Seeking information

Accessing information

We are committed to your right to access Government information

Every person has a right to access government information in the ACT.  This means our agency pro-actively releases government information. There are also a number of ways you can request access to information that we have not published. Below we explain what sort of information our agency holds, what we already publish and how you can access other information.

This ACT Ombudsman brochure also explains how you can access Government information in the ACT.

Information held by the Ombudsman's office

As an independent oversight agency responsible for resolving complaints from individuals who have been unable to resolve problems with ACT Government agencies, we hold information related to this functions including:

  1. Complaints and investigations information—including related:
    • correspondence
    • background material and advice
    • records of conversations and consultations
    • analysis and reports.
  2. Information outlining how our Office implements our functions—including information outlining:
    • our administrative processes/procedures
    • development and/or implementation of new policies and/or legislation.
  3. Information relating to the management of our Office—including information about:
    • staffing arrangements
    • contracting and financial management
    • asset management.

What information is already published

We make a range of information available for public access on our website. We recommend you search our website first to see if you can find what you are looking for.

This includes information we are required to publish under the ACT Open Access Information Scheme, such as:

Information people often look for on our website includes:

Requests for information

If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can contact us to ask if you can have the information.

We have listed below some categories of information where this is the best way to fast-track your request, and the process for requesting the information.

Information requested

Process

Correspondence between yourself and our Office

Use our online enquiry form

Records of contact between yourself and our Office

Other documents where we are satisfied that you would already have seen the information (for example, copies of correspondence between yourself and an ACT agency that you have complained about.

Where the information you are looking for is not listed above, you can still contact us to request this information informally using our online enquiry form. Most requests for information, or copies of documents, can be dealt with informally and quickly—a phone call or email may be all that is required.

Note: If you are applying for copies of personal information, evidence of identity must be provided.

Lodging a formal access application under the ACT Freedom of Information Act 2016

If you have spoken to us and still can’t find what you are after, you can make a formal access application directly to our agency under the FOI Act. Your request must include:

  • enough detail to enable us to identify what information you are looking for
  • an email or postal address via which we can contact you
  • evidence of your identity (if you are seeking your personal information)
  • authority for an agent to act for you (if you have engaged a lawyer or other third party to represent you).

We are generally required to process your request within 20 working days. To ensure timely processing, please provide as much information as you can regarding the information you are looking for.

You can send your written request to ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au or by post to:Information Officer

ACT Ombudsman

GPO Box 442

Canberra ACT 2601

Processing of your application

We will tell you within 10 working days that we have received your request and the date it was received. We will also give you an estimate of any charges that apply to your request.

We will give you our decision within 20 working days from the date your application was received, unless that time has been extended.

  • If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 15 working days.
  • We may also seek your agreement to extend the time if your request is complex.

Will I have to pay?

There is no application fee for an FOI request. There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you.

Processing charges may apply to requests outside of your personal information. We will tell you if this is the case. Where this occurs, you can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.

Seeking an amendment to personal information

If you believe our agency holds information about you that is incomplete, incorrect or out of date, under the FOI Act, you can also seek to have this information amended.

You can send a written request for amendment to ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au or by post to:

Information Officer

ACT Ombudsman

GPO Box 442

Canberra ACT 2601

Your request must:

  • include enough detail so we can identify the information to be amended
  • state how it is incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading
  • state the amendments considered necessary
  • include an email or postal address via which we can contact you.

We will process your request within 20 working days. If we are going to refuse your request, we will contact you and give you the opportunity to comment and/or provide further information before we do.

ACT Ombudsman review and complaints investigations

When we have made a decision about your access application or a request to amend your personal information, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights. If you are not satisfied with our decision, you can ask us to review it. Such reviews are conducted by a separate area within our Office, so that they are independent of our original decision. For more information see the Freedom of Information section of this website.