A new era of improved transparency and accountability

Cities of Parramatta, Cumberland and Inner West, New South Wales (NSW), have joined forces to establish an innovative Internal Ombudsman Shared Service.

In 2017, the then Chief Executive Officer of City of Parramatta and General Managers of Cumberland and Inner West Councils decided to pool resources to establish an Internal Ombudsman Shared Service (IOSS).

An Agreement and Terms of Reference were signed and a Governance Charter established, which set out the role of the IOSS, its jurisdiction and performance criteria.

Cumberland Council is the host council for administrative purposes.

The Governance Charter states, “The Internal Ombudsman Shared Service provides residents, community members, ratepayers, local business, staff, councillors and other council stakeholders with an ‘independent ear’ regarding complaints about: administrative conduct; unethical behaviour by Council; corrupt conduct; misconduct; or maladministration.”

The IOSS commenced in September 2017 with Suellen Bullock appointed the Internal Ombudsman, followed thereafter by Rodney O’Donahue as Assistant Internal Ombudsman.

Complaint and Administration Officer, Sarah Labone said, “The IOSS reflects the commitment of each of the member councils to facilitate a high standard of administrative conduct and decision-making, corporate governance and ethical practice.

“We look forward to providing the Shared Service’s communities with greater confidence in the councils’ systems of governance, administration and customer service.

“This is through our independent and impartial triple governance track activities of:  prevention, such as through policy review and development and advice; education, such as providing probity in procurement training and complaint handling training; and, the investigation of complaints within jurisdiction.

“These three pillars of good governance are enshrined in the Governance Charter.”

The Internal Ombudsman attends each council’s Audit Risk and Improvement Committee (ARIC) and provides input on appropriate matters.

The IOSS delivered its first Annual Report to each council’s ARIC and following their endorsement, the Annual Report has been presented to each council.

The IOSS has regular liaison with the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Office of Local

Government and most recently, the NSW Auditor General’s Office.
The IOSS is a foundation member of the NSW Internal Ombudsman Network (ION) which meets regularly.

More information about the IOSS can be found on each council’s websites, including the Governance Charter and Fact Sheet.
IOSS Contact Details: Tel (02) 8757 9044