18   Office of the Ombudsman

Agency Outline

The Office of the Ombudsman operates under the Ombudsman Act 1978 and is responsible for enquiry and investigation into complaints regarding the administrative actions of Tasmanian government agencies, local councils and a range of other public authorities. The Ombudsman seeks to resolve individual grievances and address systemic issues arising from administrative matters in the public sector. Through independent, objective and impartial investigations, the Ombudsman promotes fairness and equity and aims to bring about improvements in the quality and standard of public administration.

The Ombudsman also has a number of other responsibilities, including being the Health Complaints Commissioner under the Health Complaints Act 1995, the Energy Ombudsman under the Energy Ombudsman Act 1998 and providing administrative support for the Mental Health and Prison Official Visitor Schemes. The Ombudsman is appointed as the Coordinator of the Official Visitors Scheme (Corrections Act 1997) and is the Principal Official Visitor (Mental Health Act 2013).

The Ombudsman also undertakes additional responsibilities implementing the Right to Information Act 2009, the Personal Information Protection Act 2004, the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002 and investigating complaints, as well as holding an ex officio position on the Board of the Integrity Commission under the Integrity Commission Act 2009.

This chapter provides financial information about the Output to be delivered by the Office in 2016‑17 and the Forward Estimates period (2017‑18 to 2019‑20). Further information about the Office of the Ombudsman is provided at www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au.

Key Deliverables

The key deliverables for the Office of the Ombudsman include:

·       implementing the next phase of the Tasmanian Custodial Inspectorate project;

·       recruiting Official Visitors to maintain efficiencies of service delivery in both the Mental Health Official Visitor and Prison Official Visitor programs;

·       continuing to work to minimise the number of cases in the Office which are older than one year;

·       continuing to work at maximising the percentage of health complaints assessed within 45 and 90 days of receipt;

·       developing systems and processes for the more effective and timely resolution of complaints under the Ombudsman Act, Health Complaints Act and requests under the Right to Information Act; and

·       working to provide high quality training in relation to the administration of the Right to Information Act.

In 2015‑16, the Ombudsman was allocated one-off funding of $150 000 to conduct an investigation into the establishment of the Tasmanian Custodial Inspector. This phase of the project has been completed and legislation is currently being progressed to establish the Office of the Tasmanian Custodial Inspector, which will provide independent oversight of prison operations in Tasmania. Additional ongoing funding of $140 000 per annum has been provided from 2016‑17 for operational costs associated with the Tasmanian Custodial Inspector.

Output Information

The individual Output of the Office of the Ombudsman is provided under:

·       Output Group 1 - The Office of the Ombudsman.

Table 18.1 provides an Output Group Expense Summary for the Office of the Ombudsman.

Table 18.1:        Output Group Expense Summary

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output Group 1 - The Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

1.1  Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information1

 2 880)

 2 660)

 2 702)

 2 738)

 2 764)

 

 2 880)

 2 660)

 2 702)

 2 738)

 2 764)

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

 2 880)

 2 660)

 2 702)

 2 738)

 2 764)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.   The Office of the Ombudsman has implemented strategies to reduce administrative costs associated with the performance of its Energy Ombudsman activities. The benefit of these lower costs has been passed on to Energy Entities in the form of lower fees and charges.

Output Group 1:   The Office of the Ombudsman

1.1 Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health   Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information

This Output provides for the independent and impartial resolution of complaints and the investigation of systemic issues relating to public administration, health care and energy services.


 

Table 18.2:        Performance Information ‑ Output Group 1

Performance Measure

Unit of Measure

2013-14

Actual

2014-15

Actual

2015-16

Target

2016-17

Target

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enquiries Finalised - Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman1

Number

1 300

1 338

1 620

1 700

Complaints Finalised - Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman1

Number

1 583

1 266

1 620

1 700

Average Cost per Resolved Case - Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman2,3

$

941

1 016

782

659

Cases Finalised per FTE4

Number

164

160

229

240

Complaints to Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman Resolved in Less Than Three Months5

%

84

70

85

85

Health Complaints Assessed Within Statutory Period of 45 days6

%

52

57

50

50

Health Complaints Assessed Within the Extended Statutory Period of 90 days6

%

80

82

80

80

Health Complaints - Early resolution under Section 25A of the Act

%

11

14

10

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.   The Office expects the number of enquires and complaints finalised to increase by approximately five per cent in 2016‑17.

2.   'Case' includes both enquiries and complaints managed by the Office.

3.   The decrease in expected Average Cost per Resolved Case in 2015‑16 reflects a decrease in the number of enquiries and complaints forecast in 2015‑16.

4.   The increase in expected Cases Finalised per FTE in 2015‑16 reflects a lower number of FTEs in 2015‑16 than 2014‑15 and an increase in expected cases to be finalised in 2015‑16.

5.   The decrease in actual Complaints to the Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman Resolved in Less Than Three Months in 2014‑15 reflects a reduction in staffing levels for Health Complaints in 2014‑15.

6.   This period includes time waiting for responses from health providers and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

 


 

Detailed Budget Statements

Table 18.3:        Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue and other income from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation revenue - recurrent1

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

Other revenue from government

  61)

....)

