How does the Ombudsman's Office work?

If you have a complaint about state government, contact the ombudsman. There is no charge for our services. To look into your complaint, ombudsman staff will need to know certain information. The ombudsman complaint form lists the kinds of information you should be ready to provide.

The ombudsman will determine first whether your complaint is jurisdictional, that is, whether this office has authority under its statutes and regulations to review the issue. If your complaint is jurisdictional, an investigator will review the complaint and determine how to proceed.

After reviewing your case, discussing it with state officials and witnesses when necessary, and researching state laws and regulations, an investigator will report back to you. This may occur informally or within a formal process that leads to an investigative report. Because the Office of the Ombudsman has limited resources, it does not investigate every complaint brought to it. For this reason, the ombudsman requires that you attempt to resolve your problem with the agency before involving the ombudsman. For guidance in complaining to a state agency, click here.

Your questions and complaints are kept confidential. No one needs to know that you came to the ombudsman unless you want them to know. As a practical matter, however, it may not be possible to investigate your complaint without revealing your identity. Ombudsman staff will be glad to discuss this with you and explain your options. 

What if the ombudsman finds something wrong?

If an ombudsman investigation finds that an agency has made a
mistake or could be doing a better job, the ombudsman may recommend corrective action. Agencies usually follow ombudsman recommendations, but the law does not require them to do so. 

In most cases, the ombudsman works quietly with the citizen and the agency. Public reports of full investigations are usually posted on the ombudsman website, fulfilling the office's obiligation to report on its activities. By law, the ombudsman makes regular reports to the Alaska Legislature.