Public Protector and UK counterpart conclude two-day interaction, sign MOU

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela and her United Kingdom counterpart, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, concluded their two-day engagement yesterday with a round table.

The roundtable was held under the theme: “Ombudsman, making a difference in providing remedial action when the state fails its people: the United Kingdom Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman experience.”

Attended by, among others, representatives of the judiciary, the legal sector, academics and ombudsman institutions in the private sector, the roundtable sought to draw valuable lessons from Ms Abraham’s office, which has been in existence for more than 40 years.

Ms Abraham, who is known for taking firm remedial action to rectify administrative wrongs by the UK government, said citizens failed by states deserved not only to get urgent assistance but also to be compensated for the prejudice suffered as a result of the governments’ wrongs.

The Public Protector concurred, adding that governments had a constitutional obligation to implement concrete remedial actions of the ombudsman institutions such as her office unless there were cogent reasons for rejecting the findings.

“It is not enough to just help the complainant get what they have been denied due to the state’s administrative wrongs, you also need to bring the complainants as close as possible to where they would have been had the state done its job correctly,” she said.

The two parties also signed a three year Memorandum of Understanding aimed at fostering cooperation between the two institutions through the sharing of information, expertise and good practices.

The agreement covers, among other things, pairing of investigators for information sharing and exchange visits for persons at leadership levels and operational competence.

Published Date: 
Thursday, August 19, 2010