We promote and protect the rights and best interests of people using community services in NSW by handling and resolving complaints about these services, and by monitoring and reviewing how these services are delivered.
We carry out our role under the Community Services (Complaints, Reviews and Monitoring) Act 1993 (CS CRAMA), and the Ombudsman Act 1974.
What community services do we cover?
Any services provided by:
- the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
- organisations that are funded, licensed or authorised by the Minister for Family and Community Services, the Minister for Ageing, or the Minister for Disability Services, including:
- DCJ-operated disability accommodation
- assisted boarding houses
- child protection and out-of-home care services, including foster care
- early intervention services
- refuges for young people, women, families and men, and
- neighbourhood and family support services.
What can we do?
Under CS CRAMA, we have a broad range of functions in relation to community services. We:
- handle complaints, and look at ways to improve how services resolve complaints
- review the situation of an individual, or a group of people, in care
- review the causes and patterns of the deaths of people with disability in residential care, and the deaths of certain children; and look at ways to stop or reduce preventable deaths
- monitor and review the delivery of community services; and make recommendations to improve the delivery of services and to promote the rights and best interests of service receivers
- inquire into matters affecting services and people eligible to receive community services
- promote and assist in the development of standards for the delivery of community services; and educate people and services about those standards
- promote access to advocacy support for service receivers, to ensure adequate participation in decision-making about the services they receive
Under CS CRAMA, we also:
- convene the Child Death Review Team
Our work in relation to community services is undertaken by our Community Services Division, headed by a Deputy Ombudsman, who is also the Community and Disability Services Commissioner.
Changes to our jurisdiction in relation to disability services
On 1 July 2018, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission commenced in NSW and SA, and some of our functions in relation to services and supports for people with disability moved to the NDIS Commission.
Key changes include that the NDIS Commission now has responsibility for:
- receiving and handling complaints about NDIS providers (registered or unregistered)
- receiving and oversighting reportable incidents affecting NDIS participants in connection with the provision of supports and services by registered NDIS providers.
In relation to the deaths of people with disability in residential care in NSW, we are working with the NDIS Commission on a joint approach, which includes the Commission examining the involvement of NDIS providers and our office maintaining our ongoing review of the NSW health and other service systems.
- The NSW Ombudsman and the NDIS factsheet
- Increasing Aboriginal participation in child protection decision-making