How to make a complaint

The Ombudsman investigates complaints about Western Australian public authorities including: State Government departments, agencies and boards; government services such as hospitals, prisons, schools and technical colleges; public universities and; local governments.

A complaint is an “expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required” (as defined by the AS/NZS 10002-2014 Guidelines for Complaint Management in Organizations).

Complain to the agency first

If you have a complaint we generally ask that you try to resolve it first with the public authority involved. Public authorities should have procedures for handling complaints. You need to give the public authority a chance to address your complaint. For help on what to include in your complaint see the Ombudsman Western Australia Information Sheet Making a complaint to a State Government agency or follow advice from the relevant agency.

Make a complaint to the Ombudsman

If you are not satisfied after complaining to the public authority concerned, please contact us again. If we are not able to assist with your complaint, we may be able to refer you to someone who can.

Our services are free and available to everyone.

A complaint can be made by any person (or group of people) or a company, partnership, association or club. When the Ombudsman receives an enquiry about an issue, an assessment is made as to whether:

  • The complainant has tried to resolve the issue with the public authority concerned before contacting us;
  • The complainant is personally affected by the issue; and
  • The complaint is about the administrative practices of a Western Australian public authority.

Other complaint handling bodies

If the Ombudsman’s office cannot handle the complaint because the enquiry fails to meet these criteria, an Enquiry Officer will try to assist by referring the complainant to the person or organisation who can help.

There are many other organisations in Australia who can assist you with making complaints. Find more details about other complaint handling bodies on the Links page.