clarify whether the relevant threshold is determined by gross or net purchase price
4. remind all council officers of their obligations under the policy, including the need to have regard to the procurement principles in the policy.
The Ombudsman investigated on his own initiative whether the council failed to maintain records as required by the State Records Act. The Ombudsman’s view was that the council’s failure to maintain certain official records was contrary to the State Records Act. That said, the Ombudsman commended the council on the steps it has taken to improve its record-keeping processes which appears to have involved extensive consultation with State Records. In light of that, the Ombudsman did not consider it necessary to make any recommendations in relation to this issue, but reported the matter to State Records.
February 2019: District Council of Coober Pedy – Incorrect classification of property
The Ombudsman received a referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption concerning potential maladministration in public administration by the council in relation to: incorrectly applying differing ratings and/or sewerage rate to properties, failing to comply with the provisions of the Development Act 1993, approving a grant of $80,000 to the Coober Pedy Miners Association, and approving expenditure of $20,000 for an opal symposium.
The Ombudsman considered whether the council’s application of its differential rate constituted a practice that resulted in substantial mismanagement of public resources but found that the council did not appear to have erred by incorrectly applying differential rating to businesses in the council area. There were two individual errors which the council has now corrected.
The Ombudsman considered whether the council appears to have erred by incorrectly or inappropriately applied its sewerage rate. The council provided reasonable responses to the alleged inconsistencies identified by the complainant and no systemic issues of incorrect application was found.
The complainant alleged that the council’s resolution of 16 May 2017, that that buildings used for short term accommodation for travellers are not deemed to be development therefore an application for Development Approval is not required, is wrong at law. The Ombudsman considered the Development Act 1993(SA) and the definition of a motel discussed in the case of Pohl & Ors v Adelaide Hills Council & Anor (No 1)  SAERDC 44. The Ombudsman concluded that a bed and breakfast which accommodates six or more travellers meets the definition of a ‘motel’ under the Development Regulations 2008 (SA). The Ombudsman found that the council did not commit maladministration in public administration but that because it had been incorrectly applying the Development Act it acted in a manner that was contrary to law within the meaning of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act.
The Ombudsman considered whether the council spent funds on attending an opal symposium but the Ombudsman concluded there was no evidence that the council had and therefore further investigation of this issue was considered unnecessary and unjustifiable within the meaning of section 17(2)(d) of the Ombudsman Act.
Recommendations were made under section 25(2) of the Ombudsman Act to remedy the errors, firstly, that the council reclassify four properties as Commercial and secondly, that it resolve to require Change of Use applications and issue Development Plan consents to bed and breakfast facilities that accommodate six or more travellers.
January 2019: Port Pirie Regional Council – Misconduct in public administration
The Ombudsman received a referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption concerning the conduct of former councillor, Mr Darryl Johnson.
The referral concerned an allegation that Mr Johnson had failed to declare a conflict of interest in relation to two matters that were deliberated by the council at its Ordinary Meeting on 25 October 2017.
The alleged conflict of interest in both matters arose from Mr Johnson’s connection with Johnson Home Improvements Pty Ltd (JHI Pty Ltd). Mr Johnson is related to the owner of JHI Pty Ltd and he was also an employee of the business at that time.
Tender for Crystal Brook Library Renovations
The first matter concerned the tender for renovations of Crystal Brook library. It was alleged that the preferred tenderer for the renovations of Crystal Brook Library had listed JHI Pty Ltd as a proposed subcontractor. Mr Johnson did not declare a conflict of interest in relation to this matter. He participated in the discussions concerning a motion to hear the matter in confidence, and subsequent deliberations of the matter.
The Ombudsman concluded that Mr Johnson did not hold a material, actual, or perceived conflict of interest in relation to the council’s motion to discuss the matter in confidence, or the council’s subsequent deliberations of the matter. The Ombudsman considered that the evidence collected from the investigation did not suggest that Mr Johnson was aware that JHI Pty Ltd was listed as a proposed subcontractor for the preferred tenderer. In relation to the first matter, the Ombudsman concluded that Mr Johnson did not commit misconduct in public administration.
Waste Disposal Fees and Charges
The second matter concerned the council’s consideration of a previous decision of the council to amend the waste disposal fees and charges at the Port Pirie Waste Transfer Station. The previous decision of the council that was considered at the meeting created a new minimum charge for commercial users of the Waster Transfer Station. JHI Pty Ltd was one of the businesses that would be financially impacted by the council’s decision. Mr Johnson did not declare a conflict of interest in relation to this matter. He participated in debate when the issue was discussed at the meeting and subsequently moved a motion to reverse the change in waste disposal fees and charges.
The Ombudsman concluded that Mr Johnson had a material conflict of interest in relation to the second matter. Mr Johnson did not declare the material conflict of interest, nor did he leave the chamber while the council discussed the matter. The Ombudsman concluded that Mr Johnson had committed misconduct in public administration. The Ombudsman also concluded that Mr Johnson had acted in a manner that was contrary to law.
As Mr Johnson did not seek re-election at the local government elections in November 2018, the Ombudsman made no recommendations.
December 2018: Public Trustee – Misconduct and maladministration
The Ombudsman received a referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption concerning potential misconduct and maladministration in public administration by a Personal Estates Officer of Public Trustee (the agency) in managing the estate of a vulnerable client. The referral also concerned the practices of the agency when overseeing the management of the estate and addressing issues that were subsequently identified with the client’s file.
It was alleged that the Personal Estates Officer failed to obtain Age Pension benefits on behalf of the client when the client became eligible to receive them and that due to a failure by the Personal Estates Officer to submit relevant information to Centrelink, the client paid higher aged care fees than required; both resulting in significant losses to the estate. It was alleged that the agency failed to properly oversee the management of the client’s estate and that subsequent to the client’s death, the agency then failed to properly address the issues identified with the management of the estate.
In relation to the Personal Estates Officer, the Ombudsman was satisfied that it was clearly the role of the Personal Estates Officer to both obtain Age Pension entitlements on behalf of the client and provide the client’s information to Centrelink so that aged care fees could be properly determined. It was evident that the Personal Estates Officers had been prompted to do so on separate occasions and there was no evidence to support that the Personal Estates Officer had fulfilled these duties.
In relation to the Personal Estates Officer, the Ombudsman concluded that both failures amounted to:
- substantial mismanagement in or in relation to the performance of official functions and therefore maladministration in public administration
- conduct that was sufficiently serious enough to amount to a contravention of the requirements of the Public Sector Code of Ethics and therefore misconduct in public administration, as well as contrary to law for the purposes of the Ombudsman Act.
In relation to the agency, the Ombudsman was satisfied that there was insufficient oversight of the management of the client’s estate. Subsequent to the client’s death the agency reviewed the client’s file and ultimately reimbursed the estate approximately $79,000 in relation to the Aged Pension benefits owed to the client. However, the Ombudsman identified issues in the agency’s handling of the review of the client’s file and identified that the agency had failed to calculate or reimburse the potential overpayments made by the client in relation to aged care fees.
In relation to the agency, the Ombudsman concluded that both failures amounted to the agency acting in a manner that was wrong within the meaning of the Ombudsman Act.
January 2019: Town of Gawler – Alleged misconduct in public administration – Cr Jim Vallelonga
The Ombudsman received a referral from the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption concerning an alleged breach of Part 3 of the Code of Conduct for Council Members by Cr Jim Vallelonga.
On 26 September 2017 a confidential report was tabled at a meeting of the council. The report concerned the divestment and sale of council-owned portions of land on Krieg Road, Evanston Park. The report included the recommended reserve price for Allotment 500 Krieg Road, Evanston Park.
Cr Vallelonga received a copy of the report, but later declared a perceived conflict of interest in relation to the relevant agenda item. He did not participate in the council’s discussion of the matter at the council meeting.
An auction of Allotment 500 Krieg Road, Evanston Park was held on 11 May 2018. Cr Vallelonga attended the auction and placed two bids on Allotment 500 during the auction. His bids were not successful.
It was alleged that Cr Vallelonga had utilised information contained within the confidential report, namely, the reserve price of Allotment 500 Krieg Road, Evanston Park when he placed two bids at the auction. It was alleged that this was a breach of clauses 3.1, 3.15 or 3.16 of the
Code of Conduct for Council Members.
The Ombudsman conducted a preliminary investigation of the above allegation. The Ombudsman considered that he was not satisfied that the information available suggested that Cr Vallelonga had breached clauses 3.1, 3.15 or 3.16 of the Code of Conduct for Council Members. The Ombudsman considered that continuing to investigate this issue was unnecessary or unjustifiable.
However, the Ombudsman considered that it was ill-advised for an elected member to bid on property owned by the council, in circumstances where the elected member is privy to information about that property by virtue of their position as an elected member.
January 2019: Department for Child Protection – Failure to provide procedural fairness in respect of decision to suspend family contact
The Ombudsman received a complaint regarding a determination of the Department for Child Protection to suspend contact between a child and members of his biological extended family for a period of approximately seven months. The department’s decision was said to be based on recommendations from a psychological assessment of the child that had been commissioned by the department.
The Ombudsman conducted an investigation and came to the view that the department’s determination to suspend contact was unjust for want of procedural fairness. In this regard, the Ombudsman observed that the department did not appear to have provided the complainant with a meaningful opportunity to present her views against the department suspending the contact arrangements prior to the determination being made. The Ombudsman made various recommendations to the department, including that it revise its Practice Guidelines to better recognise the requirement to observe the principles of procedural fairness in the making of decisions relating to contact arrangements. The department accepted the Ombudsman’s conclusions.
January 2019: Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
The applicant sought access to documents about the proposed right hand tram turn at the corner of King William Street and North Terrace. Following the agency’s belated determination giving access to some documents and parts of documents, the applicant was only aggrieved by the agency’s refusal to release one document. The agency claimed that document was wholly exempt as a document affecting personal affairs (clause 6(1)) and an internal working document (clause 9(1)). The Ombudsman also considered whether document was exempt as a document affecting business affairs (clause 7(1)(c)) given an interested party’s earlier objections to disclosure. The Ombudsman was not satisfied that the document contained information concerning anyone’s personal affairs. In reaching this conclusion, he had regard to the document’s contents and context in which employees’ names, email addresses and telephone numbers appeared, noting that they all formed part of correspondence created in connection with the performance of the employees’ employment duties. Additionally, the Ombudsman was not satisfied that disclosure of the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest, could reasonably have an adverse effect on the business affairs of any party, or would prejudice the future supply of information to the Government or an agency. In so doing, the Ombudsman considered the obligations on public sector employees, as well as businesses’ financial interests in dealing with the government and agencies. The Ombudsman reversed the agency’s determination with respect to the document under review.