Many government authorities have internal enquiry, complaint, appeal or review processes that give you the chance to ask about or challenge an action or decision. Unless there are valid reasons why you do not wish, or are unable, to approach the agency to discuss your concern, you should raise any concerns you have through internal agency processes before making a complaint to the Ombudsman.
Many public authorities provide specific Complaints or Feedback pages on their websites. Others provide information about making complaints in their About Us section. Sometimes, this information is included in a Service Charter or a policy/procedure for complaint handling.
Information about some of the internal feedback, complaint, appeal and review mechanisms in place in government authorities can be accessed through the links set out below. Some helpful tips for approaching departments and agencies are also set out at the bottom of this page.
Feedback, complaint, appeal links
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Teritary Education, students
Charles Darwin University, staff and students
Children and Families Department
Lands, Planning and the Environment Department
Motor Vehicle Registry
Supreme Court, Judicial Officers
Supreme Court, registries and Sheriff
Territory Revenue Office
Tips for approaching departments and agencies
- You should never feel uncomfortable about making an enquiry or questioning a decision that you think is wrong. Responding to enquiries and complaints is part of the business of public authorities.
- Find out who is the best person to discuss your concern with. This may be the person who made the decision you are unhappy with, the manager of the section, the complaints officer or a service manager. There may be an enquiry/complaint line, an online feedback form or an email address.
- Communicate with that person in the manner you are most comfortable with and which you feel will be most likely to achieve your desired outcome. Sometimes it is best to put a concern in writing, particularly if it is complicated or there is a significant history. Other less complicated issues may be more likely to be resolved by face to face discussion or over the phone.
- Use patience, persistence and pleasantness to achieve your objective. Keep in mind your desired outcome and don't let what you regard as involved processes or your own emotions deflect you from your goal.
- Be prepared. Know what questions you want answers to; have relevant documentation ready; ask the agency what laws, policy or procedures apply to your matter and ask for copies or how to access them, if you need to.
- Carefully read everything that is sent to you by the agency. Sometimes, important information such as your appeal rights can be overlooked if there is a lot of information to get through.
- Keep records of conversations and correspondence relating to your concerns. These will be requested by the Ombudsman if you make a complaint. Keep a diary of when you speak/meet with an agency representative, who you speak too and what was discussed.