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 required 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 2021‑22 and the Forward Estimates (2022‑23 to 2024‑25). 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 the Office’s key deliverables.

Table 20.1:       Key Deliverables Statement

 

2021‑22

 

Budget

2022‑23

Forward

Estimate

2023‑24

Forward

Estimate

2024‑25

Forward

Estimate

 

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

 

 

 

 

 

Initiatives

Office of the Ombudsman ‑ Additional Funding

500

750

1 000

1 000

 

 

 

 

 

Office of the Ombudsman ‑ Additional Funding

This initiative provides further support for the Office to fulfil its statutory responsibilities, as outlined below.

Custodial Inspectorate

The Custodial Inspector has completed a full round of inspections as required by the Custodial Inspector Act. Additional resourcing will allow the Custodial Inspector to carry out audits of recommendations made in previous inspection reports and commence another round of inspections.

Health Complaints Commissioner Conciliation

Conciliation is a major function of the Health Complaints Commissioner resulting in complaints being resolved collaboratively between parties. It is effective in restoring trust and therapeutic relationships and can result in systemic improvements and resolution without the need for formal investigation or litigation. Additional funding will strengthen this function with the appointment of a Conciliation Officer in 2023‑24.

Official Visitor Program

Additional funding has been allocated to strengthen the Official Visitor Program including: increased remuneration for Official Visitors; provision of training for new Visitors; and improved training resources for all Visitors.

Ombudsman Statutory Functions

Additional funding will be provided to support the Ombudsman’s responsibilities and functions under a range of statutes. This initiative will enable the appointment of a Deputy Ombudsman to oversee the operations of the Office as a whole and major investigations, and undertake other delegated functions. It will also provide for a position to oversee a review of the operation of consorting provisions in the Police Offences Act 1935, and undertake a review of all statutes administered by the Office. Increased resources will also be allocated to investigate disclosures and notifications received under the Public Interest Disclosures Act; to manage inquiries; and to undertake training in other government agencies.

Output Information

Outputs of the Office of the Ombudsman are provided under the following Output Groups:

·       Output Group 1 ‑ The Office of the Ombudsman; and

·       Output Group 89 ‑ Public Building Maintenance Program.

Table 20.2 provides an Output Group Expense Summary for the Department.

Table 20.2:       Output Group Expense Summary

 

2020‑21 

2021‑22 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

 

 

 

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

3 366 

3 945 

4 168 

4 495 

4 554 

 

3 366 

3 945 

4 168 

4 495 

4 554 

Output Group 89 ‑ Public Building Maintenance Program

 

 

 

 

 

89.1 Public Building Maintenance Program2

100 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

100 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

3 466 

3 945 

4 168 

4 495 

4 554 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The increase in Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information reflects additional funding provided to support the Office.

2.    The renovation of existing office accommodation funded through the Public Building and Maintenance Program was completed in 2020‑21.


3.     

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 Measure

Unit of

 Measure

2018‑19 Actual

2019‑20 Actual

2020‑21 Actual

2021‑22 Target

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enquiries Finalised ‑ Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman1,2

Number

1 920

1 685

1 848

1 940

Complaints Finalised ‑ Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman1,3

Number

1 458

1 223

1 375

1 444

Cases Finalised per FTE4,5

Number

196

156

184

186

Complaints to Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman Resolved in Less Than Three Months1,3

%

81

80

79

80

Health Complaints Assessed Within Statutory Period of 45 days6

%

79

82

79

80

Health Complaints Assessed Within the Extended Statutory Period of 90 days6

%

87

91

88

90

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The Office expects the number of enquiries and complaints finalised to increase by approximately five per cent in 2021‑22.

2.    The Enquiries Finalised figures includes out of jurisdiction enquiries received by the Office.

3.    The Complaints Finalised figures include Public Interest Disclosure notifications.

4.    ‘Case’ includes both enquiries and complaints managed by the Office.

5.    FTEs include all investigation staff and corporate administration support. FTEs exclude Official Visitor and Custodial Inspectorate staff who do not manage cases.

