Undertaking own motion investigations

The Ombudsman's office undertakes a range of activities to improve public administration.  One of the key activities is undertaking investigations of certain aspects of public administration (often referred to as “own motion” investigations). These own motion investigations are intended to result in improvements to public administration in Western Australia that are evidence-based, proportionate, practical and consider the costs, as well as the benefits, of proposed improvements.

Six projects completed are:

  • Investigation into issues associated with violence restraining orders and their relationship with family and domestic violence fatalities (November 2015). Read the Report;
  • Investigation into ways that State Government departments and authorities can prevent or reduce suicide of young people (April 2014). Read the Report;
  • Investigation into ways that State Government departments can prevent or reduce sleep-related infants deaths (November 2012). Read the Report;
  • Planning for Children in care: An Ombudsman's own motion investigation into the administration of the care planning provisions of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.Read the Report;
  • The Management of Personal Information – Good Practice and Opportunities for Improvement (March 2011). Read the Report; and
  • 2009-2010 Survey of Complaint Handling Practices in the Western Australian State and Local Government Sectors (June 2010). Read the Report.


Approach to major reviews and investigations

Selecting issues to investigate

Administrative improvement topics are selected on the basis of a number of criteria that include:

  • The number of complaints received by the Ombudsman;
  • The likely public interest in the identified issue of concern;
  • The number of people likely to be affected;
  • Whether other reviews of the issue have been done recently or are in progress;
  • The potential for our investigation to improve administration across the public sector; and
  • Whether investigation of the chosen topic is the best and most efficient use of our resources.

Click here for the Current topics for investigation.

How we investigate

Having identified a possible topic, the Ombudsman will:

  • Carry out preliminary research to assist in planning the scope and objectives of the investigation
  • Advise the agencies chosen about the project and consult regularly with staff at all levels to ensure that the facts and understanding of the issues are correct and any findings are evidence based 
  • Provide agencies with regular progress reports of findings together with the opportunity to comment on draft conclusions and any proposed recommendations. 

Recommendations for administrative improvements are based on evidence gathered during investigations, and are designed to be a proportionate response to the number and type of administrative issues identified during these investigations.