Bermuda 's Ombudsman Arlene Brock gave us a presentation and PowerPoint presentation on the role of the Ombudsman.  Highlighting cases and actions that she and her department have undertaken she also presented some wonderful pictures from the Achieves

8th June Meeting: Borrowing the idea from Turkey, the Swedish King appointed a high level official in 1712 to keep an eye on royal courtiers whilst he travelled - this evolved into the first fully independent modern Ombudsman in 1809. The idea has mushroomed in the last 30 years - today there are 112 national Ombudsmen throughout the world. In Bermuda, the office was established by the Constitution and is governed by the Ombudsman Act 2004 . Our first Ombudsman Arlene Brock was appointed August 1, 2005 by H. E. the Governor, Sir John Vereker (after consultation with the Premier and the Opposition Leader) as the first National Ombudsman for Bermuda.

Most Public Authorities appreciate that the Ombudsman helps to make public services more effective. She also protects public servants from frivolous complaints.  It is an offence to mislead, omit information or otherwise obstruct the Ombudsman's inquiries. 

The Ombudsman's staff investigates complaints about the administrative actions of Public Authorities, including Government Departments, Boards and Bodies established or funded by the Legislature.  This is an independent, non-government office that provides an impartial form of alternative dispute resolution which is less formal and more flexible and accessible than going through the Courts.  Anyone who feels personally and unjustly treated by an administrative action of a Public Authority can make a complaint . Services are free and available to everyone.

You can complain about: any administrative action - small or big (a decision, recommendation made or act done or omitted, including failure to provide reasons for a decision);  an administrative action that appears to be bad, unfair, arbitrary, discriminatory, unreasonable, oppressive, inefficient, improper, negligent, unreasonably delayed or based on a mistake of law or fact.  You should only complain only after you have already tried to work things out with the Public Authority or resolve the matter through existing procedures (unless it is unreasonable to expect you to do so). You can make a complaint by letter, email, fax, telephone or in person.

After you have made a complaint the Ombudsman may:  refer you to an appropriate complaints authority ; make preliminary inquires, which often resolves a complaint without the need for an investigation;  conduct a full, confidential investigation, reviewing all relevant documentation and taking evidence (under oath if necessary); mediate the matter if this seems most appropriate; make recommendations.

The Ombudsman can recommend:  an omission or a delay be rectified; a decision or recommendation be cancelled or altered; reasons should be given for actions and decisions; a practice, procedure or course of conduct should be altered; a statute or regulation be reviewed; on how to improve procedures and policies.