This report was not a formal investigation, but made recommendation to the Victorian Government. It recommended that the government consider amending Part IIC of the Wrongs Act 1958.
The two recommended amendments are:
  • prevent apologies being used as an admission of liability or evidence in all types of civil proceedings
  • expand the definition of apology to include apologies that involve an acknowledgement of responsibility or fault.
As part of this report, we surveyed 80 public authorities, including major government departments, local councils and universities, about their practices and experiences using apologies to resolve complaints when researching the report.
We also reviewed complaints to our office over a three year period where individuals had sought or received apologies, as well as a review of laws, guidelines and good practice from other jurisdictions in Australia and internationally.
Tabling the report, the Ombudsman said “Saying sorry may sometimes be difficult, but if done well, the results are often worth the effort and more.”
Read the media release.