Council establishes new accountability watchdog

Inner West Council has announced it is joining with the City of Parramatta and Cumberland councils to establish a new ombudsman service that will act as an impartial watchdog over the councils’ activities.

The service is open to residents, staff, local businesses, ratepayers, community groups and Councillors who have concerns or complaints about unethical behaviour, misconduct, corrupt conduct or maladministration.

It will also assist with policy development, and review training in relation to good governance and administrative conduct.

“By putting in place this shared ombudsman service, the Inner West is making a commitment to transparent administration, openness to the community and fair complaint handling,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.

“The people of the inner west will now have an independent authority they can take complaints to for investigation and action, if they have been treated unfairly or disrespectfully by the Council.

“This service will not only bolster transparency and accountability at a local government level, but we will be able to draw upon the experiences of the other member councils in developing and delivering improved services for our residents,” he said.

The recent appointment of an Assistant Internal Ombudsman and Complaint Assessment & Administration Officer completes the team for the service.

Sarah Labone is the new Complaint Assessment & Administration Officer following Rodney O’Donahue’s appointment as Assistant Internal Ombudsman last year.

Suellen Bullock, who was named the Internal Ombudsman in September 2017, said she is excited about what the service means for the community.

“The Internal Ombudsman Shared Service will provide residents, local business, Council staff and Councillors with an independent ear regarding complaints in their local government areas,” said Bullock.

“We look forward to providing the community with greater confidence in the system of governance, administration and customer service by allowing any complaints to be investigated independently and impartially,” she said.

The Internal Ombudsman Shared Service can be contacted by emailing internalombudsman@innerwest.nsw.gov.au or calling (02) 8757 9044.

Or complainants can write to or visit the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service at 11 Northumberland Road, Auburn NSW 2144.

For more information, or to download the Internal Ombudsman Governance Charter, visit our Internal Ombudsman webpage  

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018