What We Oversee
We handle and investigate complaints from aggrieved persons about maladministration, including non-compliance with the Code on Access to Information.
Maladministration means inefficient, bad or improper administration. It may take many forms, which include:
- abuse of power or authority
- disparity in treatment, unfairness
- error, wrong advice/decision
- failure to follow procedures
- faulty procedures
- ineffective control
- lack of response/reply to complainant/enquirer
- negligence, omissions
The Code on Access to Information (“The Code”) is a set of administrative guidelines adopted by the Government. All Government departments and public bodies covered by the Code are required to make available to the public information they hold, unless there is a reason specified by the Code to withhold it. The Code aims at informing the public about the Government, its services and the basis for policies and decisions that affect individuals and the community as a whole.
Restrictions on investigation of complaints
We cannot investigate or pursue a complaint in the following circumstances as stipulated under section 10(1) of the Ordinance:
- complainant having knowledge of subject of complaint for more than 24 months
- complaint made anonymously
- complainant not identifiable or traceable
- complaint not made by person aggrieved or suitable representative
- subject of complaint and complainant having no connection with Hong Kong
- statutory right of appeal or remedy by way of legal proceedings (except judicial review) being available to complainant
Actions not subject to investigation
Schedule 2 of the Ordinance:
- security, defence or international relations
- legal proceedings or prosecution decisions
- exercise of powers to pardon criminals
- contractual or other commercial transactions
- personnel matters
- grant of honours, awards or privileges by Government
- actions by the Chief Executive personally
- imposition or variation of conditions of land grant
- actions in relation to the Hong Kong Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Buy-backs
- crime prevention and investigation actions by the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force, the Hong Kong Police Force or the Independent Commission Against Corruption
Circumstances where The Ombudsman may decide not to investigate
Section 10(2) of the Ordinance:
- investigation of similar complaints before revealed no maladministration
- subject of complaint is trivial
- complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith
- investigation is, for any other reason, unnecessary (for example, policy made with proper authority following a due process)
Complaints involving professional judgement
- not pursuable if the action or decision is based purely on professional judgement
Complaints about Maladministration
Government departments and about 30 public bodies for matters related to maladministration, excluding the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Secretariat of the Public Service Commission.
Complaints relating to Code on Access to Information
All Government departments and public bodies covered by the Code.
Government departments and public bodies covered by the Code
Lodge a Complaint
Before you lodge a complaint with us, please check the following:
Have you filed your complaint with the concerned organisation(s)?
Public organisations usually have dedicated channels to handle complaints. You may approach them for assistance first.
Who are you complaining against?
(Please see Who We Oversee)
What are you complaining about?
(Please see What We Oversee)
Are we restricted from pursuing your complaint?
(Please see Restrictions on investigation of complaints)
Is the action under complaint subject to our investigation?
(Please see Actions not subject to investigation)
Your basic personal information
Including full name / name of body corporate, identity document, postal address and other contact details
(We will not handle a complaint made anonymously or by a complainant who cannot be identified or traced)
You may lodge your complaint online, in person or by post, fax or email. Where appropriate and necessary, we can offer telephone write-up service.
Whether you are an individual complainant or an authorised representative for a body corporate, you will need to read and acknowledge the important notes for lodging a complaint.
Complaints against Us
Complaints against Staff for Poor Manners
These complaints should be made in writing and addressed to the Chief Manager of our Administration and Development Division. An independent inquiry into such complaints will be conducted.
Complaints against Staff regarding Complaint Findings and Conclusions
These complaints, though against staff, will be taken up by the Investigation Divisions. Complainants should write to us with grounds/reasons for our consideration if their cases should be handled by way of review.