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


 

Detailed Budget Statements

Table 20.4:       Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

2020‑21 

2021‑22 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue and other income

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation revenue ‑ operating1

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

Other revenue from government

56 

93 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Grants2

100 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other revenue

557 

557 

557 

557 

557 

Total revenue

3 391 

3 896 

4 119 

4 446 

4 505 

Total income

3 391 

3 896 

4 119 

4 446 

4 505 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits1

2 596 

3 079 

3 288 

3 565 

3 612 

Depreciation and amortisation3

187 

32 

32 

32 

32 

Supplies and consumables1

558 

739 

751 

800 

810 

Borrowing costs3

32 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other expenses

93 

95 

97 

98 

100 

Total expenses

3 466 

3 945 

4 168 

4 495 

4 554 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result

(75)

(49)

(49)

(49)

(49)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive result

(75)

(49)

(49)

(49)

(49)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The increase in Appropriation revenue ‑ operating, Employee benefits and Supplies and consumables reflects additional funding provided to support the Office.

2.    The decrease in Grants in 2021‑22 reflects completion of funding provided through the Public Building Maintenance Program to renovate existing office accommodation.

3.    The variation in Depreciation and amortisation, and Borrowing costs, from 2021‑22 reflects revised estimates for the Office’s lease arrangements.


 

Table 20.5:       Revenue from Appropriation by Output

 

2020‑21 

2021‑22 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

 

 

 

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

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

Total Operating Services

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation Rollover

56 

93 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Revenue from Appropriation

2 734 

3 339 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlled Revenue from Appropriation

2 734 

3 339 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

2 734 

3 339 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in Decisions on Complaints Referred to the Ombudsman and Health Complaints Commissioner and Right to Information reflects additional funding provided to support the Office.

 


 

Table 20.6:       Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June

 

2021 

2022 

2023 

2024 

2025 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

Financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits1

84 

324 

324 

324 

324 

Receivables1

19 

19 

19 

19 

 

86 

343 

343 

343 

343 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non‑financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Intangibles

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other assets2

1 007 

406 

374 

342 

310 

 

1 011 

406 

374 

342 

310 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

1 097 

749 

717 

685 

653 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables1

21 

Interest bearing liabilities2

617 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Employee benefits1

541 

595 

612 

629 

646 

Other liabilities

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Total liabilities

1 180 

602 

619 

636 

653 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets (liabilities)

(83)

147 

98 

49 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Accumulated funds1

(83)

147 

98 

49 

.... 

Total equity

(83)

147 

98 

49 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The increase in Cash and deposits, Receivables, Employee benefits and Accumulated funds and decrease in Payables in 2022 reflects revised estimates based on 30 June 2020 actuals.

2.    The decrease in Other assets and Interest bearing liabilities reflects revised estimates for the Office’s lease arrangements.


 

Table 20.7:       Statement of Cash Flows

 

2020‑21 

2021‑22 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Cash inflows

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation receipts ‑ operating

2 678 

3 246 

3 562 

3 889 

3 948 

Appropriation receipts ‑ other

56 

93 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Grants

100 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other cash receipts

557 

557 

557 

557 

557 

Total cash inflows

3 391 

3 896 

4 119 

4 446 

4 505 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflows

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits

(2 314)

(2 744)

(2 909)

(3 142)

(3 174)

Superannuation

(265)

(318)

(362)

(406)

(421)

Borrowing costs

(32)

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Supplies and consumables

(558)

(739)

(751)

(800)

(810)

Other cash payments

(93)

(95)

(97)

(98)

(100)

Total cash outflows

(3 262)

(3 896)

(4 119)

(4 446)

(4 505)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash from (used by) operating activities

129 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Net borrowings

(129)

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Net cash from (used by) financing activities

(129)

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents held

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits at the beginning of the reporting period

84 

324 

324 

324 

324 

Cash and deposits at the end of the reporting period

84 

324 

324 

324 

324