When the Office of the Ombud contacts your organization about a complaint, we are seeking to:
- Understand what happened in the situation complained about from your organization’s perspective
- Obtain any applicable policies and procedures, and relevant records, and seek to understand how the policy or legislation was applied in this case.
- Learn what steps have been taken if any to respond to the person’s concerns, including any response already provided to the person.
- Provide information and answer any questions you might have about the role of the Ombud.
You can contact us at any time with questions, or to consult on a possible resolution to a complaint.
Some steps you may wish to take to respond to us include:
- Gathering information from staff directly involved to determine what has happened in the situation complained about.
- Share your expertise with us. We want to understand how your organization works and its typical processes.
- Consider whether this may be an opportunity to problem solve or improve a situation or process.
Section 25 of the Ombud Act requires that our investigations be conducted in private. At the conclusion of an investigation, we will notify both the public body and the complainant of the outcome and reasons why we are ending our investigation.
Section 26 of the Ombud Act provides us with the authority to obtain information and records to assist in our investigations. Ombud staff have the authority to speak directly with any person who may have information pertaining to a complaint, including individual staff members of a public authority under investigation. Records obtained by the Ombud in the course of an investigation are excluded from the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and will not be disclosed by our office in response to a request for information.
For more information about the Office of the Ombud, please see this guide for public authorities.