Guidelines and Information Sheets

Ombudsman WA publishes guidelines and information sheets to:

  • assist members of the public to understand the complaints process, both when making complaints to agencies and to the Ombudsman; and
  • provide guidance to agencies on decision making, effective complaint handling systems, conducting investigations and record keeping.

How to read and print our Guidelines and Information Sheets

There are two ways you can access our Guidelines and Information Sheets:

  • by subject matter; or
  • by alphabetical list.

Click on the headings below to open a list (to close a list, click on the heading again). Click on the underlined links within the lists to open and print the documents:

For Members of the Public
- General

Making a complaint to a State Government agency
Explains how to make a complaint to a State Government agency.

How to complain to the Ombudsman
Summarises the role of the Ombudsman, what our office can and cannot investigate, how complaints are made and a flow chart shows how the complaint assessment, investigation and reporting process works.

Other languages

This publication is also available in Arabic, Amharic, Croatian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Cocos-Malay, Dari, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Serbian , Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. See the Community Languages page for more information.

Complaint Form

Online Complaint Form

Printable Complaint Form

Online Complaint Form for Overseas Students

Printable Complaint Form for Overseas Students

Overview of the complaint resolution process - Information for complainants
Flow chart showing the key steps in the Ombudsman Western Australia complaint management process.

How we assess complaints
Explains the things we must consider to determine whether a complaint is about something we can investigate, in accordance with our legislation.

Assessment of complaints checklist
Explains the key considerations when assessing a complaint.

Requesting a review of a decision about a complaint to the Ombudsman
Explains the considerations and process undertaken when the Ombudsman receives a request to review or reopen a complaint that was investigated by our office.

Being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman
Explains the purpose and process of being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman as part of an investigation into a complaint.

- For Prisoners

Complaining to the Ombudsman - Information for Prisoners
These guidelines provide guidance about what the Ombudsman can and cannot investigate in relation to prisoner complaints.

- For Students

Complaints by Overseas Students Information Sheet
Summarises the process for Internal and External Review of complaints by Overseas Students about their public education provider.

Complaint Form for Overseas Students
Overseas students should use this form to complain to the Ombudsman about their public education provider (university, college, institute or school).

Further information is available on the Complaints by Overseas Students page.

For Public Authorities
- General

Overview of the complaint resolution process - Information for public authorities
Flow chart showing the key steps in the Ombudsman Western Australia complaint management process.

How we assess complaints
Explains the things we must consider to determine whether a complaint is about something we can investigate, in accordance with our legislation.

Further information about the Ombudsman's process for assessing and investigating complaints can be found on the Helping Public Authorities - Responding to a complaint made to the Ombudsman page.

Assessment of complaints checklist
Explains the key considerations when assessing a complaint.

Being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman
Explains the purpose and process of being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman as part of an investigation into a complaint.

- Boards and Tribunals

Information for boards and tribunals
These guidelines detail how the Ombudsman responds when a complaint is received about a board or tribunal.

- Decision Making
Integrity Coordinating Group Publications

The Ombudsman is a member of the Integrity Coordinating Group which works collaboratively to promote and strengthen integrity integrity in WA public authorities. The ICG has published the following Guidelines and Checklists on key integrity issues for decision making:

Integrity in Decision Making

- Power Information Sheet

- Principles Information Sheet

- Proper Process Information Sheet

- Proportionate Outcomes Information Sheet

- Checklist for Decision Makers

- Checklist for Public Authorities

Conflict of Interest

Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality

 

Ombudsman WA Guidelines on Decision Making
This is a PDF binder of all the documents listed below to enable easy printing of all relevant documents (we recommend you print double-sided).

Exercise of discretion in administrative decision-making
These guidelines outline what the exercise of discretion is, tips on how to ensure it is applied correctly and ten key steps to consider when exercising discretion.

Procedural fairness (natural justice)
These guidelines give more detail on what it means to apply the rules of procedural fairness while conducting an administrative investigation.

