The Parliamentary Ombudsman at the launch of the European International Ombudsman Institute Learning Academy in Manchester

The European International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) marked a significant milestone with the launch of its Learning Academy during a two-day conference in Manchester. The event, hosted by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman of the United Kingdom and sponsored by the International Ombudsman Institute, highlights its commitment to advancing the role of Ombudsmen across Europe. The event was attended by Ombudsman members of the IOI Europe, including newly elected members of the IOI European Region Board.

Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, participated in this significant inaugural event, which is the first official occasion since his election to the IOI Regional Board. During the coming days, the Ombudsman will also attend the European Regional Board meeting, which both the outgoing and incoming boards will attend.

The opening day featured a welcome address by Mr Rob Behrens, CBE, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Health Service Ombudsman of the United Kingdom. He underscored the significance of the meeting and the establishment of the Learning Academy. The session also included opening remarks from Chris Field, IOI President and Ombudsman of Western Australia; Dr Andreas Pottakis, President of the European IOI and Greek Ombudsman; and Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State, Cabinet Office UK.

A strategic discussion on the European IOI Academy formed the core of the first day’s agenda. This dialogue focused on identifying the academy’s target audience, selecting tutors, methods of knowledge sharing, encouraging participation, and exploring funding, administration, and organisational strategies.

The session gained further depth with contributions from Mr Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. He shared his unique insights and experiences during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The day concluded with robust discussions on Peer Review and proposals for establishing an IOI Senate and Consultancy set-up.

This conference marked a pivotal step in strengthening the network and capabilities of Ombudsmen across Europe, underscoring the IOI’s dedication to fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration among its members.

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