If you think you’ve been treated wrongly by a Victorian public organisation, we can see if your problem can be fixed. *Due to temporary service delays in receiving and processing our hard copy mail, we kindly suggest contacting us via phone or our online complaint form.Start an online complaint
Who can I complain about?
We can look into:
We cannot look into:
What is the complaint process?
We deal with most complaints within 30 days. Complaints that are complex can take longer before we make a final decision.
Step 1: Tell us what has happened
We receive your complaint and acknowledge it within 5 business days.
Step 2: We look into your complaint
Many complaints can be fixed by us contacting the relevant organisation.
Step 4: You receive an outcome
We reach a decision and contact you about the outcome.
This video contains a series of animations accompanied by a voiceover.
An opening slide fades from black, containing the Victorian Ombudsman logo, and a male voice begins narrating the video. Upbeat jingly music begins to play.
Narrator: Welcome to the Victorian Ombudsman. We deal with complaints about more than 1,000 state and local government agencies, from councils and prisons to statutory bodies, like VicRoads and WorkSafe.
The Ombudsman logo is replaced by text: “We deal with COMPLAINTS”.
As the camera pans out, the text becomes surrounded by graphics indicating the types of complaints and agencies the Ombudsman can deal with. These include a town hall, prison cell, Parliament House, a school, vehicles, driver’s licence, pets, trees and roads.
Narrator: Our role is to make sure their decision-making is fair.
The animation shows an unhappy person making a complaint about a Victorian government agency, exclaiming “That’s unfair!”.
Narrator: In weighing that up, we look at the circumstances surrounding a complaint, including what the law is and the agency’s policies and procedures.
A complaint appears in the centre of the screen. Typical questions we ask pop up around it:
On either side of the complaint, appear the other factors we look at – a gavel to represent the law, and documents titled ‘policies’ and ‘procedures’.
Narrator: If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, the first step is to try and resolve your problem with the agency.
A set of scales appears, with a person on one side, and an ‘agency’s decision’ on the other. The person tries to level the scales by placing blocks of ‘reason’ on their side, but the scales tilt back in favour of the agency’s decision.
Narrator: If that doesn’t work, you can contact us.
A smartphone, computer and letter appear, illustrating the different ways to contact the Ombudsman’s office.
Narrator: You don’t have to be over 18, and you can remain anonymous.
An age scale and text highlight that a person of any age can contact the Ombudsman anonymously.
Narrator: In some cases, another person can complain for you.
Graphics then show a person making a complaint on behalf of someone else.
Narrator: You can complain to us about something an agency did or didn’t do, or a decision it made.
Narrator: For example, if you made a complaint but the agency is taking months to respond …
An agency responds in August to a complaint made in January.
Narrator: … or the agency says they’ve fixed the problem but you’re still not satisfied …
A person looks dissatisfied with the agency’s response to their complaint.
Narrator: … or they’ve made a decision that you think is unfair.
The agency responds: “THIS IS OUR DECISION!!!”, which makes the person feel lower than them.
Narrator: You can also come to us if you feel an agency has infringed your human rights.
A person runs past an arrow pointing in the direction of the Victorian Ombudsman. As they run past the text: “HUMAN RIGHTS”, it shatters into tiny pieces. The person keeps running directly into a telephone booth which is labelled ‘Victorian Ombudsman HOTLINE’.
Narrator: We understand you may be feeling frustrated by the time you speak to us.
Narrator: Try to explain your complaint in a few key points, including what happened and when.
The person in the hotline booth makes a call, which is answered by an employee at the Ombudsman’s office. Text appears to highlight the key points to include when making a complaint:
- What happened?
Narrator: Tell us what you’d like to happen and remember to send us relevant documents.
A stack of documents appear, including the complaint, the agency response, and another relevant document.
Narrator: We’ll assess your complaint and decide on a course of action.
Magnifying glasses scan across the document, depicting the complaint being assessed by the Ombudsman’s office.
Narrator: If we think we can help, we’ll try to resolve the matter informally and, in some cases, we investigate further.
The screen splits in two horizontally. The top half shows a handshake and the text: “RESOLVE INFORMALLY”. The bottom half shows a magnifying glass and the text: “INVESTIGATE”.
Narrator: When we’ve finished, we might make recommendations to the agency on how it can improve.
A clipboard containing a list of recommendations appears, and a pencil ticks off the recommendations one by one.
Narrator: In some cases, we’ll present our findings to Parliament, so the public knows what we’ve said, and the lessons can be learnt by the whole state government.
The recommendations are sent to Parliament House and become available to the public.
Narrator: By helping government agencies to improve, we create a better experience for everyone.
The animation shows that “by helping government agencies improve”, a large network of people benefit.
Narrator: We don’t deal with complaints about the police, courts, politicians or employment issues.
Crosses appear over a police hat, courthouse, politician and tie to illustrate the types of complaints and organisations that are outside the Victorian Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
Narrator: There are some other limits on what we can do, too – for example, if your complaint is very old or there is another body that can deal with it.
Graphics illustrate the further limitations on the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction:
- a complaint received in July 2000
- and a complaint that must be dealt with by a court or tribunal.
Narrator: If you’re not sure what to do next, get in touch and we’ll try to point you in the right direction.
A question mark is replaced by the text: “GET IN TOUCH!”.
Narrator: You can find out more about where we can and can’t help on our website.
An internet browser containing the Victorian Ombudsman’s website URL appears.
Narrator: Otherwise, you can email, call, write to us or make a time to come in and see us.
The website is replaced by text displaying the Ombudsman’s public email address, phone number and office address:
(03) 9613 6222
Level 2, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Come See Us!”
Narrator: Head to ombudsman.vic.gov.au for more details.
Text directing viewers to the Ombudsman’s website appears:
Narrator: The Victorian Ombudsman. Free. Fair. Independent.
The music comes to an end and the screen dips to black. End.
Common complaint topics
Read about common complaint types, our role in cases and browse some related case examples.
Read about similar cases to yours and find out how we might handle your complaint.View all case examples
Politicisation of the Public Service submissions
This year, the Legislative Council passed a motion requiring the Ombudsman to investigate issues relating to the alleged politicisation of the public service.
We are keen to hear from people who believe they have experienced the impact of politicisation of the public service.
Phone: 0429 607 914 (8am-6pm, Mon-Fri. 10am-4pm on Sat)
Submissions close 15 July 2022.