Giving reasons for decisions
These guidelines outline the benefits and reasons for giving decisions, and key information on what should be included in a document containing a statement of reasons.

Good record keeping
These guidelines provide information about the importance of good record keeping and explains who is responsible.

For more information on Decision Making, see the Helping Public Authorities - Good decision making and practices page.

- Effective Complaint Handling

Guidelines on Complaint Handling
This is a PDF binder of all the documents listed below to enable easy printing of all relevant documents which we recommend that you print doubel sided (the binder does not include the Managing unreasonsable complainant conduct - Practice Manual, which should be printed separately).

For more information on Effective complaint handling, see the Helping Public Authorities - Effective handling of complaints page.

The principles of effective complaint handling
These guidelines give an overview of the three key steps and ten key principles of an effective complaint handling system.

Effective handling of complaints made to your organisation
These guidelines detail the key features of an effective complaint handling systems and how complaints made to organisations can be dealt with effectively.

Complaint handling systems Checklist
Organisations can use this checklist in conjunction with the Ombudsman’s guidelines for Effective Handling of Complaints made to your Organisation to assess their complaint handling system against the key features required for an effective system.

Guidance for Complaint Handling Officers
These guidelines offer assistance to Complaint Handling Officers in handling and investigating complaints made to their organisation.

Making your complaint handling system accessible
These guidelines detail how to make your complaint handling system accessible to all members of the diverse Western Australian community including people with disabilities, people living in regional and remote areas, Indigenous Australians, children and young people, and people from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

Investigation of complaints
A step-by-step guide for conducting an investigation.

Procedural fairness (natural justice)
These guidelines give more detail on what it means to apply the rules of procedural fairness while conducting an administrative investigation.

Remedies and Redress
These guidelines provide a framework to help managers make decisions about addressing a complainant’s sense of grievance when they are dissatisfied with the service they have received from the agency.

Good record keeping
These guidelines provide information about the importance of good record keeping and explains who is responsible.

Dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct
These guidelines provide some practical tips to assist agencies in handling complainants whose conduct is unreasonable.

Managing unreasonable complainant conduct - Practice manual
The practice manual provides information, strategies and training materials including scripts on dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct

Are You Listening? - Guidelines for making complaints systems accessible and responsive to children and young people

These guidelines are published by the Commissioner for Children and Young People and are designed to assist public authorities to make their complaint handling system accessible to children and young people.

- Conducting Investigations

Guidelines on Conducting Investigations
This is a PDF binder of all the documents listed below to enable easy printing of all relevant documents (we recommend you print double-sided).

Conducting administrative investigations
These guidelines offer guidance to help Government agencies conduct administrative investigations. They are designed to contribute to fairness, integrity and good public administration.

Investigation of complaints
A step-by-step guide for conducting an investigation.

Procedural fairness (natural justice)
These guidelines give more detail on what it means to apply the rules of procedural fairness while conducting an administrative investigation.

Good record keeping
These guidelines provide information about the importance of good record keeping and explains who is responsible.

- Management of Personal Information

Guidelines on Management of Personal Information
This is a PDF binder of all the documents listed below to enable easy printing of all relevant documents (we recommend you print double-sided).

Management of Personal Information
These guidelines offer guidance to help State Government agenciesbe aware of, and take action to implement, good practices for managing personal information.

Checklist - Management of Personal Information
State Government agencies can use this checklist in conjunction with the Ombudsman’s guidelines for Management of Personal Information to assess the way they manage the personal information collected about their clients and used by their staff and third party service providers against the good practice principles for management of personal information.

Good practice principles for the management of personal information
These guidelines give an overview of the six key good practice principles for the management of personal information.

- Managing unreasonable complainant conduct

Dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct
These guidelines provide some practical tips to assist agencies in handling complainants whose conduct is unreasonable.

Managing unreasonable complainant conduct - Practice manual
The practice manual provides information, strategies and training materials including scripts on dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct

 

All Guidelines and Information Sheets (Alphabetical List)

Index of all Ombudsman WA Guidelines and Information Sheets (also includes Forms)

Assessment of complaints checklist
Explains the key considerations when assessing a complaint.

