20    Office of the Ombudsman

Agency Outline

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:

·       Energy Ombudsman under the Energy Ombudsman Act 1998;

·       Coordinator of the Official Visitors Scheme under the Corrections Act 1997;

·       Principal Official Visitor under the Mental Health Act 2013;

·       providing administrative support for the Mental Health and Prison Official Visitors Programs; and

·       implementing the Right to Information Act 2009, the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 and the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002.

The Health Complaints Commissioner operates under the Health Complaints Act 1995 and is responsible for promoting and protecting health rights, resolving complaints between health care users and providers and seeking improvements in the delivery of health services in Tasmania. The Commissioner achieves this through the conciliation, investigation and assessment of complaints, encouraging parties to resolve complaints between themselves and assisting providers to develop procedures to resolve complaints.

The Custodial Inspector is appointed by the Governor of Tasmania under the Custodial Inspector Act 2016. The purpose of the Custodial Inspector is to provide independent, proactive, preventative and systemic oversight of custodial centres. The focus of the Inspector is on systemic issues relating to the management, control and security of the State’s prisons and youth detention centre and the care and welfare of prisoners and detainees. In particular, the Inspector provides external scrutiny through the publication of reports and recommendations. The Inspector reports directly to the Minister responsible for the custodial centre and the responsible Minister is then to table a copy of the Inspector’s report in each House of Parliament.


 

This chapter provides financial information about the Outputs to be delivered by the Office in 2019‑20 and the Forward Estimates period (2020‑21 to 2022‑23). Further information about the Office of the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner is provided at:

·       www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au;

·       www.healthcomplaints.tas.gov.au;

·       www.energyombudsman.tas.gov.au;

·       www.officialvisitors.tas.gov.au; and

·       www.custodialinspector.tas.gov.au.

Key Deliverables

Table 20.1 provides a summary of the Budget and Forward Estimates allocations for key deliverables within the Office.

Table 20.1:       Key Deliverables Statement

 

2019-20

 

Budget

2020-21

Forward

Estimate

2021-22

Forward

Estimate

2022-23

Forward

Estimate

 

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

 

 

 

 

 

Right to Information Workload Support

 245

245

245

245

 

 

 

 

 

Right to Information Workload Support

Funding of $245 000 per annum has been provided in 2019‑20 and over the Forward Estimates to support the Office’s Right to Information work. This funding is being used to establish a Right to Information team through the recruitment of a new Principal Officer and new Investigation and Review Officer to continue dealing with new Right to Information Act review matters in a timely fashion; finalising the backlog of such matters; working with agencies to provide specialised RTI experience through voluntary placements within the Office; and coordinating RTI training, particularly in smaller public authorities.

Other key deliverables for the Office of the Ombudsman include:

·       continuing the inspection of custodial centres in Tasmania pursuant to the Custodial Inspector Act;

·       continuing to identify suitable areas for own motion investigations, conducting such investigations and publishing quality reports;

·       building relationships at agency and provider level to improve processes, as well as making complaint handling information available to assist with timely resolution of complaints;

·       continuing to focus on implementing internal processes which enable the more effective and timely resolution of complaints under the Ombudsman Act and the Health Complaints Act;

·       building capacity (staffing, training and data-base) to meet new obligations related to the implementation of the National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers;

·       coordinating and providing education and advice in relation to both health rights and responsibilities and assisting providers to build capacity to respond to complaints internally in accordance with section 6 (c), (e) and (f) of the Health Complaints Act;

·       providing clear outcomes for energy consumers making complaints to the Ombudsman in a changing Tasmanian energy market; and

·       continuing to recruit, train and mentor Official Visitors to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the Official Visitors Programs.

Output Information

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

·       Output Group 1 ‑ The Office of the Ombudsman.

Table 20.2 provides an Output Group Expense Summary for the Office of the Ombudsman.

Table 20.2:       Output Group Expense Summary

 

2018-19 

2019-20 

2020-21 

2021-22 

2022-23 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

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

2 926 

3 213 

3 295 

3 339 

3 381 

 

2 926 

3 213 

3 295 

3 339 

3 381 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

2 926 

3 213 

3 295 

3 339 

3 381 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in The Office of the Ombudsman reflects an increase in funding for two new positions in the Right to Information area.


