Complaints we handle

We handle complaints about NSW government agencies, local councils, as well as some community services for children, young people and families. Please click on the below topics for more information.

There are some services we cannot help you with (Centrelink, banks and legal services). See Complaints others handle for information other Ombudsman or agencies can assist with.

Types of complaints we handle

The types of complaints we handle can include, but not limited to:

  • dishonest, unfair or unreasonable behaviour
  • lack of transparency with a decision
  • unfair or flawed policies or procedures
  • unreasonable delays
  • failure to act on complaints
  • failure to reply to correspondence
  • failure to manage conflicts of interest.

NSW Government agencies

We can handle complaints about most NSW government agencies, including:

  • NSW Department of Education (including TAFE and public schools)
  • NSW Fair Trading
  • NSW hospitals and health administration (but not of individual clinical treatment)
  • NSW Land and Housing Corporation
  • NSW Trustee and Guardian
  • Revenue NSW
  • Service NSW (Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages)
  • NSW Department of Commmunites & Justice housing
  • State-owned corporations
  • Statutory bodies (including arts institutions)
  • Transport for NSW

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint.

Local councils

We can handle most complaints about local councils in NSW.

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint.

However, we cannot handle complaints about decisions of local councils that involve:

  • adopting particular policies
  • allocating resources
  • compensation
  • setting rates
  • the merits of development applications.

We also cannot amend or revoke development consents.

These resources may help you when dealing with councils:

For complaints about the general administrative conduct of councils, councillors and council staff, contact the Office of Local Government.

For complaints about alleged corrupt conduct of councillors or council staff, contact the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Children, young people and family services

We can handle complaints about NSW community services run or funded by the government. This includes:

  • Child protection and family support services
  • Early intervention services
  • Leaving care or after care
  • Neighbourhood and community centres
  • NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
  • Out-of-home care, including foster care, kinship care and intensive therapeutic care (ITC)

Read more about complaints about community services.

We cannot handle complaints about child support. Contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Custodial services

We can handle complaints about:

  • Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network
  • NSW Corrective Services
  • Private correctional centres ( Junee, Parklea and Clarence)
  • Youth Justice NSW

Find out how to make a complaint about custodial services.

Homelessness services

We can handle complaints about homelessness services run or funded by the NSW Government:

  • homelessness services for young people and adults
  • refuges for women, children, men and families
  • youth crisis accommodation

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint.

Public interest disclosures (whistleblowing)

If you work for the government (including local government), you can report serious wrongdoing in your workplace. These types of complaints are called public interest disclosures and include:

  • corrupt conduct (fraud, dishonesty or misuse of information)
  • serious maladministration (unreasonable, unjust or discriminatory conduct)
  • serious and substantial waste of public money.

You can report serious wrongdoing to the person responsible for dealing with public interest disclosures in your agency.

Read more about making a public interest disclosure (whistleblowing).

Services for people with disability

People with a disability receiving services from NSW government agencies can complain to us about those agencies.

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint. We also provide additional support for people with a disability to make a complaint, we can help you.

We cannot handle complaints about NDIS providers (registered or unregistered). Contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Services for Aboriginal people

We handle complaints about agencies that provide services to Aboriginal communities, such as:

  • Aboriginal Housing Office
  • Office of the Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ORALRA)
  • Aboriginal Land Councils – local Aboriginal land councils and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • Aboriginal initiatives under OCHRE such as:
    • Language Nests
    • Opportunity Hubs
    • Local Decision Making
    • Connected Communities Schools

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint.

Schools and universities

We can handle complaints about:

  • NSW Department of Education
  • NSW public schools
  • NSW public universities

For a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, see How to make a complaint.

We cannot handle complaints about:

  • private schools
  • private universities (Australian Catholic University and University of Notre Dame)
  • universities based in other states or countries

Contact the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

If you need help

If you are finding it hard to know who you should complain to, we can help you.

We also support people with disability and Aboriginal peoples, and have information in easy English and other languages.