How to make a complaint

Before making a complaint

Before making a complaint to the ACT Ombudsman, we ask you to try and resolve the issue with the agency directly (by contacting the agency’s complaint-handling area). There are two main reasons why this is important:

  1. it lets the agency know that you are not happy
  2. agencies can sometimes fix problems quickly.  Our investigations can take time.

If you make a formal complaint to an agency, the agency should give you a written or verbal response and/or a complaint reference number.

Click here for tips that may help you to resolve your complaint with the agency directly.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the agency about your complaint, click here to lodge a complaint with the ACT Ombudsman. If you need help, check our factsheet: How to make an effective complaint.

When you lodge a complaint with us, it is helpful if you tell us about the agency’s response to the issue you’ve raised. We will consider the agency’s response as part of our assessment of your complaint.

Make a complaint

You can make a complaint using our online complaint form or call us on 02 5117 3650.

To complain to the ACT Integrity Commission (the Commission), use the Inspector Complaint Form.

When lodging a complaint with us, we suggest you keep it simple and stick to the facts. Be as specific as you can about dates, names and other important details. Make sure you include:

  • a description of your issue, incident or decision
  • dates of events and contact with the agency
  • who was involved, including witnesses
  • details of telephone conversations or meetings
  • reference numbers you received when dealing with the agency
  • evidence such as photographs or records
  • steps you have already taken to sort out the problem
  • what outcome you would like to see as a result of your complaint.

What we cannot help you with

The ACT Ombudsman cannot investigate complaints about:

  • ACT Government ministers or politicians
  • private individuals
  • environmental issues
  • decisions of courts and tribunals
  • public service employment
  • disability services
  • health services
  • services for children and young people
  • services for older people.

For advice on who in the ACT can help you with these matters see Who else can help.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint. If you do not want to make the complaint yourself, you can ask a relative, friend, advocate, solicitor or welfare worker to complain on your behalf. In some situations you may need to give your consent.

The ACT Ombudsman also accepts anonymous complaints. Our decision to investigate will depend on the seriousness of the matter and the level of information provided. Call us on 02 5117 3650 to find out more information about making an anonymous complaint.

How to get help with making a complaint

If you need support to make a complaint, please call us on 02 5117 3650. We will do our best to help you.

We also have a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander  number 1800 060 789, or you can use our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language interpreter service .

If you are a non-English speaking person and need the support of a translator, we can organise a translating service which is free and confidential. Please call the  Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450.

We also have information in many community languages in our brochures.

If you are hearing, sight or speech impaired please use the National Relay Service:

  • the speak and listen number is 1300 555 727
  • for TTY call 133 677

Phone calls to the ACT Ombudsman from the Alexander Maconochie Centre are free.

What to expect from us

When you make a complaint to the ACT Ombudsman's Office, you can expect:

  • professional and courteous attention
  • independent and impartial assessment of your complaint and advice about your options
  • confidential, prompt and free investigation, if appropriate, in a manner that is fair to all concerned
  • clear explanations about what we can and cannot do and why
  • clear explanations for decisions we make
  • to be kept informed of our progress.

In providing our complaints service, we:

  • will make it easy to complain to us
  • decide whether we can or should investigate a complaint
  • seek appropriate solutions to a complaint when we investigate
  • deal with complaints in a fair and effective way
  • promote improved administration by ACT Government agencies.

Our values

We are committed to high standards when delivering our services. Our values include:

  • independence
  • impartiality
  • integrity
  • accessibility
  • professionalism.