Font size






September 24, 2012

Dr Richard Kirkham, Senior Law Lecturer from the School of Law at the University of Sheffield came over to Gibraltar from the 3rd to the 7th September 2012, to conduct an evaluation study of the work we carry out in our office. The background to this proposal is that the direction of Dr Kirkham’s current work is to move from reviewing the possibilities of the ombudsman institution to finding ways to evaluate the real impact of the institution.

Dr Kirkham with the Ombudsman on a tour visit of the Upper Rock of Gibraltar

There has been surprisingly little written on the topic in the ombudsman community itself, but Dr Kirkham believes that his previous work on the ombudsman provided him with the background knowledge and understanding of the institution necessary to put together a thorough review of our office. He has a reasonably clear vision of what an ombudsman office should, ideally, be achieving and how it should, ideally, fit into the wider constitutional/governance framework.
Ultimately, his ambition would be to put together a report which we might be able to use to think about the position of our ombudsman scheme after 14 years of operation and possibly make available more generally. Such a report on our office may also be of use in terms of fostering wider debate about our office or defending it, as the case may be.
The Gibraltar Public Services Ombudsman is set within the classical ombudsman schemes (albeit with an addition and flavour of our own idiosyncrasies given our size) which has been operating in Gibraltar since 1999. Thus we are a relatively young institution which will allow Dr Kirkham to carry out research from its main original players, who are still available for interview and comment. 
Ever since he was appointed Ombudsman, Mario Hook’s aim has been to deliver a first class service to those who come to us for assistance. For the past ten years this office has been attending conferences, seminars and meetings whenever possible in order to gather as much information as possible so as to ensure that the Ombudsman’s aim of providing an excellent service to the community as a whole can be achieved. Mr Hook’s opinion is that the Office of the Ombudsman in Gibraltar already provides a very good service and we continue to seek improvement. 
Dr Kirkham together with the Ombudsman enjoying the views of the Straits of Gibraltar and the African Continent at Europa Point, Gibraltar
Mr Hook unhesitatingly welcomes the proposed evaluation study of this office. We have no doubt that Dr Kirkham’s work will provide a good overview as to the worth of the Office in the community and possibly a roadmap for its future direction especially in these changing times.