Public Service: Ombudsman

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 21st December 2016.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill, Cm 9374, published on 5 December, does not make provision for findings of maladministration and recommendations to be made binding on government departments and other public bodies.

Photo of Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

The draft Bill requires the Ombudsman to send a statement setting out her findings and any recommendations to the department or public body in question. As now, it will be for the department or public body to decide whether and how to give effect to any such recommendations. The legislation retains existing powers that allow the Ombudsman to draw attention to unremedied hardship or injustice where she considers it has not been or will not be put right.

This is a significant power that includes the ability to require information about how a designated authority will respond to the Ombudsman's findings and to bring that information to the attention of others – for example, by laying the report before Parliament or sending it to members of a local authority.

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