The Ombudsmen are appointed by Parliament to give effect to a number of key democratic and human rights measures aimed at safeguarding the rights of individuals and promoting government accountability and transparency.
In essence, we investigate, review and inspect the administrative conduct of public sector agencies and provide advice and guidance, in order to ensure people are treated fairly in New Zealand.
The activities we carry out are balanced between:
• a reactive focus on resolving complaints from the public about government administrative conduct and access to official information; and
• a proactive focus on identifying, resolving and investigating systemic administrative issues, monitoring public sector compliance and good practice, and providing advice, guidance and training.
Following an organisational review, I have arranged the Office into two discrete operational areas to reflect the balance between these activities—the Complaints Resolution Group (responsible for complaint handling) and the Compliance and Practice Group (responsible for all other proactive activities). We have also received increased resourcing in recent years to focus on new and developing areas of work within the Compliance and Practice Group.
As a result, I have decided to review the outcomes framework set out in our Strategic Intentions document to better capture the linkages between the services we currently deliver, and the outcomes and impacts we are seeking to achieve. This review should be completed during the 2017/18 year, and so the next Strategic Intentions document for 2018-22 will be significantly refreshed.
What I can say at present is that we are well placed over 2017-21 to fully realise the benefits of greater efficiency and investment in our complaint handling operations. In addition, we will continue to expand our proactive activities in a principled and effective manner, in accordance with the trust that Parliament has placed in us to carry out this important work.