 

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 20.3:       Performance Information ‑ Output Group 1

Performance Measure1

Unit of

Measure

2016‑17

Actual

2017‑18

Actual

2018‑19

Target

2019‑20

Target

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enquiries Finalised ‑ Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman2,3,4

Number

2 048

1 710

1 875

1 968

Complaints Finalised ‑ Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman2,3

Number

1 618

1 414

1 603

1 683

Cases Finalised per FTE2,5,6

Number

221

188

202

194

Complaints to Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman Resolved in Less Than Three Months2

%

86

83

80

85

Health Complaints Assessed Within Statutory Period of 45 days2,7

%

75

76

60

75

Health Complaints Assessed Within the Extended Statutory Period of 90 days2,7

%

89

88

71

90

Average time to complete RTI decision8

Days

220

308

60

60

Overall quality of RTI training conducted8,9

%

na

94

80

80

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The average cost per resolved case performance measure has been removed as it is not an indicator of how well the Office is performing. The early resolution of health complaints performance measure has been removed as it is no longer used within the Health Complaints Team as an indicator of success nor do legislative timeframes exist in this stage of managing a complaint.

2.    The 2018‑19 targets have been updated to reflect extrapolated year to date actual enquiry and complaint numbers.

3.    The Office expects the number of enquires and complaints finalised to increase by approximately five per cent in 2019‑20.

4.    The Enquiries Finalised figure includes out of jurisdiction enquiries received by the Office.

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

6.    FTEs include all investigation staff and corporate administration support. FTEs exclude Official Visitor and Custodial Inspectorate staff who do not manage cases. FTEs in 2019‑20 will increase in the Right to Information area.

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

8.    Some additional performance measures have been identified in the 2019‑20 Budget for the Right to Information area to distinctly separate RTI measures from complaint management within the Ombudsman jurisdiction.

9.    The quality of RTI training is measured through training participant feedback surveys.

Detailed Budget Statements

Table 20.4:       Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

2018-19 

2019-20 

2020-21 

2021-22 

2022-23 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue and other income from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation revenue - operating1

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

Other revenue

545 

551 

557 

557 

557 

Total revenue and other income from transactions

2 866 

3 153 

3 214 

3 271 

3 324 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses from transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits1

2 208 

2 469 

2 523 

2 566 

2 608 

Depreciation and amortisation

43 

209 

203 

201 

201 

Supplies and consumables

586 

437 

443 

449 

453 

Borrowing costs

.... 

33 

28 

22 

Other expenses

89 

91 

93 

95 

97 

Total expenses from transactions

2 926 

3 213 

3 295 

3 339 

3 381 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result from transactions (net operating balance)

(60)

(60)

(81)

(68)

(57)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result

(60)

(60)

(81)

(68)

(57)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive result

(60)

(60)

(81)

(68)

(57)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in this item reflects an increase in funding for two new positions in the Right to Information area.


 

Table 20.5:       Revenue from Appropriation by Output

 

2018-19 

2019-20 

2020-21 

2021-22 

2022-23 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

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

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

Total Operating Services Expenditure

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Revenue from Appropriation

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlled Revenue from Appropriation

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information reflects an increase in funding for two new positions in the Right to Information area.


 

Table 20.6:       Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June

 

2019 

2020 

2021 

2022 

2023 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

Financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits1

141 

65 

65 

65 

65 

Receivables1

 

148 

67 

67 

67 

67 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Intangibles1

22 

11 

Other assets

412 

420 

965 

795 

617 

 

434 

431 

971 

800 

621 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

582 

498 

1 038 

867 

688 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables1

27 

11 

11 

11 

11 

Interest bearing liabilities

.... 

43 

647 

527 

388 

Employee benefits

436 

434 

451 

468 

485 

Other liabilities

.... 

Total liabilities

463 

489 

1 110 

1 007 

885 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets (liabilities)

119 

(72)

(140)

(197)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Accumulated funds

119 

(72)

(140)

(197)

Total equity

119 

(72)

(140)

(197)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The variation in this item reflects revised estimates based on 30 June 2018 actuals.


 

Table 20.7:       Statement of Cash Flows

 

2018-19 

2019-20 

2020-21 

2021-22 

2022-23 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Cash inflows

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation receipts - operating1

2 321 

2 602 

2 657 

2 714 

2 767 

Other cash receipts

545 

551 

557 

557 

557 

Total cash inflows

2 866 

3 153 

3 214 

3 271 

3 324 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflows

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits1

(1 965)

(2 198)

(2 247)

(2 286)

(2 325)

Superannuation1

(226)

(254)

(259)

(263)

(266)

Borrowing costs

.... 

(7)

(33)

(28)

(22)

Supplies and consumables

(586)

(437)

(443)

(449)

(453)

Other cash payments

(89)

(91)

(93)

(95)

(97)

Total cash outflows

(2 866)

(2 987)

(3 075)

(3 121)

(3 163)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash from (used by) operating activities

.... 

166 

139 

150 

161 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Net borrowings

.... 

(166)

(139)

(150)

(161)

Net cash from (used by) financing activities

.... 

(166)

(139)

(150)

(161)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

held

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits at the beginning of the reporting

period

141 

65 

65 

65 

65 

Cash and deposits at the end of the reporting period

141 

65 

65 

65 

65 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in this item reflects an increase in funding for two new positions in the Right to Information area.