Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) Marie Anderson presents the Office’s first Case Digest, providing summaries of a number of recent complaints received by the Office. It reflects the varied nature of the cases NIPSO deals with and the range of outcomes which can follow either an initial assessment or a full investigation.
Cases included in the Case Digest for spring 2019 include – among others – an investigation into a complaint that the slow response of medical staff has led to a patient losing his sight, a case about South Eastern Regional College, which waived course fees following an intervention from the Ombudsman or that the former Department of Environment failed to monitor the planning agreement with George Best Belfast City Airport.
The Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman will generally only consider complaints after the public service provider has considered the issues of complaint through their formal complaints procedure.
If NIPSO decides to investigate a complaint the Ombudsman will ask the public body to send all relevant details. The Office has the power to compel bodies to provide documents and to interview officials. If the Ombudsman finds that there has been maladministration (ie. failure to apply the rules properly, unreasonable delay, rudeness, bias, ineptitude, etc.) she may make recommendations to address it. These recommendations look at providing a remedy for the complainant and what can be done by the body to prevent similar failures in the future.
Source: Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO), UK