Investigation without full report (Resolved through informal action)
Some investigations we carry out are dealt in an informal manner, when we classify these types of complaints we classify them as resolved through informal action. Although the Ombudsman is of the view that not all complaints warrant a full report, complaints of this nature are still thoroughly investigated by our team. They are closely monitored and reviewed accordingly. A rich exchange of communication between our office and the entity concerned during the investigation is always a predominant feature in these investigations.
A case sample could be a pensioner bringing to our attention the delay by the relevant department in re-connecting the water supply but after exchanging communication with the complainant and the department(s) concerned, the latter agreeing with the Ombudsman to quickly rectify the problem as they admit that in this particular case there was an oversight on their part and the job was left unattended too long.
Sometimes when a case is being handled informally the Ombudsman may decide to open it as a full investigation and pass it on to one of his investigators; this may happen when he finds out that the complaint is more complex than first envisaged (the water supply was cut off due to one of the pensioner’s neighbours complaining about a water leak downstairs).
Investigation with full report (Formal Investigation)
In a good number of complaints the Ombudsman needs to write a formal report about the complaint. This could happen, for example (refer to the case sample above) if the department does not commit to what was agreed upon with the Ombudsman as the delay in re-connecting the water supply was not tackled by the relevant entity as promised and the delay was now considered inordinate by the Ombudsman, or if the Ombudsman thinks the issue is of particular interest to the public. The report will be made available to the public and will be contained in our Annual Report. It will not give any names out. If we find that the entity has been at fault (Case Sustained) and that you have been treated unfairly, we will recommend what measures the entity should put in place to put things right. We cannot make entities do what we recommend, but they almost always do so. In different circumstances it could be that our decision might be that there has been no fault by the relevant entity (Case Not Sustained). For instance in the case sample of above, we may find that even though there was an element of delay, the department did follow the correct procedures in reaching their decision even though you may have disagreed with.