Making a complaint

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What you can complain about to us

The NSW Ombudsman is an independent integrity agency that holds NSW government agencies and certain non-government organisations accountable to the people of NSW. Through complaint handling, review, monitoring, investigation, advice, training and community education, we seek to improve the administration and delivery of public and community services in NSW.

Our Complaint Assessment Criteria sets out our considerations when deciding which matters we will pursue.

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What you cannot complain to us about

Our legislation limits what matters we can deal with.

For example, we are excluded from investigating conduct related to:

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Public interest disclosure

Public Interest Disclosures Bill 2021 - Significant enhancement to whistleblower protections in NSW

On 14 October 2021 the Special Minister of State, the Hon. Don Harwin MP, introduced the Public Interest Disclosures Bill 2021 (the PID Bill) into the NSW Legislative Council. On commencement, the new PID Bill will replace the PID Act in its entirety and represents a significant enhancement to whistleblower protections in NSW. The Bill ensures reports of wrongdoing are acted upon, that reporters are encouraged to come forward, and are protected when they do.

The NSW Ombudsman has tabled a Special Report on the PID Bill that examines the Public Interest Disclosures Bill 2021. The Bill has been referred to a Legislative Council Parliamentary Committee, which is due to report back on 23 November. If the Bill is passed by Parliament, both agencies and our office will need to do a considerable amount of preparation before the Bill commences. For this reason, the Bill provides for a commencement date up to 18 months after assent.

Our October 2021 edition of the PID e-News summarises some of the key features of that Report, highlights the work that must be done to prepare, and outlines how our office will support you through the process.

Time to prepare

In the coming months, we will communicate with agencies about our development of a package of resources to assist agencies to prepare. This will include new guidelines, fact sheets, e-learning modules and training packages for the new legislation.

We will provide regular updates on the new legislation through the PID e-Newsletter, and publish information as it becomes available on the Ombudsman’s webpage. Subscribe to receive the PID e-News here.

We have prepared some FAQs on our website to assist agencies to navigate this process.

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Official community visitors

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Information for agencies and investigators

The Ombudsman is not an advocate for complainants. We act impartially and independently of both the agency we investigate and the complainants whose grievances we investigate.

We have developed guidelines and other resources to assist complaint handlers and our staff are always available to provide advice and guidance to agencies on how their policies, procedures and complaint handling processes can be improved.

We also have an important role in relation to systems within agencies for dealing with public interest disclosures made by employees.

We also provide training for staff of agencies on complaint handling and investigation techniques.

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