Ombudsman Enquiries

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools cooperate with the Ombudsman.

Policy

The Department, school councils or schools must:

  • urgently address all matters raised by the Ombudsman considering fairness to the complainant
  • not make contact with a complainant about issues under investigation unless the contact is unavoidable. 

The Manager of Ombudsman Enquiries should be informed before contact is made.

Note: This does not apply to dealings with the complainant about unrelated matters.

Grounds for complaint

The Ombudsman investigates complaints made about administrative action taken by Victorian State and local government agencies including the Department, schools and school councils.

Grounds for complaint exist when an action was:

  • contrary to law
  • unreasonable
  • unjust
  • oppressive or improperly discriminatory
  • based on reasoning that:
    • was not but should have been explained
    • relied wholly or partially on a mistake of law or fact
    • was wrong.

Procedures

This table describes the investigation of a formal complaint.

Stage Description

1

The Ombudsman either contacts:

  • the Department (when an inquiry concerns a school); or
  • the president of the school council when an inquiry concerns the school council.

2

The Manager of Ombudsman Enquiries coordinates all correspondence and contact with the Ombudsman's Office including replies to Ombudsman requests under the signature of the Department's Secretary or their delegate.

3

When the complaint concerns a school, the regional office contacts the principal so that information can be obtained and a response drafted.

4

The principal may need to:

  • provide information or school files to the Ombudsman's Office (arranged either by the regional office or the Manager of Ombudsman Enquiries)
  • be interviewed by an officer of the Ombudsman's Office.

5

The Ombudsman may:

  • find the Department has acted properly
  • make recommendations that lead to changes in administrative actions or procedures
  • make a report of recommendations to the Governor-in-Council and each House of Parliament.

6

If the outcome affects only a particular school, the Department will notify the relevant principal.  However if all schools are affected information will be conveyed via Department circular.

Related legislation

  • Ombudsman Act 1973

Department resources