Aged care monitoring

Aroturuki kaumātua

The Ombudsman monitors the treatment and conditions of people who are detained in health and disability facilities. This includes places where people are not free to leave at will - primarily, locked aged care facilities.

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Many of the people detained in these facilities are older people and have dementia.

In June 2018, the Minister of Justice made it explicit that the Ombudsman is to monitor privately-run as well as public aged care facilities (see June 2018 Gazette notice).

This work helps fulfil New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.

Programme development

With funding secured from 1 July 2019, a monitoring and inspection programme is being developed and introduced over three years, starting with orientation visits to locked units in privately-run aged care facilities to help inform the programme’s development.

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier explains his new role inspecting secure facilities in privately-run aged care facilities.

Tēnā koutou. One of my roles as an independent Officer of Parliament is to inspect places of detention. These are places where people cannot leave if they want to.

People may be there because they are very unwell, have broken a law, or to keep themselves, or others, safe. I check that the treatment and conditions they experience meet international expectations.

In June last year, the Minister of Justice extended the places I am to inspect to include people securely held in privately-run aged care facilities.

I will be phasing in this new inspection programme over the next three years, starting with visits to a variety of facilities across the country. These are ‘orientation visits’, not inspections, and will help inform my inspection programme and assessment criteria.

These are ‘orientation visits’, not inspections, and will help inform my inspection programme and assessment criteria. I am excited at the opportunity. I believe it is a welcome addition to help safeguard vulnerable people. And it is important to get this right for all of us.

You can find out more about my inspections on my website.


The Chief Ombudsman’s designation on 1 April 2020 as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic required him to reset his planned inspection programme. He conducted a series of targeted inspections to provide an independent assessment of how detention facilities, including aged care facilities, respond to COVID-19.


These provide more information about why and how these inspections are conducted.


The Chief Ombudsman monitors aged care facilities to prevent human rights violations occurring. He isn't able to investigate individual complaints about private facilities.

If you want to report any concerns or make a complaint, you can find out how to do this on the Ministry of Health's website.

Complaints about a health and disability service

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