Fact sheet: Local council complaints: If something is not right, who do I complain to?

A guide to bodies who deal with local council complaints in Victoria.

1 Mar 2023

Makeing a complaint about a local council

  1. If you have a complaint about a council service, try to resolve it with the council first. The council will have a complaints process you can use to resolve issues. 
  2. If your complaint doesn't involve a service issue or you haven't been able to resolve it with council, you can contact one of the following integrity agencies.

Statutory breaches

Local Government Inspectorate

The Inspectorate accepts complaints about council operations and potential breaches of the Local Government Act 2020, including:

  • misuse of position
  • conflict of interest
  • disclosure of confidential information
  • electoral offences.


Victorian Ombudsman

The Ombudsman can take complaints about the actions and decisions of councils, including complaints about:

  • services
  • communication
  • complaint handling
  • compliance with policies, procedures or law
  • other actions or decisions which may be unreasonable.


Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)

IBAC accepts complaints about suspected corruption and misconduct in the public sector and Victoria Police, including:

  • taking or offering bribes
  • using a position of influence dishonestly
  • committing fraud or theft
  • misusing information from the workplace.

Who are the Victorian integrity agencies, what do they do and what complaints can’t they deal with?

Local Government Inspectorate

The Inspectorate investigates matters related to council operations including criminal offences involving councillors, senior council officers or any person subject to the conflict of interest provisions of the Local Government Act 2020.

The Inspectorate does not investigate complaints relating to councils’ decisions or democratic processes, unless there is a breach of the Act. It does not look at services issues such as bins not being collected, rate charges being too high or parking infringements.

Complaints to the Inspectorate can be made:

Victorian Ombudsman

The Ombudsman investigates the actions, decisions or conduct of public sector organisations and their staff. It also looks at whether a public sector organisation has acted in accordance with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

The Ombudsman will generally not become involved in a complaint when:

  • you have not yet attempted to resolve it with the organisation directly
  • the matter may be decided by a court or tribunal
  • the complaint is more than 12 months old.

Complaints to the Ombudsman can be made:


IBAC is responsible for exposing and preventing corrupt conduct in the public sector. It deals with serious corruption and misconduct in: State government departments and agencies, Victoria Police, members of parliament, judges and magistrates, and Council employees and councillors.

IBAC does not handle complaints about:

  • issues from other States or Territories or Federal matters
  • matters in the private sector, unless it relates to a Victorian public sector employee
  • rudeness or poor customer service.

Complaints to IBAC can be made: