After investigating a complaint the Ombudsman considers whether the action was defective because either it was:
- against the law
- unreasonable, unjust or oppressive
- based on a law or some other rule which is unreasonable or unjust
- improperly discriminatory
- based on a mistake about the law or the facts
- based on irrelevant factors or ignored relevant factors
If an Ombudsman investigation discloses one or more of the above shortcomings in an agency’s actions or decisions, it is most likely to be reported to the agency with a recommendation that agency procedural instructions, policy or training be modified.
If the Ombudsman concludes that the action was not wrong but the person has not received a full explanation of the reasons for the action, the Ombudsman will ensure that the person receives a full explanation.
If the Ombudsman decides that a complaint is wholly or partly justified, the findings are reported to the department or authority concerned. In the report the Ombudsman may recommend [Ombudsman Act 1972 (SA) s 25(2)]:
- that the department or authority should reconsider or change its actions or decision
- that a law, rule or procedures used by the department or authority should be changed
- any other action that the Ombudsman thinks right in the circumstances (for example, that the complainant should receive an "ex gratia" payment for any financial loss).
The Ombudsman's recommendations are usually accepted by the agency concerned. If not accepted the Commonwealth Ombudsman may report to the Prime Minister and to Federal Parliament or the State Ombudsman may report to the Premier and to State Parliament. Both Ombudsmans need to resort to this power only occasionally.
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