New Victorian Ombudsman conciliation function for complaints

17 May 2022
The Victorian Ombudsman (VO) has recently launched a new legislative function to conciliate and resolve complaints about Victorian government departments, local councils and other authorities. This is in addition to the VO's role in aiming to informally resolve complaints about public authorities at the beginning of their complaint handling process.

The VO issued a fact sheet and advised that:

  • Conciliation is viewed as an opportunity to voluntarily bring complainants and authorities together and resolve complaints in a supported confidential environment
  • During the conciliation process, the VO conciliators will evaluate both parties’ positions, while giving advice and suggesting options for resolution; and
  • Conciliators can help parties ‘cut to the chase’ to achieve a speedy resolution of a complaint.

If an agreement is reached, the VO will treat the complaint as 'informally resolved' and closed. If parties do not reach an agreement, the complaint may still be closed and the VO may resume enquiries or consider an investigation.