Our Executive

Michael Barnes – Ombudsman

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws

Michael was appointed NSW Ombudsman in December 2017. He has been the NSW State Coroner and the inaugural Queensland State Coroner, and has presided over high profile inquests, including deaths arising from the sinking in the Torres Strait of the Department of Immigration vessel the Malu Sara, and the Lindt Café siege.

Michael specialised in criminal and administrative law and has done research and teaching in criminal justice, health law, and the investigation of corruption and organised crime. He was adjunct professor of the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology and of the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University.

Michael joined the office in a period of significant change. He has taken the opportunity to refresh the strategic direction and priorities of the office, including evaluating existing structures and processes to meet ongoing demands. His priority is to increase the number of formal investigations we do.

Paul Miller PSM – Deputy Ombudsman, Review Investigations and Community Services
Community and Disability Services Commissioner

Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Master of Laws, Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Masters of Arts (Philosophy), Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW

Paul was appointed Deputy Ombudsman and Community and Disability Services Commissioner on 29 April 2019. Following changes to the organisational structure of the Ombudsman’s Office commencing on 1 July 2019, Paul assumed responsibility for the Ombudsman’s core operations, including complaint handling and investigations, and reviews and monitoring functions.

Paul was previously a senior public servant with the NSW Government having served as Deputy Secretary (Strategy and Policy) with the Department of Justice and as Deputy Secretary (Legal and Cabinet) and General Counsel with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Before joining the public service Paul was a lawyer in private practice.

Danny Lester – Deputy Ombudsman, Engagement and Aboriginal Programs

Bachelor Adult Education and Diploma Business

A proud Wonnarua man, Danny was appointed Deputy Ombudsman in 2014. Danny is the Inaugural Deputy Ombudsman responsible for the monitoring and assessment of Aboriginal programs in NSW.

Prior to this role, Danny worked in front line positions in Commonwealth and NSW agencies, and the non-government sector. He worked Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) – including as its CEO for 8 years, and with the Australian Employment Covenant.

Danny has served on boards and advisory committees, including as a member of the advisory council for the Centre for Social Impact.

Nicole Lawless – Assistant Ombudsman, Complaints and Investigations

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology); Postgraduate Diploma (Forensic Psychology); Bachelor of Laws; Master of Laws, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW

Nicole was appointed as Assistant Ombudsman in July 2019. Nicole leads the Complaints and Investigations Branch, which is responsible for handling inquiries, complaints and juvenile justice notifications and undertaking monitoring activities and investigations. Nicole previously worked in the Ombudsman’s Office as a legal advisor and Counsel Assisting the Ombudsman.

Nicole was admitted as a solicitor in 2002 and has had a varied career including working as a prosecutor at the NSW DPP, as the Deputy Director of the Criminal Law Review Division in the NSW Attorney General’s Department, as a policy advisor in the Department of Premier and Cabinet on the prevention of violence against women and leading the legal and strategy team representing the Department of Family and Community Services in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Monica Wolf – Assistant Ombudsman, Projects and Systemic Reviews

Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma Education Studies, Graduate Certificate Public Policy, Graduate Certificate Public Sector Management

Monica was appointed Assistant Ombudsman in July 2019. Monica leads teams responsible for systemic reviews and monitoring functions; and projects, research and data analytics.

Prior to this, Monica held a number of executive roles in our Community Services Division, including leading teams responsible for reviews of the deaths of children, policy and systemic projects and complaints and investigations. Monica worked for a two year period with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, leading teams in both investigations and policy. In 2019, Monica completed the NSW Leadership Academy Leading Executives Program.

Ainslee Scott – Director Corporate

Bachelor of Commerce, Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD), Fellow of certified practising accountants (FCPA)

Ainslee Scott joined the Executive team of the NSW Ombudsman on 28 June 2019. She has the responsibility for the Ombudsman’s Corporate Services division, which includes financial management, human resources, ICT, procurement and other varied support functions.

Prior to joining the Ombudsman, Ainslee held a number of executive and senior positions across both the public and private sectors, including with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), NSW Treasury, TransGrid and Colonial First State. She has a strong and diverse background in accounting, strategic and corporate planning, governance, project management and business transformational change.

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