....)

....)

....)

Other revenue2

  671)

  511)

  511)

  511)

  511)

Total revenue and other income from transactions

 2 881)

 2 620)

 2 662)

 2 698)

 2 724)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits2

 2 208)

 2 011)

 2 047)

 2 078)

 2 099)

Depreciation and amortisation3

  10)

  1)

  1)

  1)

  1)

Supplies and consumables

  579)

  563)

  567)

  570)

  573)

Other expenses

  83)

  85)

  87)

  89)

  91)

Total expenses from transactions

 2 880)

 2 660)

 2 702)

 2 738)

 2 764)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result from transactions (net operating balance)

  1)

(40)

(40)

(40)

(40)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result

  1)

(40)

(40)

(40)

(40)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive result

  1)

(40)

(40)

(40)

(40)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.   The decrease in Appropriation revenue - recurrent in 2016‑17 primarily reflects one‑off funding for the 27th pay in 2015‑16.

2.   The decreases in Other revenue and Employee benefits in 2016‑17 reflect the implementation of strategies to reduce administrative costs associated with the performance of the Office of the Ombudsman's Energy Ombudsman activities. The benefit of these lower costs has been passed on to Energy Entities in the form of lower fees and charges.

3.   The decrease in Depreciation and amortisation in 2016‑17 reflects revised estimates based on 30 June 2015 actuals.

 


 

Table 18.4:        Revenue from Appropriation by Output

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output Group 1 - The Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

1.1  Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information1

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

Total Recurrent Services

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation Carried Forward

  61)

....)

....)

....)

....)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Revenue from Appropriation

 2 210)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlled Revenue from Appropriation

 2 210)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 2 210)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.   The decrease in the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016‑17 reflects the implementation of strategies to reduce administrative costs associated with the performance of the Office of the Ombudsman's Energy Ombudsman activities. The benefit of these lower costs has been passed on to Energy Entities in the form of lower fees and charges.

 


 

Table 18.5:        Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June

 

2016)

 

Budget)

2017)

 

Budget)

2018)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019)

Forward)

Estimate)

2020)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

Financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits1

  256)

  362)

  340)

  318)

  296)

Receivables

  1)

  4)

  4)

  4)

  4)

 

  257)

  366)

  344)

  322)

  300)

Non-financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment1

  32)

....)

....)

....)

....)

Intangibles1

  18)

  3)

  2)

  1)

....)

Other assets2

....)

  443)

  443)

  443)

  443)

 

  50)

  446)

  445)

  444)

  443)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

  307)

  812)

  789)

  766)

  743)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables

  2)

  10)

  10)

  10)

  10)

Employee benefits

  344)

  387)

  404)

  421)

  438)

Total liabilities

  346)

  397)

  414)

  431)

  448)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets (liabilities)

(39)

  415)

  375)

  335)

  295)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Accumulated funds

(39)

  415)

  375)

  335)

  295)

Total equity

(39)

  415)

  375)

  335)

  295)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.   The variations in Cash and deposits, Property, plant and equipment and Intangibles in 2017 reflect revised estimates based on 30 June 2015 actuals.

2.   The increase in Other assets in 2017 predominantly reflects the fit‑out of the Office of the Ombudsman's new premises at Level 6, 86 Collins Street (NAB House), valued at $400 000.

 


 

Table 18.6:        Statement of Cash Flows

 

2015-16)

 

Budget)

2016-17)

 

Budget)

2017-18)

Forward)

Estimate)

2018-19)

Forward)

Estimate)

2019-20)

Forward)

Estimate)

 

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

$'000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Cash inflows

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation receipts - recurrent1

 2 149)

 2 109)

 2 151)

 2 187)

 2 213)

Other cash receipts2

  671)

  511)

  511)

  511)

  511)

 Total cash inflows

 2 820)

 2 620)

 2 662)

 2 698)

 2 724)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflows

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits2

(2 002)

(1 787)

(1 820)

(1 850)

(1 870)

Superannuation2

(238)

(207)

(210)

(211)

(212)

Supplies and consumables

(579)

(563)

(567)

(570)

(573)

Other cash payments

(83)

(85)

(87)

(89)

(91)

Total cash outflows

(2 902)

(2 642)

(2 684)

(2 720)

(2 746)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash from (used by) operating activities

(82)

(22)

(22)

(22)

(22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents held

(82)

(22)

(22)

(22)

(22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits at the beginning of the reporting period

  338)

  384)

  362)

  340)

  318)

Cash and deposits at the end of the reporting period

  256)

  362)

  340)

  318)

  296)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.   The decrease in Appropriation receipts - recurrent in 2016‑17 primarily reflects one‑off funding for the 27th pay in 2015‑16.

2.   The decreases in Other cash receipts, Employee benefits and Superannuation in 2016‑17 reflect the implementation of strategies to reduce administrative costs associated with the performance of the Office of the Ombudsman's Energy Ombudsman activities. The benefit of these lower costs has been passed on to Energy Entities in the form of lower fees and charges.