The management of our office is overseen and driven by the senior officers group (SOG).
The SOG is made up of the Ombudsman, three Deputy Ombudsman and the Directors of the corporate branch and strategic projects division. They usually meet weekly to update each other on their work and discuss any significant issues.
The SOG is a deliberative body that forms the principal council of advice for the Ombudsman on major matters of policy and office management. The SOG has a central role in managing change in the office, and effectively communicating change to staff.
The SOG is responsible for the maintenance of the office’s governance framework and driving continuous improvements to our processes and procedures. Specific functions of the SOG include:
- advising the Ombudsman on the strategic direction and management of the office
- informing the Ombudsman and other senior officers of the major investigations, projects, inquiries and issues in each Branch so that all members of the SOG are equipped with up to date knowledge of office wide business initiatives and risks
- discussing major legal, tactical, budgetary, human resource and other management issues, particularly those having implications for more than one Branch, with a view to reaching a consensus position to guide corporate action
- providing advice to the Ombudsman on all matters of office wide policy and resource allocation
- referring, as appropriate, issues to other forums, such as the Division Manager’s meeting, for consideration, investigation and advice
- monitoring and reviewing the work of committees and working parties, including the referral of particular issues to such bodies for review, investigation and report
- monitoring the implementation of the annual strategic plan and supporting plans, discussing required corrective action where necessary
- taking collective responsibility for and speaking with one voice on all major policy and management decisions reached by consensus within the SOG and sanctioned by the Ombudsman, and
- encouraging collaboration, coordination, integration and innovation within the office.
Our executive team
Michael Barnes, Ombudsman.
Chris Wheeler, Deputy Ombudsman
BTRP MTCP LLB (Hons)
Chris has been a Deputy Ombudsman since 1994. He has over 30 years experience in complaint-handling and investigations, as well as extensive experience in management and public administration. Chris has responsibility for our public administration area, including our public interest disclosures responsibilities. He also has responsibility for major research projects (including the management of Unreasonable Complainant Conduct), and the development of guidance materials to assist public sector agencies and officials to achieve and maintain good practice in relation to complaint handling, public administration and conduct generally.
Steve Kinmond, Deputy Ombudsman & Community and Disability Services Commissioner
BA LLB Dip Ed Dip Crim
Steve has been the Deputy Ombudsman and the Community and Disability Services Commissioner since 2004. Prior to this, Steve was the Assistant Ombudsman (Police) for eight years. Steve has close to 30 years of investigative experience, and extensive involvement in the community services field. Steve has also worked as a solicitor and ran his own consultancy practice.
Daniel Lester, Deputy Ombudsman, Aboriginal Programs
BAdEd, Dip Bus
Danny started his career working in frontline positions within Commonwealth and NSW government departments. He moved into the non-government sector, working with both the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) and the Australian Employment Covenant. His most recent position before being appointed as Deputy Ombudsman was as Chief Executive Officer of the AES, a position he held for over 8 years. Danny’s focus has been on improving the educational outcomes, employment opportunities and economic sustainability available for Aboriginal people. His experience and understanding of the issues facing communities was reflected in his inclusion on the Aboriginal Ministerial Taskforce in 2011. The recommendations of the taskforce were the basis for the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal Affairs, Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment (OCHRE). Danny has served on the board of the Sydney Local Health District, has been a member of the Sydney TAFE NSW Advisory Council, and was a member of the advisory council for the Centre for Social Impact.
Anita Whittaker, Assistant Ombudsman, Corporate
PSMO BCom MIIA (Aust)
Anita has over 35 years experience in the NSW public sector. She joined the office in 1985 and worked in a number of roles before being appointed to her current position as head of corporate in 1995. Anita has extensive experience in public sector administration and in financial and human resource management. In her current role she has responsibility for personnel, finance, information technology, records, publications and general office administration. Anita was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2000 in recognition of her outstanding service and her ongoing contribution to the Ombudsman’s Office.
Julianna Demetrius, Assistant Ombudsman, Strategic Projects
Dip Law (LPAB)
Julianna has held several investigative and management positions at our office. She managed the Police Division for four years and established the Cross Agency Team in 2007 which became the Strategic Projects Division in 2009. Julianna led the Ombudsman’s three-year audit of the Interagency Plan to Tackle Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault. A key part of Julianna's role as a Director, Strategic Projects Division involves supporting the Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs) in the oversight of OCHRE, the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs. Julianna has extensive experience in conducting large-scale systemic investigations across the human services and justice sectors. As Director she also leads the cross-office community education and training unit, which runs the largest education and training program of any Australian parliamentary Ombudsman and leads the way in developing training for both government and non-government sectors.