Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (in Welsh "Ombwdsmon Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus Cymru") was established by the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005 [ [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2005/ukpga_20050010_en_1 The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005] ] . The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales brings together the jurisdictions of various offices he replaced, namely the Local Government Ombudsman for Wales, the Health Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Welsh Administration Ombudsman and the Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales.

The Ombudsman has a dual role. Firstly, under Part 2 of the Act, he investigates complaints by members of the public concerning maladministration, failure in a relevant service or failure to provide a relevant service by any "listed authority" in Wales. Secondly, under Part 3 of the Act, he is responsible for policing ethical standards in local authorities.

The Ombudsman is appointed by the Queen. The current Ombudsman is Peter Tyndall who was appointed in April 2008 [http://www.assemblywales.org/newhome/new-news-third-assembly.htm?act=dis&id=78496&ds=3/2008] .

Maladministration and Failure of Service

The "listed authorities" subject to the Ombudsman's supervision in regard to maladministration or failure of service are:

* The Welsh Assembly
* Local authorities
* Fire authorities
* Police authorities
* Joint boards of all local authorities in Wales
* National park authorities
* The Countryside Council for Wales
* The Environment Agency
* The Forestry Commissioners
* Regional flood defence committees
* Internal drainage boards
* The Care Council for Wales
* Local Health Boards
* NHS trusts and Special Health Authorities
* The Wales Centre for Health
* Community Health Councils
* Various other listed health providers
* Social landlords
* The National Council for Education and Training for Wales
* The Office of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales
* The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
* State school governing bodies in relation to the admission of pupils (and admission and exclusion appeal panels)
* The Arts Council of Wales
* The Sports Council for Wales
* The Wales Tourist Board
* The Welsh Development Agency
* The Welsh Language Board

Ethical Standards and Codes of Conduct

Part of the Ombudsman's role is to investigates complaints that members of local government bodies have behaved wrongly.

The Ombudsman has issued statutory guidance known as "Principles of Good Administration" [ [http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/uploads/publications/272.pdf Principles of Good Administration, 2008] ] . Each local authority must adopt a Code of Conduct based on those principles, which covers members and employees. Local authorities are expected to handle complaints themselves, with the office of the Ombudsman maintaining an overview of investigations in to allegations that members' conduct may have fallen short of the required standards.

The Ombudsman has power to investigate any complaint referred to him. If he concludes that there is evidence which warrants doing so, he will send a formal report either to the authority’s standards committee or to the Adjudication Panel for Wales [ [http://www.adjudicationpanelwales.org.uk/ Adjudication Panel for Wales] ] . It will be for the authority or the Panel to decide if the code of conduct has been broken and if so, what penalty to impose on the member concerned. The maximum penalty the Panel may impose is five years’ disqualification from office.

Those who are subject to such supervision are the following types of authority in Wales and the members of any of them:

* Community council
* County or County Borough Council
* Fire authority
* Police authority
* National park authority

ee also

* Standards Board for England
* Adjudication Panel for England
* Northern Ireland Ombudsman
* Standards Commission for Scotland
* Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000

References

External links

* [http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/content.php?nID=1;lang=1 Public Services Ombudsman for Wales - Official website]
* [http://www.standardsboard.gov.uk Standards Board for England]
* [http://www.ni-ombudsman.org.uk/ Northern Ireland Ombudsman]
* [http://www.standardscommissionscotland.org.uk/ Standards Commission for Scotland]
* [http://www.fixthelaw.co.uk/index.php/Standards_Board_for_England Coverage on a UK law wiki]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/public/features/story/0,,2049122,00.html Guardian news article - How to set the highest standards locally]


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