Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) - Independent Review: final report

Auditing Ombudsman Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Regulator strategy Small business Statutory authorities Australia

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) exists within an ecosystem of regulatory, policy and small business-focused agencies as well as industry associations and peak bodies active in the small business sector.

The 2021 Review of ASBFEO was undertaken in response to a statutory requirement that its assistance function be reviewed every four years. The Terms of Reference for the review covers the nature, convenience, and effectiveness of ASBFEO’s assistance function, ASBFEO’s response to the 2017 Review, the relationship between ASBFEO’s functions, and administrative and legislative arrangements. The review was conducted between March and June 2021.

Key recommendations:

  1. Treasury and ASBFEO should review evidence of gaps in the assistance and dispute resolution ecosystem for Australian small businesses, then implement targeted approaches to resolve these gaps and improve assistance outcomes.
  2. ASBFEO should leverage its experience and relationships to prosecute a strategic agenda designed to focus resources for deep impact on high-priority small business sector issues.
  3. ASBFEO should build its capacity and capability for sustained advocacy impact by strengthening its collaboration with stakeholders and sharpening its ability to characterise the small business sector.
  4. ASBFEO should be renamed to promote role clarity.
  5. Treasury and ASBFEO should act to ensure administrative, funding and staffing arrangements remain supportive of ASBFEO’s mandate.
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