The impact of amendments to the Ombudsman Act

 
Thursday 26 May 2016
 
On 25 May 2016, the Victorian Parliament passed the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (A Stronger System) Act to amend the Ombudsman Act 1973, and a number of others including the Audit Act 1994 and the IBAC Act 2011.
 
These amendments deliver some welcome changes which had been requested by the Ombudsman in a bid to update the operation of the office and improve its capacity to deliver fairness.
 
They will significantly improve communication between Victorians and the office, and between the Ombudsman and departments and agencies we can investigate.
 
The amendments include the ability to:
  • formally accept complaints over the phone, where previously the legislation required them to be in writing
  • table public reports out of session – i.e. when parliament is not sitting
  • give information to agencies to help them improve their practices.
 
In addition, the Ombudsman will have greater discretion in deciding:
  • whether to investigate a protected disclosure
  • whether to discontinue an investigation.