Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT
Tabled paper 934
Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
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21 On occasion we will present at a meeting or group discussion that has previously been organised. More often, we will, without being intrusive, talk to people were we find them, wherever they feel comfortable talking to us. Where we can, we co-ordinate visits or at least the timing of visits with other bodies, for example, the Top End Womens Legal Service or NT Legal Aid. Where a matter is within our power, we take it on board. If it is not, we will either point the person in the right direction or undertake to pass it on to relevant authorities. The intention of the visits is not to raise a large number of complaints but to establish our presence and let people know we are there if they need us. We are a small office and so our capacity to undertake engagement in remote areas is limited. Travel during the period was limited to some extent depending on availability of staff. The majority of travel was focussed on Top End communities, following travel to the Katherine and Roper Gulf region in March and June 2017. A schedule of travel for 2018/19, incorporating the Katherine, Barkly and Central regions has been developed and is being implemented. Further community engagement was encouraged through participation in stalls at: Supreme Court Open Day; Council of the Ageing (NT) Seniors Expo, Palmerston. We also finalised and published a set of eight Aboriginal language audios and a multilingual brochure containing brief introductions to the Office (available on our website). The Office provides access to a broad range of publications and resources through its website. Available resources include: Annual Reports dating back to 2002/03; Investigation Reports dating back to 2002; Surveillance Devices compliance reports; Controlled Operations compliance reports; a variety of brochures, guides and other information for enquirers and complainants; pages providing links to an array of complaints management resources and other resources relating to integrity, conflict of interest, accepting gifts, benefits and hospitality, corporate governance, good decision-making and stakeholder engagement. INVESTIGATIONS CONDUCTED IN PRIVATE REPORTING ON OUTCOMES In each case, we make every effort to ensure that the enquirer or complainant and the agency concerned are kept up to date with the progress of the matter and informed about the final outcome. However, the Ombudsman is required by the Ombudsman Act to conduct investigations in private.4 There are confidentiality provisions that make the inappropriate disclosure of information relating to inquiries and investigations an offence.5 The Ombudsman can publish conclusions and recommendations at the end of an investigation (by way of reports to Ministers and through them to Parliament). The Ombudsman can also include information about investigations in the Annual Report. However, the clear statutory scheme is for investigations to be conducted in private. 4 Ombudsman Act, s.49(1). 5 Ombudsman Act, s.120.
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