Making the Ombudsman Effective

Making the Ombudsman Effective

The aim of this seminar is to examine the role of the Ombudsman in oversight and review of decision making by public bodies, and in particular:

  • The making of the complaint and remedies sought;
  • The practice of making an effective complaint and its process;
  • Perceived problems and reform.
  • Making a complaint the starting points

Ombudsman schemes were set up by Central Government primarily to monitor the behaviour of public bodies and to allow members of the public to challenge the administrative decisions of public bodies. The Ombudsman schemes often provided the only means of redress for “maladministration” and the administrative failings of public bodies. In the process of investigation the Ombudsman has a broader remit over factual inquiry than the High Court in Judicial Review proceedings.

The Ombudsman's remit, in general, is limited to investigating administrative actions only; not to consider complaints about the merits of decisions or interfere with the public bodies’ discretion over particular issues. Therefore, there is a clear distinction between the Ombudsman's remedy for dealing with issues of maladministration and issues of legality (dealt with by the High Court or Upper Tribunal in judicial review claims or in statutory appeals).

The key issue with the challenge to any administrative decision making is whether the remedy sought matches the issue to be challenged and whether the remedy sought is effective.

Author: Timothy Baldwin

Publication date: December 10 2015