Both the Commonwealth and State Governments have Ombudsmans. There are many common features between the two. An Ombudsman is impartial and independent and investigates a wide range of complaints about administrative actions of government departments, local government and other statutory agencies.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Postal Industry and Taxation Ombudsman.
The State Ombudsman has introduced a special service that deals with complaints against the hospital system. This service does not replace a patient's right to take civil action in negligence against a medical practitioner or hospital, which must still be pursued through the civil courts.
Either the State or Commonwealth Ombudsman will refer a person if a specialist Ombudsman is available for a particular problem. Any type of complaint about government administration can be brought to the attention of an Ombudsman and there is no charge.
Before contacting the Ombudsman, a person should try to solve the problem by talking or writing to the department or authority concerned. If there is a formal review arrangement within the department this should be used first. A person not satisfied with the response and who considers the agency is wrong in some way should contact the Ombudsman. The complaint should be as specific as possible and provide all relevant information. Where possible, copies of relevant documents should also be provided.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.