Complaints and notifications

We classify our complaints and notifications as ‘formal’ or ‘informal’.

‘Formal’ matters are commonly written and we have a statutory responsibility to respond in writing. However, we consider contacts from vulnerable people in a formal way if they raise concerns of sufficient seriousness.

We classify matters as ‘informal’ if we can answer the person’s questions, address their concerns, or give them information without needing to take any formal steps. We commonly categorise phone calls and visits to our office as informal. We are also often sent copies of complaint letters directed to other agencies, which we categorise as informal matters.

With the matters we oversight, we try to reduce the number of matters reported to us by working with agencies to improve the way they deal with complaints. If we are satisfied that an agency has sound complaint handling and investigative systems in place, we can enter into a formal agreement with them called a class and kind agreement. Although we may not receive certain complaints and notifications, we proactively audit how these complaints are handled by the agency.

We report on the number of matters received annually, based on financial years.The complaints and notifications numbers can change from year to year depending on any number of things including any changes to our class or kind agreements or high profile public interest issues being discussed within the community.

In 2017–18, we had a decrease in formal and informal matters received and finalised – see table 1 . This is mostly because complaints about police were no longer notified to the Ombudsman following the transfer of responsibility for the oversight of complaints about police to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) on 1 July 2017.

Table 2 shows the formal and informal matters received and finalised over the last five years excluding police matters.

In 2017–18 we received 9,260 formal matters and 31,427 informal matters. We finalised 9,464 formal matters and 31,601 informal matters.

The following table shows the numbers of formal complaints and notifications received each quarter over the last four financial years. The graphs show the numbers received each month over the last four financial years.

Formal complaints and notifications received

Quarter

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

Jul-Sep

2,765

2,919

3,038

2,290

Oct-Dec

2,511

2,641

2,736

2,107

Jan-Mar

2,919

2,938

3,070

2,449

Apr-Jun

2,915

2,863

3,066

2,414

Total

11,110

11,361

11,910

9,260

Formal complaints and notification received

The following table shows the numbers of informal complaints and notifications received each month over the last four financial years. The accompanying graph shows visually informal complaint trends over this period.

Informal complaints received

Quarter

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

Jul-Sept

7,301

7,893

8,504

8,530

Oct-Dec

6,882

6,620

7,636

7,191

Jan-Mar

7,185

7,681

9,379

7,805

Apr-Jun

7,864

8,040

8,591

7,901

Total

29,232

30,234

34,110

31,427

informal complaints received

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