NSW Ombudsman appoints new executive team members

10 Mar 2022

NSW Ombudsman Paul Miller has announced the appointment of 3 new Deputy Ombudsman to his office’s executive team following a competitive recruitment process:

  • Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs): Leanne Townsend
  • Deputy Ombudsman (Monitoring & Review): Helen Wodak
  • Deputy Ombudsman (Complaints & Resolution): Jacqueline Fredman

These appointments represent a significant refresh of the office’s executive team, which also includes a Legal Counsel and Director, Corporate, following the appointment of a Chief Deputy Ombudsman and Chief Operating Officer in 2021.

‘Our mission is to be a leader in complaint-handling, investigations, reviews, and public and community sector monitoring and assessment,’ said Mr Miller. ‘The Deputy Ombudsman will be critical in this mission, leading the 3 branches with direct responsibility for this work.’

Ms Wodak, who has been acting as Deputy Ombudsman since August 2021, will commence in the role immediately. Ms Townsend commences in March 2022 and Ms Fredman will commence in April 2022.

Biographies

Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs): Leanne Townsend

Ms Townsend is a proud Aniwan woman from Uralla, North West NSW. She joins the Ombudsman after 9 years as Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy. Prior to that, she was CEO of the NSW Reconciliation Council.  Her experience also includes Indigenous Advisor to Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, and Senior Public Affairs Officer, and Executive Officer with the Commonwealth Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs.

As Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs), Ms Townsend will lead the Aboriginal Programs Branch. This Branch monitors and assesses prescribed Aboriginal programs under Part 3B Ombudsman Act 1974 and engages with stakeholders to promote improvements in delivery of services and programs to Aboriginal people and communities.

Deputy Ombudsman (Monitoring & Review): Helen Wodak

Ms Wodak has been working with the NSW Ombudsman’s office since 2013, when she joined as Principal Investigator in the former Community Services Division. She then headed the Public Interest Disclosures team, before being appointed as Acting Deputy Ombudsman (Projects & Systemic Reviews Branch) in August last year.

As Deputy Ombudsman (Monitoring & Review), Ms Wodak will lead and direct the Monitoring and Review Branch. This branch is responsible for statutory functions related to oversight of the Public Interest Disclosures scheme; review of the deaths of children and convening the NSW Child Death Review Team; and monitoring and inquiring into the delivery of community services.

Deputy Ombudsman (Complaints & Resolution): Jacqueline Fredman

Ms Fredman has been a senior executive in the Commonwealth public sector for the past 9 years. She is currently Chief Corporate Officer (and previously Divisional Registrar) at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. She has previously worked as the Manager, Assessments at the ICAC. As a lawyer, she has worked in private practice and as a member of the NSW Bar.

As Deputy Ombudsman (Complaints & Resolution), Ms Fredman will lead the Complaints and Resolution Branch, responsible for handling and resolving complaints and inquiries relating to public authorities and community services.

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