Research and analysis

Law Commission: Public Services Ombudsmen

This document contains the following information: Law Commission: Public services ombudsmen.


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This document contains the following information: Law Commission: Public Services Ombudsmen.

The public services ombudsmen provide a vital redress mechanism for aggrieved citizens; they are free for complainants, confidential and swift.

This report deals with the five public services ombudsmen operating in England and Wales: (1) The Parliamentary Commissioner; (2) The Local Government Ombudsman; (3) The Health Service Ombudsman; (4) The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales; and (5) The Housing Ombudsman.

The overarching aim is to recommend modernisation of the statutes for these ombudsmen: clarifying them where required; reforming them where the Commission thinks this would facilitate the work of the ombudsmen; increasing transparency and accountability where necessary.

The Commission could not consider fundamental institutional design, and did not look at the creation of new ombudsmen or the amalgamation of the existing ombudsmen. The subject matter of the ombudsmen’s work or the definition of ‘maladministration’ was also not considered.

The report is divided in to 5 parts including the recommendation to commission a general review of the role of the public services ombudsmen and their relationship with other institutions for administrative justice, such as judicial review or tribunals; access to the ombudsmen; the ombudsmen process; resolution, report and sharing experience; and independence and accountability.

Related publications and all Law Commission reports, consultation papers and announcements are available on the Law Commission website.

This paper was laid before Parliament in response to a legislative requirement or as a Return to an Address and was ordered to be printed by the House of Commons.

Published 13 July 2011