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 Output to be delivered by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2023‑24 and over the Forward Estimates (2024‑25 to 2026‑27). Further information about the Office is provided at www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au and www.healthcomplaints.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

 

2023‑24 

 

Budget 

2024‑25 

Forward 

Estimate 

2025‑26 

Forward 

Estimate 

2026‑27 

Forward 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism

705 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism

Tasmania’s National Preventive Mechanism is appointed under the OPCAT Implementation Act 2021 to monitor all places where people are deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and other ill treatment.

The 2022‑23 Budget provided funding for scoping of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment business operation requirements. A report detailing the scoping project’s outcomes and providing implementation recommendations is due to be submitted to the Government by the Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism in mid‑2023. Funding provided in the 2023‑24 Budget will facilitate implementation of the scoping project’s outcomes.


 

Output Information

The 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.

Table 20.2:       Output Group Expense Summary

 

2022‑23

2023‑24

2024‑25

2025‑26

2026‑27

 

Budget

Budget

Forward Estimate

Forward Estimate

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

5 190

5 797

4 945

5 029

5 101

 

5 190

5 797

4 945

5 029

5 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

5 190

5 797

4 945

5 029

5 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in this Output in 2023‑24 reflects additional expenditure for the Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism initiative.


 

Output Group 1:    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 systematic issues relating to public administration, health care and energy services.

Table 20.3:       Performance Information ‑ Output Group 1

Performance Measure1

Unit of

 Measure

2020‑21 Actual

2021‑22 Actual

2022‑23 Target

2023‑24
Target

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Number

1 848

1 749

1 836

1 928

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

Number

1 375

1 696

1 781

1 870

Cases Finalised per FTE5,6,7

Number

184

211

205

178

Complaints to Ombudsman, Health Complaints and Energy Ombudsman Resolved in Less Than Three Months4,8

%

79

87

87

87

Health Complaints Assessed Within Statutory Period of 45 days8,9

%

79

82

82

82

Health Complaints Assessed Within the Extended Statutory Period of 90 days8,9

%

88

92

92

92

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The number of Right to Information applications and the average time to complete RTI decisions is not included in the performance information.

2.    The 2022‑23 Targets have been updated to reflect the Office’s expectation that the number of enquiries and complaints finalised will increase by approximately five per cent in 2022‑23 and again in 2023‑24.

3.    The Enquiries Finalised figures include out of jurisdiction enquiries received by the Office.

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

5.    ‘Case’ includes 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.

7.    The 2022‑23 Target has been revised due to changes in expected number of cases and FTEs.

8.    The 2022-23 Target has been revised based on 2021‑22 Actuals.

9.    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

 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

2025‑26 

2026‑27 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue and other income

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation revenue ‑ operating1

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

Other revenue from government

167 

219 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other revenue

557 

557 

557 

557 

557 

Total revenue

5 141 

5 748 

4 896 

4 980 

5 146 

Total income

5 141 

5 748 

4 896 

4 980 

5 146 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits1

4 007 

4 864 

4 000 

4 070 

4 131 

Depreciation and amortisation

32 

32 

32 

32 

32 

Supplies and consumables2

1 054 

802 

812 

824 

834 

Other expenses

97 

99 

101 

103 

104 

Total expenses

5 190 

5 797 

4 945 

5 029 

5 101 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net result

(49)

(49)

(49)

(49)

45 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive result

(49)

(49)

(49)

(49)

45 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The increase in Appropriation revenue ‑ operating and Employee benefits in 2023‑24 primarily reflects additional funding for the Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism initiative.

2.    The decrease in Supplies and consumables in 2023‑24 primarily reflects the completion of the scoping of OPCAT business operation requirements initiative, funded in the 2022-23 Budget.

 


 

Table 20.5:       Revenue from Appropriation by Output

 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

2025‑26 

2026‑27 

 

 

 

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

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office of the Ombudsman

 

 

 

 

 

Total Operating Services

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation Rollover

167 

219 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Revenue from Appropriation

4 584 

5 191 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlled Revenue from Appropriation

4 584 

5 191 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

4 584 

5 191 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

1.    The increase in this Output in 2023‑24 reflects additional revenue from appropriation for the Tasmanian National Preventive Mechanism initiative. The increase in 2026-27 reflects additional expenditure associated with the 27th pay occurring in that financial year.

Table 20.6:       Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June

 

2023 

2024 

2025 

2026 

2027 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

Financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits1

383 

286 

286 

286 

286 

Receivables

48 

56 

56 

56 

56 

 

431 

342 

342 

342 

342 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non‑financial assets

 

 

 

 

 

Other assets

464 

502 

470 

438 

406 

 

464 

502 

470 

438 

406 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

895 

844 

812 

780 

748 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Payables

10 

Employee benefits2

568 

616 

633 

650 

573 

Total liabilities

578 

623 

640 

657 

580 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets (liabilities)

317 

221 

172 

123 

168 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity

 

 

 

 

 

Accumulated funds

317 

221 

172 

123 

168 

Total equity

317 

221 

172 

123 

168 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

1.    The decrease in Cash and deposits in 2024 reflects revised estimates based on 30 June 2022 actuals.

2.    The decrease in Employee benefits in 2027 recognises the payment of the 27th pay in 2026-27 and the reduction in the associated liability accrued over prior years for this purpose.

 


 

Table 20.7:       Statement of Cash Flows

 

2022‑23 

2023‑24 

2024‑25 

2025‑26 

2026‑27 

 

 

 

Forward 

Forward 

Forward 

 

Budget 

Budget 

Estimate 

Estimate 

Estimate 

 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

$'000 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

 

Cash inflows

 

 

 

 

 

Appropriation receipts ‑ operating

4 417 

4 972 

4 339 

4 423 

4 589 

Appropriation receipts ‑ other

167 

219 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Other cash receipts

557 

557 

557 

557 

557 

Total cash inflows

5 141 

5 748 

4 896 

4 980 

5 146 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash outflows

 

 

 

 

 

Employee benefits

(3 627)

(4 336)

(3 555)

(3 608)

(3 747)

Superannuation

(363)

(511)

(428)

(445)

(461)

Supplies and consumables

(1 054)

(802)

(812)

(824)

(834)

Other cash payments

(97)

(99)

(101)

(103)

(104)

Total cash outflows

(5 141)

(5 748)

(4 896)

(4 980)

(5 146)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents held

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and deposits at the beginning of the reporting period

383 

286 

286 

286 

286 

Cash and deposits at the end of the reporting period

383 

286 

286 

286 

286