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How we help

The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman responds to requests for assistance from operators of small businesses and family enterprises who may be in dispute with parties such as clients, other businesses or Commonwealth government agencies.  We tailor how we assist you and provide general information on how to resolve the dispute, facilitate discussions between you and the disputing party, and provide access to external alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services or refer you to another Commonwealth, State or Territory agency who can more appropriately deal with your matter.

Assistance process

Initial assistance

When you contact the ASBFEO, you will be asked information about your matter to help us decide the best way for your case to be handled. Based on the information you provide, you may be referred to another government agency or organisation that is the best area to assist with your particular case.

Where the ASBFEO is the most suitable agency to look into your case, your matter will be allocated to an ASBFEO case manager who will contact you about your case. Your case manager will let you know how they may be able to help you to resolve the situation and will ask you to provide them with further details relating to your dispute. 


In cases where our team are able to directly assist you in resolving your dispute, your case manager will contact the other party in the dispute to seek information to better inform them about the matter.  Once the necessary information is provided by each party or parties, your case manager will discuss options with you about how to resolve the dispute.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

If the matter is not resolved during the pre-mediation phase, normally the next option will be to refer you to an ADR process.  Our office maintains a list of suitable specialists who can conduct ADR under our legislation.