Who we are

The NSW Ombudsman is independent and impartial.

We watch over most public sector and some private sector agencies in NSW. Our role is to make sure these agencies and their staff do their jobs properly and meet their responsibilities to the community.

The current Ombudsman is Michael Barnes.

What is an Ombudsman

The office of NSW Ombudsman was created by legislation in 1974. Loosely translated, the word ‘ombudsman’ means ‘the citizen’s defender’ or ‘representative of the people’.

The Ombudsman is independent of the government of the day and accountable to the public through Parliament itself.

Like many other Ombudsman offices around the world, our office was modelled on the Swedish Justitie-Ombudsman from 1809, whose main role was to investigate complaints about government administration.

Our vision and purpose

We want to see fair, accountable and responsive administrative practice and service delivery in NSW.

We promote:

  • good conduct
  • fair decision-making
  • protection of rights
  • quality services.

We aim to:

  • help agencies meet their obligations to the public, improving the way they deliver services and handle complaints
  • deal effectively and fairly with complaints
  • be a leading watchdog agency and an effective organisation.

Our values

We act in line with these values:

  • integrity – behaving lawfully, honestly and ethically, with good judgement and high professional standards
  • impartiality – acting in a non-political manner as an advocate for the public interest, independent of the government
  • fair play – focusing on fair procedures, consistency and proportionality
  • adding value – bringing clarity to problems and identifying practical solutions that benefit the community
  • respect – treating everyone, complainants and colleagues alike, with dignity and respect.

Our guarantee of service

We will:

  • consider each matter promptly and fairly
  • give clear reasons for our decisions
  • if we cannot deal with a matter ourselves, explain why and point people in the right direction
  • help people to make a complaint if they are having trouble
  • add value through our work.

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