What you can complain about:
1. The Audit Office or its staff
Members of Parliament, the community (including Audit Office suppliers and stakeholders) and staff within the public sector are encouraged to report:
- dissatisfaction and complaints about our staff, products and services
- suspected or actual cases of fraud, misconduct or unethical behaviour by Audit Office staff.
2. Significant issues about NSW State Government agencies, NSW universities and local government councils
In the first instance, you should always direct your complaint to the NSW Government agency, NSW university or local government council concerned. Most organisations have a process to manage complaints and their websites will usually have details on how to make a complaint.
Before sending us your complaint, please consider whether we are the best people to help you.
Other Complaints-Handling Agencies may be able to better deal with your specific concerns. For example:
- NSW Ombudsman investigates maladministration
- Independent Commission Against Corruption investigates corrupt conduct
- Office of Local Government investigates complaints about pecuniary interests and failure to disclose pecuniary interests, councilor misconduct, and serious non-compliance with the relevant legislation, such as the Local Government Act 1993.
The Auditor-General welcomes concerns or feedback about NSW Government agencies, NSW universities or local government councils in relation to her role in auditing the financial statements or large scale programs and systems operating in those agencies.
The Auditor-General may also consider whether there has been any wastage of public resources, or any lack of probity or financial prudence in the management or application of public resources. Complaints information provides the Audit Office with useful information to identify areas to examine or plan future audit topics.
We rarely investigate complaints about individual transactions or interactions a citizen has with a NSW Government agency, NSW university or local government council. These complaints are usually best directed to one of the Other Complaints-Handling Agencies.
3. Serious and substantial waste made by public officials
The Audit Office has the legislative power to investigate complaints made by a public official about serious and substantial waste of public money. A public official is someone who works for the public sector, including contractors.
A serious and substantial waste of public money is any uneconomical, inefficient or ineffective use of resources, authorised or unauthorised, which results in a serious and substantial loss of public funds or resources.
The Auditor-General may deal with these complaints by conducting an inspection, examination or audit or in such other manner as the Auditor-General considers appropriate.
In the first instance, you should always direct your complaint to the NSW Government agency, NSW university or local government council concerned.
Complaints we are not able to deal with
The Audit Office does not have specific powers to investigate complaints about:
- government policy – the Auditor-General is not entitled to comment on the merits of government policy objectives
- allegations of corruption about other NSW government agencies – need to be referred to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
- maladministration in the public sector – need to be referred to the NSW Ombudsman
- breaches of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) or misuse of your personal information – need to be referred to the Information and Privacy Commission
- a local government pecuniary interest contravention – need to be referred to the Office of Local Government.
Please refer to our page on Other Complaints-Handling Agencies for details of other agencies that may be able to help.
Making a complaint
Complaints are preferred in writing. Please use this online complaints form to submit a complaint.
Complaints can also be made either:
- by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- by post – The Audit Office of NSW, GPO Box 12, Sydney, NSW 2001
- by fax – 02 9275 7200
- by phone – 02 9275 7100
- in person (please make an appointment in advance using one of the contact methods above).
To help us respond to a complaint, the following information is useful:
- name, contact details and preferred method of contac
- job title and organisation (if applicable)
- the nature of the complaint and when it occurred
- details of any prior discussion with Audit Office employees in relation to the complaint (if applicable)
- copies of any documentation to support the complaint
- whether the complaint has been referred to any other agency or details of any other action taken
- the remedy or resolution sought
- details of any Audit Office employees involved (if applicable).
The Audit Office will accept and assess anonymous complaints. However, anonymity may limit the Audit Office’s ability to seek further information to assess the complaint adequately. It will also limit our ability to inform the complainant of the outcome of our assessment and, where appropriate, the outcome of any detailed investigation.
What we will do
We will acknowledge complaints within one week unless we are able to respond to your complaint within that time.
Straightforward complaints will be responded to within four weeks.
If we consider we cannot respond within four weeks, we will let you know in our acknowledgement and will provide an estimated date for our response. In addition, we will provide you with a progress update on a monthly basis.
Confidentiality and privacy
All complaints will be dealt with confidentially and personal information will be managed in accordance with the Information Protection Principles in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. For further information refer to the Audit Office's Privacy Management Plan.
Complaints made by public officials may also be confidentially made under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. For further information refer to Audit Office's Internal Public Interest Disclosures Policy.