Part of our role is to provide advice and guidance to councils and authorities on good administrative practice and to help them improve their handling of complaints. In addition to publishing our annual report and information on councils’ and authorities’ performance, we also publish focus reports, provide training in effective complaint handling, facilitate networks of complaints-handlers, and collaborate with other organisations to publish joint reports on issues.
In Focus reports and guidance notes we highlight particular subjects or systemic issues arising from our casework. They draw on the lessons learnt from complaints and include recommendations on good practice. Recently we have started to include information for members to use as part of their role in scrutinising the operation of a council or authority.
We also publish guidance notes for councils and authorities about good administrative practice and handling complaints.
We offer an online complaint handling training course to local authorities and care providers. This provides guidance on investigating complaints thoroughly, making robust decisions, and communicating those decisions effectively. Our trainers are experienced complaint-handlers and offer insight throughout the day on applying our principles of good practice in investigating complaints. The course is fully interactive and gives participants an opportunity to practise the skills needed for investigating complaints thoroughly and effectively.
In partnership with the Local Government Association, we have also produced an eLearning course and workbook aimed at helping councillors to handle complaints for service improvement. The workbook can be found on the LGA's website. Details of how to access the eLearning course are available in our online Learning Resource Centre.
The Ombudsman faces the same problems as many councils and authorities with some people whose behaviour places unreasonable demands on staff and resources. We have published internal guidance for our staff which was based on research carried out for a number of Australian Ombudsman schemes. We have also produced our own guidance for councils and authorities and have a published policy on handling unreasonable behaviour.
Our External Training and Relationship Coordinator produces an e-newsletter called Ombudsman Link which is emailed to link officers (and to other officers who request it) to inform them of any developments at the Ombudsman’s office. You can subscribe here.