The Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill 2008 extends the remit of the Ombudsman.
The Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., today the 9th of July 2008, announced the publication of the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill 2008.
The Minister said that ‘the Bill is an important milestone in the policy of increasing transparency and accountability in public administration. By substantially extending the remit of the Ombudsman, this Bill marks a considerable improvement in the rights of citizens to challenge the decisions of State bodies’.
When enacted, this Bill will amend the Ombudsman Act 1980, which established the Office of the Ombudsman and gave the Ombudsman the power to investigate complaints about administrative actions of public bodies which have adversely affected individuals or bodies corporate.
The Bill will extend the powers of the Ombudsman to cover a significant number of new bodies which, at present, are outside the remit of the Ombudsman. This means that the administrative actions of many public bodies, that were previously not subject to investigation by the Ombudsman, will now be open to impartial and independent scrutiny.
The bodies being brought within the remit of the Ombudsman include, in particular, organisations whose actions affect significant numbers of people. The main new areas to be covered are:-
- Vocational Educational Committees
- Higher Education Institutes
- The Courts Service
In addition there are a substantial number of bodies that will also be included within the Ombudsman’s remit such as FÁS, the National Roads Authority, Dublin Transportation Office, the National Treatment Purchase Fund and many other State bodies whose activities affect the daily lives of citizens.
As well as widening the remit of the Ombudsman, the Bill:
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