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Establishment and Functions
The Office of Ombudsman was established in Victoria on 30 October 1973 under the Ombudsman Act (No.8414) to investigate complaints concerning actions taken by government departments and statutory authorities, including reviewing complaints concerning the police.
In 1977 the responsibilities of the Office were enlarged to include complaints against local government by the Ombudsman (Municipality) Act 1976. This encompasses actions of officers or employees of Councils but not the "Council" or any "Councillor".
Complaints to the Ombudsman are required to be in writing and the Ombudsman is required to inform the principal officer of an agency (or any responsible Minister or Mayor) where complaints have been submitted and an inquiry is to be conducted. A copy of the document in which the complaint is made and a summary of administrative action are also provided.
For the purpose of investigation the powers of the Ombudsman are those of a Commission appointed by the Governor in Council under the Evidence Act 1958, and the Ombudsman has powers to summon the attendance of persons or documents.
Under the Police Regulation (Amendment) Act 1985, jurisdiction relating to complaints concerning police matters was taken over by the Police Complaints Authority (VA 2834) in July 1986. However this role was resumed by the Ombudsman in May 1988.
The primary objective in investigating a complaint is to ascertain all facts relevant to the complaint and then to express an opinion on the original administrative decision and its basis. Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman does not include decisions of Courts of Law or situations where there are other avenues for appeal under normal circumstances.
Location of Records
No records have as yet been transferred to the Public Record Office.