The power of the Ombudsman ranges far beyond the decision to investigate public sector bodies and make formal recommendations for change: it extends to monitoring the acceptance and implementation of those recommendations.
This biennial recommendation report reflects the impact of Ombudsman investigations and the Ombudsman’s driving influence on administrative improvement, as a result of monitoring the implementation of recommendations.
The report is a statement of record, and summarises and updates the work of my office. It underscores my commitment to improving administration in the public sector to enhance beneficial social outcomes. It is also part of my accountability mandate.
The Ombudsman Act 1973 (Vic) sets out my powers to investigate and report on decisions and actions of the Victorian public sector. Where I find error or poor conduct, I can hold the sector to account and recommend steps be taken to remedy, mitigate or otherwise deal with the cause or effect of the decision or action. While my recommendations are not legally binding, I am pleased to report they are almost always accepted. However, where my recommendations are not implemented within a reasonable time, the Ombudsman Act allows me to report to the Governor in Council and the Parliament.
Finding out what happens to recommendations means effectively communicating with jurisdictional agencies to ensure practical change that benefits the Victorian public sector and the community actually occurs.
Following up on our recommendations is also a practice which demonstrates the Ombudsman’s commitment to continuous learning – if we fully understand which recommendations are most effective in bringing about a desired result, we have optimal opportunity to formulate future recommendations with the most potential for success.
This report has four sections; each highlighting a theme that represents an area of focus for my office.