The Public Service Ombudsmen (‘PSO’) Group held its semi-annual meeting at Gibraltar House in Brussels at the beginning of the Summer.
PSO Group meetings provide Public Services Ombudsmen with a forum for the exchange of ideas at first hand and an opportunity to discuss areas of common interest. The PSO meetings also enable Ombudsmen to provide each other with updates on the work carried out in their respective countries and offices.
The PSO Group meeting in Brussels was chaired by the Public Services Ombudsman of Gibraltar, and attendees included the Public Services Ombudsmen of Ireland; Northern Ireland; Scotland; and Wales; the United Kingdom Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman; and the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Malta.
The meeting was hosted by the Public Services Ombudsman of Gibraltar, Dilip Dayaram Tirathdas MBE and his team, Nicholas Caetano – Deputy Ombudsman and Nadine Pardo-Zammit – Executive Assistant Ombudsman.
The Public Services Ombudsman Office investigates complaints by the public about any acts or omissions by Government Departments and the Authorities that are listed in the Schedule to the Public Services Ombudsman’s Act. The Ombudsman normally investigates complaints if these have not been adequately dealt with under the relevant complaints procedure in the Government Department or Authority concerned.
The aim of the Ombudsman is to ‘put things right’ for members of the public who may have suffered hardship or an injustice resulting from the maladministration or poor service by a Government Department or Authority. However, the Ombudsman must also decide whether an alternative legal remedy exists, which may be more appropriate for a prospective complainant to pursue. As an example, the Ombudsman will not conduct an investigation where there may be a more appropriate remedy for the person aggrieved by way of legal proceedings.
The Public Services Ombudsman can offer a range of potential non-judicial remedies, which can include but are not limited to recommending the following:
• an apology;
• an explanation;
• a correction of an error;
• that the Government Department or Authority changes its practices, procedures and systems; and
• that the Government Department or Authority provides the complainant with financial redress.
Top photo from left to right:
Nick Bennett, Wales PSO; Marie Anderson, Northern Ireland PSO; Rosemary Agnew, Scotland PSO; Peter Tyndall, Ireland PSO, Rob Behrens CBE, United Kingdom PHSO; Michael King, United Kingdom LGO; Dilip Dayaram Tirathdas MBE, Gibraltar PSO; Sir Graham Watson; Paul Borg, Director General Office of the Ombudsman of Malta; Anthony Mifsud, Malta PSO; Nadine Pardo-Zammit, Executive Assistant Ombudsman; Donal Gallighan, Director of the Ombudsman Association; and Nicholas Caetano, Deputy Ombudsman of Gibraltar.