Being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman
Explains the purpose and process of being interviewed by the office of the Ombudsman as part of an investigation into a complaint.

Complaint handling systems Checklist
Organisations can use this checklist in conjunction with the Ombudsman’s guidelines for Effective Handling of Complaints made to your Organisation to assess their complaint handling system against the key features required for an effective system.

Complaining to the Ombudsman - Information for Prisoners
These guidelines provide guidance about what the Ombudsman can and cannot investigate in relation to prisoner complaints.

Complaints by Overseas Students Information Sheet
Summarises the process for Internal and External Review of complaints by Overseas Students about their public education provider.

Further information is available on the Complaints by Overseas Students page.

Conducting administrative investigations
These guidelines offer guidance to help Government agencies conduct administrative investigations. They are designed to contribute to fairness, integrity and good public administration.

Dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct
These guidelines provide some practical tips to assist agencies in handling complainants whose conduct is unreasonable.

Effective handling of complaints made to your organisation
These guidelines detail the key features of an effective complaint handling systems and how complaints made to organisations can be dealt with effectively.

Exercise of discretion in administrative decision-making
These guidelines outline what the exercise of discretion is, tips on how to ensure it is applied correctly and ten key steps to consider when exercising discretion.

Giving reasons for decisions
These guidelines outline the benefits and reasons for giving decisions, and key information on what should be included in a document containing a statement of reasons.

Good record keeping
These guidelines provide information about the importance of good record keeping and explains who is responsible.

Guidance for Complaint Handling Officers
These guidelines offer assistance to Complaint Handling Officers in handling and investigating complaints made to their organisation.

How to complain to the Ombudsman
Summarises the role of the Ombudsman, what our office can and cannot investigate, how complaints are made and a flow chart shows how the complaint assessment, investigation and reporting process works.

Other languages

This publication is also available in Arabic, Amharic, Croatian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Cocos-Malay, Dari, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Serbian , Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. See the Community Languages page for more information.

How we assess complaints
Explains the things we must consider to determine whether a complaint is about something we can investigate, in accordance with our legislation.

Information for boards and tribunals
These guidelines detail how the Ombudsman responds when a complaint is received about a board or tribunal.

Investigation of complaints
A step-by-step guide for conducting an investigation.

Making a complaint to a State Government agency
Explains how to make a complaint to a State Government agency.

Making a complaint to the Ombudsman - Summary information sheet
Summarises who the Ombudsman is, what areas the Ombudsman can help with and how to make a complaint.

Making your complaint handling system accessible
These guidelines detail how to make your complaint handling system accessible to all members of the diverse Western Australian community.

Managing unreasonable complainant conduct - Practice manual
The practice manual provides information, strategies and training materials including scripts on dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct

Ombudsman Western Australia Summary Poster
The poster provides information about the Ombudsman's services and contact details for the office.

Overview of the complaint resolution process - Information for complainants
Flow chart showing the key steps in the Ombudsman Western Australia complaint management process.

Overview of the complaint resolution process - Information for public authorities
Flow chart showing the key steps in the Ombudsman Western Australia complaint management process.

(The) Principles of effective complaint handling
These guidelines give an overview of the three key steps and ten key principles of an effective complaint handling system.

Procedural fairness (natural justice)
These guidelines give more detail on what it means to apply the rules of procedural fairness while conducting an administrative investigation.

Remedies and Redress
These guidelines provide a framework to help managers make decisions about addressing a complainant’s sense of grievance when they are dissatisfied with the service they have received from the agency.

Requesting a review of a decision about a complaint to the Ombudsman
Explains the considerations and process undertaken when the Ombudsman receives a request to review or reopen a complaint that was investigated by our office.

 

If you require a copy of any of these documents in an alternative format, please contact the Communications Manager on 08 9220 7555 or email mail@ombudsman.wa.gov.au.

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