The House Business Committee convened in a special session to discuss the Ombudsplan for 2022 and 2023.
In his introduction, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon, mentioned the importance of strengthening ties between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Parliament. The Ombudsman highlighted the importance of facilitating dialogue between the two entities to find a way for reports sent to Parliament by the Office of the Ombudsman to be discussed to make the role of the Ombudsman more effective, a matter on which public opinion has consistently insisted.
Moreover, the Ombudsman praised the positive change in approach towards public administration since the 8th of March, noting the shift towards a proactive stance with no confrontations. He explained that recommendations made by the Ombudsman and the Commissioners are based on meticulously proven facts, and more often than not, the public administration accepts the recommendations.
In addition, since his appointment, Judge Zammit McKeon has introduced a novel system. If a Permanent Secretary does not act upon a report from the Ombudsman, the report will be forwarded to the Governance Section at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) instead of going directly to the Prime Minister. This contributes to further scrutiny and accountability.
Furthermore, the Ombudsman underscored the necessity of making the Office of the Ombudsman more visible and accessible to the public. This, he stated, is imperative for reaffirming the trust of the people in the Office and he will ensure that he will continue to serve as a conduit for redress for those who have suffered from maladministration without unnecessary conflict.
The Speaker of the House responded positively to the Ombudsman’s remarks, affirming that he had already publicly agreed on the need for a mechanism enabling Parliament to discuss reports submitted by the Ombudsman.
At the end of the sitting, the House Business Committee recommended to the Plenary Session the approval of the budget for the Office of the Ombudsman.Media Releases