Vision, history and structure
The vision of the Office is 'We strive to be an agent of positive change for fair and accountable public administration in Queensland'. Our strategic plan explains how we plan to achieve our vision, purpose and values.
'Ombudsman' is a Swedish word which means 'protector or defender of citizens' rights'. The first ombudsman was appointed in 1809 in Sweden.
Today, an ‘ombudsman’ does not act solely for a citizen, nor do they act on behalf of a government agency. Instead, they are independent and impartial, ensuring a fair outcome is achieved.
Queensland’s first ombudsman was appointed in 1974. Known as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations, he was tasked with investigating the administrative actions of government departments and authorities.
The Ombudsman Act 2001 gave the Office the dual role of investigating complaints against government agencies and helping agencies improve their decision-making and complaint handling.
In 2013, the Office became the oversight agency for the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.
The Inspector of Detention Services Act 2022 allows for the Ombudsman to have the new and additional role of Inspector of Detention Services. Some parts of this Act commenced in December 2022, however the full IDS Act will commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.
Anthony Reilly is the current Queensland Ombudsman and Inspector of Detention Services. Former Ombudsmen include:
- Sir David Longland (1974-1979)
- Sir David Muir (1979-1981)
- Mr Cedric Johnson (1981-1990)
- Mr Fred Albietz (1991-2001)
- Mr David Bevan (2001-2010)
- Mr Phil Clarke (2011-2020).
The Ombudsman reports to the Queensland Parliament through the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee (LASC). LASC monitors and reviews the performance of the Office and meets with the Ombudsman and senior officers at least once a year. Reports from these meetings are tabled in parliament. These reports include information on our performance in meeting the objectives of our strategic plan and other obligations under the Ombudsman Act 2001.
A strategic review of the Office must be conducted at least every seven years. The terms of reference for such reviews are determined by the Governor-in-Council, who also appoints a reviewer following consultation with the Minister, Legal Affairs and Safety Committee and the Ombudsman.