Who Can Make a Complaint to the Ombudsman Office

Any person can make a complaint to the Ombudsman against any:

  • government ministry
  • government department or agency
  • public servant
  • leader in the government including provincial councils, municipalities & statutory bodies and their Board of Directors
  • The Ombudsman can also commence an investigation on his/her own initiative

How to Lodge a Complaint with the Ombudsman Office

A complaint can be lodged with the Ombudsman Office by completing a compliant form a copy of which can be downloaded from this website, or through telephone, email, in person or anonymous / own initiative.

How does the Ombudsman Deal with Complaints

The Ombudsman will provide an opportunity for all parties to respond to the allegations made against them and will attempt to resolve the complaint by mediating between parties in any complaint. Should the complaint cannot be resolved then the Ombudsman will issue a preliminary report with recommendations on how to resolve the issues and a public report will be issued after.

What Happens after an Investigation?

For maladministration issues, an attempt is made to resolve the issue and if the matter cannot be resolved, a public report will be issued. For Leadership Code Issues, a public report is issued with recommendations for the Public Prosecutor to prosecute. If the public prosecutor feels that the evidence contained in the public report is not sufficient to conduct any proceedings against a Leader or persons involved in a leadership code case then the Public Prosecutor is required to direct the Commissioner of Police to conduct an investigation against the said leaders or persons. Police must investigate within 60 days and forward evidence to the Public Prosecutor and the public prosecutor is to decide within 3 months where there are sufficient grounds to prosecute.

What can't the Ombudsman Do?

The Ombudsman can't investigate the President or members of the Judiciary. The Ombudsman cannot enquire into a matter previously investigated by the Ombudsman, the reasons why a recommendation by the Ombudsman was not followed, the action taken by a leader or person in charge of a government agency to give effect to a recommendation of the Ombudsman.

How can you assist the work of the Ombudsman?

You can inform your friends and families about the work of the Ombudsman. You can also lodge complaints to the Ombudsman concerning an issue related to the work of the Government or conduct of leader or the Municipality. You can strive to possess good leadership qualities as leaders of the country.

Article 3 of the Constitution provides that:

  1. The national language of the Republic of Vanuatu is Bislama, English and French. The principal languages of education are English and French.
  2. The Republic of Vanuatu shall protect the different local languages which are part of the national heritage, and may declare one of them as a national language.

Article 64 of the Constitution provides for a citizen to receive any service from any Government agency in the official language that he or she uses. Where a Citizen feels that his or her right under article 64 is being infringed he or she may make a complaint to the Ombudsman to enquire into the conduct of the Government agency responsible. The Ombudsman shall each year, make a special report to Parliament concerning the observance of multilinguisim and the measures likely to ensure its respect.

It must be clear to all that the expression service includes, but is not limited to, advertisements, announcements, circulars, decisions, declarations, instructions, media releases, newsletters, notices, reports, reviews, statements, survey questionnaires and warnings, whether they are published in the public media or within the administration.

The Ombudsman section of maladministration investigations deals with complaints from the public against any public servants, government departments, government ministries and state owned enterprises.

  1. The task and function of the Ombudsman and his or her Office is to Investigate, to resolve or report and or recommend prosecution, where relevant in relation to complaints concerning the three fundamental issues
  2. Injustice or maladministration in the Public Service according to article 62 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu.
  3. Breach of the Leadership Code and Leadership Code Act following article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu and the Leadership Code Act.
  4. Breach of official language rights following article 64 of the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu.

The Ombudsman's functions are outlined under Clause 11 of the Ombudsman's Act 27 of 1998. The ombudsman has the power to:

  1. Enquire into any conduct on the part of any government agency.
  2. Enquire into any defects in any law or administrative practice appearing from any matter being enquired into.
  3. Enquire into any case of an alleged or suspected discriminatory practice by a government agency.
  4. In respect of conduct of a leader occurring on or before the 1st day of July 1998, enquire into any case of alleged or suspected breach of Chapter 10 (Leadership Code) of the Constitution.
  5. In respect of conduct of a leader occurring after 1st July 1998, to conduct an investigation in accordance with Part 5 of the Leadership Code [Cap. 240].
  6. Undertake mediation in accordance with section 13 of the Ombudsman's Act.
  7. As part of its functions, the Ombudsman publishes public reports on its website and on the paclii website (www.paclii.org) on the results of any enquiries carried out by him or her, including any findings, recommendations and opinions.

The President of the Republic of Vanuatu appoints the Ombudsman after a consultation process and the Public Service Commission appoints the staff’s members that work in the office on the Ombudsman