Ombudsman Act 1974 (NSW)
University-wide concern. Impacts on reputation and funding.
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Mr Michael Barnes, NSW Ombudsman
580 George Street
02 9286 1000
1800 451 524
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VC Compliance Delegate
Kate McNarn, Director Governance and University Secretary
Katrina Warden, Director Legal Services
Business Units Impacted
This Act provides for the appointment of an Ombudsman, and defines the functions of the Ombudsman including investigations, conciliations, and reporting. Subject to certain conditions, any person (including a public authority) may complain to the Ombudsman about the conduct of a public authority (all NSW public universities are public authorities over which the Ombudsman has jurisdiction). Whilst complaints are the primary mechanism to trigger an investigation by the Ombudsman, an investigation may take place whether or not a complaint has been received.
The types of conduct that a complaint can be made about include:
• If a person believes the University (or a university officer) has acted dishonestly, unfairly or unreasonably towards them, and they have been unable to resolve the matter within the University.
• If a person believes the University’s policies or procedures are flawed or unfair.
• If a person has experienced what they believe to be unreasonable delays or if the University has made a decision that they should have provided reasons for, but did not.
• If a person believes they have made a public interest disclosure within the meaning of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1993 and the university has not handled it correctly.
• If there is good evidence of maladministration on the part of the University.
• If a person has been advised by the University at the conclusion of an appeals process that you can make a complaint to the Ombudsman.
For the purposes of an investigation under this Act, the Ombudsman may require the University to: give the Ombudsman a statement of information; produce to the Ombudsman any document or other thing; or give the Ombudsman a copy of any document. In addition, the Ombudsman may, at any time enter and inspect any premises occupied or used by a public authority as a public authority, and inspect any document or thing in or on the premises.