Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT
Tabled paper 934
Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
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20 DEALING WITH APPROACHES AND COMPLAINTS The focus of our Office is on achieving informal and timely resolution of approaches. In some cases, we may not have the power to investigate a matter but we may be able to point the enquirer in the right direction. For example, an approach may be about a private sector service provider or a Commonwealth department. In those cases, we assist enquirers by putting them in touch with the relevant complaints body or giving them contact details. In other cases, we provide details of the enquiry to the relevant department or agency and ask it to respond directly to the enquirer. We may ask the agency to advise us of the outcome or let the enquirer know they can contact us again if they are unhappy with the agencys response. Alternatively, we may make preliminary enquiries or require investigations to be undertaken, with a report to our Office. This, in itself, may take considerable time and effort and may or may not result in a formal investigation by our Office. Chapters 6 and 7 contain a detailed analysis of approaches received during the reporting period. MAJOR INVESTIGATIONS In a small number of cases, the Ombudsman may determine that it is necessary to conduct a major investigation into an issue. This may arise from a complaint or may be undertaken on the Ombudsmans own motion. The conduct of major investigations depends on the resources available to the Office and the issues that arise for consideration. Major investigations are very resource intensive. A major investigation may well involve a significant commitment of resources for up to or in excess of a year from the time the issue is identified. There is no particular pattern as to when the need for a major investigation may arise and no target for a number of major investigations in a year. The number of major investigations resulting in tabled reports has typically been low, varying from year to year in recent times between 0 and 3. This is consistent with the approach in many other Australian jurisdictions. The reality is that almost all approaches and complaints are finalised without the need for a separate tabled report even if there has been a formal investigation. STAKEHOLDER & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT In 2017/18, Ombudsman staff visited the following Aboriginal communities: Alyangula Amangal (Adelaide River) Angurugu Belyuen Galiwinku Kullaluk Maningrida Nauiyu (Daly River) Pirlangimpi Umbakumba Warruwi Wurrumiyanga On these visits our staff talk with as many community members and groups as possible, engaging the support and help of local community members, elders and officials. Brief presentations about the work of our Office will be followed by individual or small group discussions about topics of interest. We will explain to community members what we can and cannot do but will listen to all their concerns.