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CABINET OFFICE TO REVIEW ENGLISH PUBLIC SECTOR OMBUDSMEN

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A new review will consider whether public sector ombudsmen could improve their service to people complaining about ...
A new review will consider whether public sector ombudsmen could improve their service to people complaining about local authorities, the NHS, some central government departments and other public bodies.

On the day that the government's White Paper on Modernising Government was published, minister for the cabinet office, Jack Cunningham said that the review will examine the scope for a more 'joined-up' Ombudsmen system for England.

In response to a parliamentary question from Rosie Winterton MP (Doncaster Central), Dr Cunningham said:

'I am pleased to announce that the government is about to undertake a review of the organisation of public sector ombudsmen in England. The review will be conducted by a team in the cabinet office and its terms of reference are as follows:

'The review will consider whether the present arrangements for the organisation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Health Service Commissioner for England and the Local Government Ombudsman in England are in the best interest of complainants and others against a background of moves towards the more integrated provision of public services; and whether those arrangements hinder achieving better value for money.

'The review will also consider the potential interaction between those ombudsmen and other independent complaints authorities, such as the Independent Housing Ombudsman and the Data Protection Registrar.

'The review will make recommendations about the public sector ombudsmen, including recommendations on their statutory powers and duties, having regard for constitutional issues.

'This review will support the Modernising Government agenda by examining the scope for a more 'joined-up' ombudsman system for England.'

NOTES

1. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration investigates complaints from members of the public who have suffered injustice as a result of alleged maladministration by certain central government departments and non-departmental public bodies. He also investigates complaints about refusals to provide access to official information.

2. The Health Service Commissioner for England investigates complaints from members of the public about the NHS when a local investigation of the complaint has failed to satisfy the complainant. Both the offices of Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England are currently held by Mr Michael Buckley.

3. The Local Government Ombudsmen in England investigate complaints of injustice arising from maladministration by English local authorities and certain other bodies. There are three Local Government Ombudsmen in England, currently Edward Osmotherly, Patricia Thomas and Jerry White, each dealing with complaints from different parts of the country.

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