Gibraltar Chronicle - Ombudsman urges action on outstanding recommendations

27-Aug-2019

The Ombudsman has called for a formal mechanism to be put in place to compel the public administration to act upon his recommendations.

This comes as a number of public service providers failed to act upon the recommendations made in respect of five complaints lodged with the Ombudsman’s office.
These involve the Gibraltar Electricity Authority, the Gibraltar Health Authority, the Housing Authority and the Driver and Licensing department.

In his annual report the Ombudsman, Dilip Dayaram Tirathdas, explained that his office had investigated the complaints and found instances of “maladministration and injustices”.

The Ombudsman made a number of recommendations in his annual report of 2017, but these are “still pending a satisfactory resolution”, Mr Tirathdas said in his latest report.

Findings of maladministration are normally dealt with by the Ombudsman by way of formal recommendations being made to the Public Service Provider concerned.

In some instances, however, the Ombudsman may address his recommendations directly to the Chief Secretary.

This is usually the case where the Ombudsman’s recommendations include proposed amendments to legislation, which may be considered necessary in order to avoid the continuation of maladministration or to minimise further injustices occurring of a similar type.

The report states that although the Ombudsman does not currently have any power under the Public Services Ombudsman Act 1998 to compel the public administration to implement or act upon his recommendations, these recommendations are normally given careful consideration by the Public Service Provider and in most instances are taken on board.

But, the report highlights five instances where this did not happen and where outcomes of investigations have not been acted on by the relevant department.

These include a complaint lodged against a decision made by the Housing Authority to remove a man from the tenancy of the flat in Gibraltar where he had lived, together with his parents, for all of his life.

Having investigated the matter, the Ombudsman formed the view that the decision taken by the Housing Authority was “clearly unreasonable and unfair”.

He recommended that the position be regularised.

In a separate case the Ombudsman made a number of recommendations to the GHA regarding the systems implemented when accepting items from patients for safe-keeping.

This came as a result of a gold chain being lost whilst in the care of GHA staff.

Despite making a number of recommendations including offering the patient a reasonable settlement for the item lost, these have not been acted upon.


Article by Cristina Cavilla, Gibraltar Chronicle 27-08-19