Our options when dealing with your complaint

After receiving your complaint, we will assess the information you have provided along with our knowledge of the agency and their policies and procedures to help us decide what action, if any, we should take.

If we decide not to any action on your matter, we will provide you with reasons for our decision.

If we decide to act on your complaint, we may contact the agency about your concerns by making preliminary inquiries (Section 13 Ombudsman Act 1974). Often, the agency will give a solution or an explanation that satisfies us. If this happens, we will contact you within four weeks to let you know the progress of your complaint.

If the agency is unable to provide a solution or explanation to your complaint that satisfies us, we can provide them with feedback to take certain action that will in our view address the complaint or the specific conduct, policy or procedure. In some cases, we may decide to start an investigation (Section 16 Ombudsman Act 1974). As a result of investigating we may make a report and we may recommend that:

  • the agency should reconsider or change their action or decision
  • a law, rule or procedure should be changed
  • the agency should take appropriate action such as pay compensation for financial loss or, in serious cases, initiate criminal proceedings.

We cannot force an agency to comply with our recommendations, but most agencies do. If they do not, and we believe it in is the public interest to do so, we can make a report to Parliament.

In all of these cases, we will keep you informed of our progress.