23 Feb 2018

Internal Ombudsman Shared Service team appointed

Communities of the City of Parramatta, Cumberland and the Inner West now have an independent ear at their local councils, with the finalisation of staffing arrangements for a shared internal ombudsman service.

The recent appointment of an Assistant Internal Ombudsman and Complaint Assessment & Administration Officer completes the team for the service, ushering in a new era of improved transparency and accountability.

Suellen Bullock, who commenced as the Internal Ombudsman in September 2017, said she is excited about the appointment of her team and what that means for the community.

Sarah Labone is the new Complaint Assessment & Administration Officer following Rodney O’Donahue’s appointment as Assistant Internal Ombudsman late last year.

“The Internal Ombudsman function will provide residents, community members, ratepayers, local business, Council staff and Councillors with an independent ear regarding complaints in their local government areas,” Ms Bullock said.

“We look forward to providing the community with greater confidence in the system of governance, administration and customer service by allowing any complaints to be investigated independently and impartially, and to assisting the member councils with good administrative conduct and decision-making, good governance and service delivery.”

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson said the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service will act as an impartial watchdog over Council’s activities by conducting independent investigations and reviews into administrative processes and services provided by member councils.

“The Internal Ombudsman Shared Service reflects the commitment of each member council to operating to a high standard of ethical conduct and decision-making, administrative conduct and corporate governance,” Cr Wilson said.

“One of the benefits of this shared service model, which is a first of its kind, is that it will allow us to draw on not only the experience and knowledge of the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service, but also the experiences of each of the other member councils in developing and delivering improved service for their communities.”

Members of the community, members of staff and Councillors can contact the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service by emailing internalombudsman@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au or calling 8757 9044. They may also write to or visit the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service at 11 Northumberland Road, Auburn NSW 2144.

Click here for more information about the Internal Ombudsman service.

Suellen Bullock, Biography

Suellen Bullock commenced as the Internal Ombudsman with the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service on 25 September 2017. Suellen’s career has combined a mix of administrative law review, corporate management and governance and social work practice. Suellen’s most recent roles have been at the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal as a Deputy Division Head and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal as a Senior Member. Previously, Suellen has had roles of: Internal Ombudsman at Sutherland Shire Council; Senior Member at the Veterans’ Review Board and at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; Investigation Officer with the NSW Ombudsman; Senior Social Worker at the Queensland Legal Aid Office; and the inaugural social worker at the NSW Legal Aid Commission. Suellen’s various roles reflect her commitment to good governance and administrative conduct and decision-making ensuring everyone is afforded respect, procedural fairness and good service delivery.

Rodney O’Donahue, Biography

Rodney O’Donahue commenced as the Assistant Internal Ombudsman on 27 November 2017. Rodney has been a NSW Government employee for the past 20 years; previously working as NSW Police Officer, Investigation Officer Child Protection Division NSW Ombudsman, Senior Investigator FACS, Senior Investigator Fire & Rescue NSW, and numerous roles within the Department of Finance, Service & Innovation including, Senior Employee Relations Advisor, Senior HR Business Partner, A/Manager Employee Relations, A/ HR Manager and A/Director People and Partnerships.

Rodney’s commitment to all members of the public and the most vulnerable members of the community has pushed him to ensure that services and public programs are administered with the utmost ethics, transparency and commitment to the community. Rodney’s work experience has placed him in a great position to be able to provide thoughtful and creative ideas to the Shared Service Councils and contribute to the already high standard of quality customer service delivered by the three member Councils.

Sarah Labone, Biography

Sarah Labone commenced as Complaint Assessment and Administration Officer with the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service on 23 January 2018. Sarah has come from one of the largest councils in Victoria, Greater Geelong City Council, where her most recent role incorporated liability and insurance claims management, public safety and enterprise risk as part of the People and Organisation Development Division. Sarah has a broad range of experiences with previous roles encompassing Investigations, Process Review and Improvement, Finance, Business Planning, Customer Service and Project Management for both Local Government and private sector companies in New South Wales, Victoria and London, United Kingdom. Sarah has a genuine passion for delivering quality customer service and improving how we do business, and is looking forward to working with her colleagues in the Internal Ombudsman Shared Service to establish and imbed this function, as well as assist City of Parramatta, Cumberland, and Inner West councils to achieve their goals.