Maladministration is about poor governance or the mismanagement of public resources or functions that might have serious implications for an agency and/or the community.

This includes things like:

  • misuse of public funds
  • mismanagement of projects.


A council is undertaking a significant development in your area. You have found out that there was no tender process and that the contract was given to a local business without getting any quotes or considering bids from competing businesses.

You have heard bad things about the local business and are worried they are charging the council too much.

Not maladministration

A council is undertaking a significant development in your local area. The council conducted a tender process and gave the contract to a local business.

You think another business would do a better job.

What does the law say?

Maladministration is a term used in section 4 of the Ombudsman Act 1972 which involves the conduct of a public officer, or the practice, policy or procedure of a public authority that results in:

  • an irregular or unauthorised use of public money
  • the substantial mismanagement of public resources
  • the substantial mismanagement of official functions.