These decisions show the types of issues we deal with and what the Ombudsman expects of agencies, including recommendations for administrative improvement.

City of Charles Sturt - Acceptance of motion without notice (2016/01306)

The Ombudsman investigated whether the council’s Mayor inappropriately accepted a motion without notice contrary to the Local Government (Procedures at Meetings) Regulations 2013 , the council’s Code of Practice for Meeting Procedures and the Code of Conduct for Council Members. The Ombudsman also investigated whether the council member who proposed the motion without notice acted contrary to the Local Government (Procedures at Meetings) Regulations 2013. The Ombudsman found that the Mayor breached the Code of Practice and Code of Conduct by considering the motion in circumstances where it did not relate to a matter of urgency and thereby acted in a manner that was wrong and that appeared contrary to law. The Ombudsman did not consider that the council member acted in a manner that was unlawful, unreasonable or wrong for the purposes of the Ombudsman Act and considered that further investigation of the council member’s conduct was not necessary or justifiable. The Ombudsman recommended that the council review its Code of Practice to include a provision requiring contemporaneous documentation of a Principal Member’s decision to accept a notice without motion.

City of Victor Harbor - Breach of council member code of conduct (2015/09687)

The Ombudsman received an ICAC referral to investigate whether a council member committed misconduct in public administration by revealing information the council ordered to keep confidential to a local newspaper journalist, who printed the information. The Ombudsman found that the council member breached clause 3.3 of the Code of Conduct for Council Members and therefore committed misconduct in public administration within the meaning of section 5(3) of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012. The Ombudsman recommended that the council member be reprimanded and attend confidentiality training.

District Council of Peterborough - Conduct of internal review (2016/02992)

The Ombudsman investigated whether the council’s decision to enforce a by-law to require the complainant to remove vegetation from council land was unreasonable, the council unfairly discriminated against the complainant by requiring removal of the vegetation and the council failed to conduct an internal review in accordance with its internal review policy. While the Ombudsman did not find that the council had erred in relation to the first two issues, he found that the council was wrong in failing to provide sufficient reasons in relation to its internal review and failing to assist the complainant to effectively participate in the review. The Ombudsman recommended that the council review its internal review policy to clarify the substance and form of a section 270 review report and write to the complainant explaining the process and procedure for an internal review, explaining the reasons for the council’s decision and apologising for failing to assist the complainant to effectively participate in the review.

Adelaide City Council - Removal of tree (2015/10485)No summary available.
Rural City of Murray Bridge - Failure to take enforcement action (2015/09171)

The Ombudsman investigated on referral from ICAC allegations of maladministration against the Chief Executive Officer, Mayor and the council in relation to failure to take enforcement action against a company with a record of serial non-compliance with the Development Act 1993. While the Ombudsman did not consider that there had been any maladministration for the purposes of the ICAC Act, he considered that for the purposes of the Ombudsman Act 1972,  the council took into account irrelevant considerations in determining its approach to the non-compliance and acted in a manner that was wrong by failing to take action at an earlier stage. The Ombudsman recommended that the council review its ‘Unlawful Development Enforcement Policy’.

TAFE SA - Unreasonable warnings for behaviour (2015/05125)No summary available.

City of Victor Harbor - Breach of the Council Development Assessment Panel Code of Conduct (2015/10767)

The Ombudsman investigated a complaint as to whether a council member, in their capacity as a member of the council’s Development Assessment Panel, breached the Code of Conduct published by the Minister under section 21A of the Development Act1993.  The Ombudsman found that the council member breached clauses 2.4, 2.6, 2.8(c) and 2.10(a) of the Code of Conduct and acted in a manner that was contrary to law within the meaning of section 25(1)(a) of the Ombudsman Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the council member attend conflict of interest and Code of Conduct training.

Department for Correctional Services - Unreasonable shackling of prisoner in hospital (2015/04640)No summary available.

District Council of Mallala - Review of Chief Executive's performance (2015/09576)

The Ombudsman investigated allegations against the former Chief Executive and Mayor of the council in relation to the council’s failure to conduct a review of the Chief Executive’s performance within the six month probationary period stipulated by the Chief Executive’s contract.  The Ombudsman found that by failing to meet its obligations under the contract to organise the review within the probationary period, the council acted in a manner that was wrong. The Ombudsman did not consider that there was sufficient evidence that the former Mayor failed to act diligently and considered that further investigation of that issue was not necessary or justifiable.

City of Victor Harbor - Breach of council member code of conduct (2016/04181)No summary available.
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion - Suspension of a trainee (2015/08880)No summary available.
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure - Expiation notice (2015/02653)

The Ombudsman investigated a complaint about the department issuing an expiation notice to a woman who had boarded a train with an invalid ticket. It was found that the department had not acted in a manner that was wrong by issuing the expiation notice, but that it acted in a manner that was wrong by later refusing to withdraw the expiation notice.

Kangaroo Island Council - Investigation of complaint (2015/04218)

The Ombudsman investigated a complaint as to whether a complaint made to the council was investigated in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Council Employees and whether it was lawful for the council to make confidentiality orders under section 90(2) of the Local Government Act in relation to the complaint. The Ombudsman found that the council acted in a manner that was wrong in relation to its making of an order pursuant to section 90(3)(a) of the Local Government Act. The Ombudsman made a recommendation that the council report to it in relation to its system in respect of confidential meetings.

Corporation of the Town of Walkerville - Breach of council member code of conduct (2015/03721)No summary available.
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion - Child related employment screening applications (2015/00235)No summary available.
District Council of Mount Remarkable - Unauthorised removal of water from private property (2015/09985)

The Ombudsman investigated whether the council had authority to remove water from a dam on a farm property to complete scheduled road works. The Ombudsman found that the council obtained permission from the lessee and not the property owner and it was wrong for the council not to obtain the permission of the owner prior to entry and removal. The Ombudsman made recommendations to the council to improve its administrative process for water removal and for handling complaints.