The management of our office is overseen and driven by the Executive Leadership Group (ELG).
The ELG is made up of the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, two Assistant Ombudsman and a Director. They usually meet weekly to update each other on their work and discuss any significant issues.
The ELG is a deliberative body that forms the principal council of advice for the Ombudsman on major matters of policy and office management. The ELG has a central role in managing change in the office, and effectively communicating change to staff.
The ELG is responsible for the maintenance of the office’s governance framework and driving continuous improvements to our processes and procedures. Specific functions of the ELG 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 ELG 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 ELG and sanctioned by the Ombudsman, and
- encouraging collaboration, coordination, integration and innovation within the office.
Our executive team
Michael Barnes – Ombudsman
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws & Master of Laws
Michael was appointed NSW Ombudsman in December 2017. He has been the NSW State Coroner as well as the inaugural Queensland State Coroner, and has presided over many high profile and contentious inquests – including the deaths arising from the sinking in the Torres Strait of the Department of Immigration vessel the Malu Sara, the deaths connected with the Pink Batts program, and the deaths resulting from the Lindt Café siege.
Michael specialised in criminal and administrative law and has undertaken research and teaching in criminal justice, health law, and the investigation of corruption and organised crime. He was an 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. He has tabled four reports to Parliament on public interest issues in his first seven months as Ombudsman.
Paul Miller PSM
Community and Disability Services Commissioner
Bachelor of Economics/Laws (Hons)
Masters of Laws
Masters of Business Administration
Masters of Arts (Philosophy)
Paul was appointed Deputy Ombudsman and Community and Disability Services Commissioner on 29 April 2019.
Paul has responsibility for the Ombudsman’s core operations (including complaints handling and investigations) as well as capacity building functions. His role includes oversight of the delivery of services to children and to people with disability, the conduct of systemic investigations into public sector agencies and the conduct of child and disability death reviews.
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 (Aboriginal Programs)
Bachelor Adult Education & Diploma Business
A proud Wonnarua man, Danny was appointed Deputy Ombudsman in 2014.
Danny has worked in frontline positions in Commonwealth and NSW agencies, moving to the non-government sector to work with the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) – including being its CEO for eight years – and with the Australian Employment Covenant. He has served on boards and advisory committees, including being a member of the advisory council for the Centre for Social Impact.
Danny is passionate about improving educational outcomes, employment opportunities and economic sustainability for Aboriginal people. In 2011 he was a member of the Aboriginal Ministerial Taskforce, established to inform a new plan – OCHRE – to improve education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people in NSW.
Danny has operational responsibility for the Ombudsman’s monitoring of OCHRE initiatives, including providing strategic and timely feedback to agencies to enable them to address any shortcomings or gaps that may limit the capacity of OCHRE to meet its objectives.
Danny was voted by an independent panel as a True Leader with vision for the BOSS magazine list of 2012.
Nicole Lawless – Assistant Ombudsman (Complaints & Investigations)
PG Dip (Forensic Psych)
Bachelor of Laws
Master of Laws
Masters of Law in human rights
Monica Wolf – Assistant Ombudsman (Projects & Systemic Reviews)
Ainslee Scott – Director Corporate
Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)
Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD)
Fellow certified practising accountant (FCPA)
Member of Women On Boards