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GSD seeks to strengthen Ombudsman’s powers

The GSD will move a motion at the next meeting of Parliament calling for a review of the powers of the Ombudsman with a view to expanding these.

This comes after the Ombudsman himself called for a formal mechanism to be put in place to compel the public administration to act on his recommendations as he highlighted how a number of public service administrators had failed to do so.

The GSD motion calls on the Government to ensure that all the recommendations of the Ombudsman are acted upon in a timely manner, or if not that a proper explanation is given by heads of department on a case by case basis.

It further resolves that the Public Services Ombudsman Act 1998 be amended so as to allow for Own Motion Investigations as requested by the Ombudsman in 2016.

GSD MP Roy Clinton, who has proposed the motion, said: “The Public Services Ombudsman has an important role to play in addressing complaints about the delivery of our public services and it is important that he is seen to have the support of both Government and Parliament in undertaking his role.”

“Public Finance is not just concerned with the spending of money but also the achievement of outcomes and quality of services that are to be delivered.” 

“The public needs to see that they have the ability to have valid complaints about the delivery of public services addressed fairly and any shortcomings rectified quickly.”

“Twenty years after the establishment of the Office it is important to review his powers to see what improvements can be made to the system. In that context if the Ombudsman feels his recommendations are not being acted upon then Parliament needs to take this up as a matter of some seriousness and consider how improvements could be made.”

“We have also noted that the Ombudsman would like to have his powers expanded to include “Own Motion Investigations” in the absence of a formal public complaint, and we will be proposing a resolution to that effect to amend the legislation.”

Parliament is expected to meet in December.