The Ombudsman is accountable to Parliament, rather than the government of the day.
The Ombudsman investigates complaints about the administrative actions and decisions taken by government departments and agencies and about the conduct or behaviour of their staff.
Complaints can be made to the Ombudsman by any member of the public.
The Ombudsman's powers to conduct investigations are deliberately broad. Unlike specialist review tribunals or commissions, the Ombudsman reviews the lawfulness of agencies' actions or decisions, as well as the reasonableness and fairness of these actions in the circumstances.
The Ombudsman will not usually intervene until the aggrieved person has raised their concerns with the responsible government authority.
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial and provides a free service.
When you make a complaint to the Ombudsman about a government action or decision, the Ombudsman can look into it, tell you what occurred, whether it was reasonable or unreasonable; she can also make recommendations to the government body about its conduct. While there are some arms of government that lie outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction - for example, the judiciary - almost all levels of Victorian state and local government come within it.