14 February 2020
The Legislation Advisory Panel’s consultation feedback report
on a proposed Public Services Ombudsman is published today, Friday 14 February 2020. It concludes that respondents want a new independent ombudsman who will investigate complaints about public service failings.
Deputy David Johnson, Chairman of the Legislation Advisory Panel (LAP), said: “In early 2018 the States Assembly agreed in principle that, subject to further research, an ombudsman should be established.
“The LAP’s consultation, which forms part of that research, clearly shows support for the States’ in principle decision. Rrespondents want an independent ombudsman who will directly investigate and resolve complaints about any entity that is given public money to deliver public services, whether that is a service delivered by Government, by a Parish or an arm’s length body such as Andium Homes. They also want an ombudsman that actively investigates what might have gone wrong, rather than asking a complainant to make their own case.
“The findings from our consultation accord with the recommendations of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Care of Children Review Panel and the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry."
Work will now start, in consultation with key stakeholders, on developing the law changes for consideration by the States Assembly.
In 2000, the Clothier Report recommended that an ombudsman be set up in Jersey to hear complaints about maladministration by States bodies.
In October 2017, the Jersey Law Commission renewed calls for an ombudsman as part of its proposals for a wide-ranging package of reforms on administrative redress (which also looked at tribunals, the States of Jersey Complaints Panel, and the Royal Court). The Jersey Law Commission subsequently published a report in October 2018 on the specific question of an ombudsman.
In March 2017, a Proposition (P.32/2018 with amendments) by Senator Philip Ozouf was passed by the States Assembly. This endorsed the principle of setting up an ombudsman, subject to further research. The Jersey Law Commission’s report is that further research.
A public consultation ran from 19 July to 11 October 2019. The consultation feedback report summarises responses received through the consulation.
The Legislation Advisory Panel is leading the development of the proposed Jersey Public Services Ombudsman on behalf of the Chief Minister. The Panel is appointed to advise the Chief Minister on matters including legislation relating to the courts and court procedures and customary law. It consists of States members drawn from both the executive and non-executive arms of the Assembly.