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Public Service Ombudsman Bill

Volume 618: debated on Monday 5 December 2016

I am pleased today to publish the draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill.

The draft Bill sets out the Government’s plans for a new public service ombudsman. The Government want to make it as simple as possible for everyone to pursue a complaint about public services. The measures in this draft Bill will ensure that anyone who makes a justified complaint can expect a rapid, effective remedy and that their voice will be heard. The new body will provide simpler access to individuals who believe they have suffered injustice or hardship and to share the learning from failures to improve services for everyone.

The draft Bill would abolish the present parliamentary and health service ombudsman and the local government ombudsman and create a new organisation with strengthened governance and accountability. It would improve access to the ombudsman’s services by allowing for all complaints to be made with or without the help of a representative and in a variety of formats to meet the digital age. The draft Bill provides powers designed to allow the new ombudsman to work more effectively including an explicit role in championing improvements in complaints handling.

I am grateful for the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for their work in championing an improved ombudsman service. I look forward to Parliament and the public’s consideration of our proposals.