Ombudsman's role

The Ombudsman's role

The ACT Ombudsman's role is to resolve complaints and monitor the actions of government agencies and the police under the Ombudsman Act 1989 and other legislation. In addition to complaint handling, the Ombudsman performs other specialist functions for the ACT in relation to freedom of information, reportable conduct and the monitoring of police use of covert powers.

The strategic vision for the Ombudsman's Office (the Office) is:

  • to provide assurance that the government entities and prescribed private sector organisations that the office oversights act with integrity and treat people fairly
  • to influence enduring systemic improvement in public administration in the ACT.


The Ombudsman can deal with most complaints involving the administrative actions of agencies and police, including requests made to them under the Freedom of Information Act 2016 (the FOI Act) and the whistleblower disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012.

The Ombudsman can investigate any complaint, however initially the Office encourages people to work through their concerns with agencies or police. The Office does this by working with agencies and police to ensure they provide accessible and effective complaint-handling processes to the public. See Resolving the issue yourself for more information.

When the Ombudsman does investigate, it is done independently and impartially. The aim in all cases is to resolve complaint disputes fairly and to help agencies improve their services.

Specialist functions

Freedom of Information

The Ombudsman has a range of significant functions under the FOI Act. These include reviewing decisions, granting extensions of time and monitoring the operation of that Act. For more information please see our Freedom of Information page.

Reportable Conduct

The Ombudsman is responsible for administering the ACT's reportable conduct scheme which oversees how organisations prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse and misconduct. For more information visit our Reportable Conduct Scheme pages.

Monitoring of police use of covert powers

The Ombudsman also monitors police use of covert powers through inspections conducted under the Crimes (Controlled Operations) Act 2008, the Crimes (Assumed Identities) Act 2009 and the Crimes (Surveillance Devices) Act 2010Please see Our inspections role page for more information.

History of the Ombudsman role in Australia

To find out more about the history of the Ombudsman role in Australia, see the History of the Commonwealth Ombudsman page on their website.