The Ombudsman Act has two objects. The first object relates specifically to investigating and dealing with complaints. The second, and equally important object, is to "improve the quality of decision-making and administrative practices in public authorities". While information gained in the course of dealing with complaints may inform the Office in its pursuit of the second object, that object is considerably broader than the formal investigation of complaints. The Office seeks to work with public authorities and other stakeholders through a range of mechanisms aimed at improving administrative practices across government.
Complaints and review bodies
The Ombudsman co-operates in a number of ways with other complaints and review bodies in the Territory, across Australia and internationally.
- one on one meetings with various independent officers and formal referral to other bodies where appropriate;
- membership of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman's Association (ANZOA) and the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), allowing access to their forums and reference resources, for example, the Systemic Issues Investigations Interest Group of ANZOA;
- continued operation of various Memorandums of Understanding with other independent offices to facilitate information sharing and reduce duplication of work;
- attendance at meetings and conferences both interstate and on occasion internationally;
- maintaining contact with various Ombudsmen throughout Australia.
Maintaining contact with public authorities is an essential element of the work of the Office.
This can include:
- meetings with public authority chief executives or senior executives;
- regular meetings with Police senior executives and members of the Police Standards Command;
- regular meetings with specific agencies where there are areas of interest or concern;
- specific initiatives undertaken with individual agencies.
Legislative and policy reform
One of the roles of the Ombudsman is to take part in meetings of the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee (NTLRC). The NTLRC advises on issues referred by the Attorney-General relating to reform of the law in the Northern Territory.
The Ombudsman is also asked to make submissions or provide input from time to time on policy and legislative reform relating to aspects of public administration. The Ombudsman values the opportunity to comment on such matters in the development phase.
The Office provides regular information sessions for various interest groups, this includes:
- regular information sessions for Police recruits and Prison Officer in Training recruits
- one-off presentations to government officers
- presentations to community groups who may wish to utilise our services.