Who we are

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.

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 mission

We safeguard the interests of the people and communities of NSW by improving the quality of and level of accountability, integrity and fairness of government agencies and non-government organisations delivering public and community services.

Our purpose

We will be:

  • a leader in best-practice complaint handling and oversight functions, in Australia and around the world
  • an accessible resource for all the people of NSW
  • a trusted safeguard of the public interest in holding government agencies and non-government organisations to account
  • a resource to agencies and organisations to help to improve the quality, integrity and fairness of their administrative practices and service delivery
  • a credible source of research and information
  • a role model of NSW public sector practice and ethics.

Our values

Our values were determined through consultation with our staff and key stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the type of ombudsman service we want to be.

Integrity

We act lawfully, honestly, ethically and are committed to producing high-quality work in a consistent manner.

Impartiality

We operate independently from government and act in a non-partisan manner, providing services informed by evidence to advocate for the public interest.

Fairness

We strive to ensure people are treated fairly and reasonably by the government agencies with which they interact. We treat complainants and the employees of the agencies whose conduct we investigate fairly.

Transparency

We document our operations and processes and communicate openly with our stakeholders and provide key information about the findings, recommendations and outcomes of our work.

Professionalism

We work with government agencies and non-government organisations through relationships based on professionalism, trust and respect to find proactive and positive resolutions in the interest of the people and communities of NSW. We interact with the public and external stakeholders to understand their diverse contexts and emerging needs.

Respect

We work with complainants, stakeholders and our colleagues in an inclusive manner, treating them with dignity and respect, and mindful of diversity.

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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