26 September 2023

Ombudsman reaches its 50th year

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The Victorian Ombudsman is marking its 50 years of service this year and is planning special events and reports to observe the occasion.

Ombudsman Deborah Glass said that on 30 October her Office would celebrate 50 years of committing fairness, integrity and respect for human rights, as well as holding Victorian public organisations accountable for delivery of their services.

Ms Glass said several events were being planned to mark the occasion throughout the year, including a report covering the 50-year history of the Ombudsman and hosting the Australasian and Pacific Ombudsman Region Conference in October.

Ms Glass said the 50th anniversary provided a timely opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary work the Ombudsman had done over five decades, highlighting the breadth of the Office’s impact.

“How do you measure the impact of an Agency like the Victorian Ombudsman?” Ms Glass asked.

“The complaints resolved or conciliated, the investigations undertaken, the human rights considered, the laws, regulations and policies changed, and most importantly, the people heard, and public administration improved,” she said.

“As one complainant to the office put it: ‘Maybe the complaint will not be formally investigated or be tabled in parliament but at least the Ombudsman will be able to decide if it is fair’.”

Ms Glass said the Ombudsman acted to ensure fairness for Victorians in their dealings with the public sector and to improve public administration.

“Even as the office continues to grow and evolve its purpose has remained the same,” the Ombudsman said.

“As inaugural Ombudsman Sir John Vincent Dillon said in his first Quarterly Report 50 years ago: ‘The very essence of his office demands that he be non-partisan, independent and judicial in his treatment and investigation of complaints’,” she said.

“‘The office really combines the judicial functions of a judge or magistrate and the administrative functions of an inquisitor’.

“While our language today would not be gendered, that essence remains at the heart of the work we do,” Ms Glass said.

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