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Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Progressive House,
33 Wellington Place,
Belfast,
Co. Antrim,
BT1 6HN

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

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NIPSO – Organisational Profile

The Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) was established in April 2016. This was in accordance with the Public Services Ombudsman Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (“the Act”).

The Act replaced and extended the remit of the previous offices of Assembly Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints. It has improved public access to redress, strengthened the powers of investigation, enhanced public interest reporting and increased the Office’s visibility and profile.

Its main effects are:

1. The previous offices of Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (AOCC) were replaced by the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) on 1 April 2016.

2. The previous jurisdiction in employment matters was removed and the jurisdiction in relation to commercial and contractual matters extended.

3. In addition to an extended range of public service providers – including Higher and Further Education Colleges and, from April 2017, all NI publicly funded schools - the Ombudsman now has jurisdiction to investigate complaints about the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the Assembly Commission and Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (in relation to judicial appointments).

4. From April 2018 the Ombudsman has had the power to investigate an issue on her ‘own initiative’ without first receiving a complaint.

5. NIPSO will also assume (subject to Northern Ireland Assembly agreement) a new function of Complaints Standards Authority.

6. With effect from 2018-19 the Act also provides for accountability mechanisms through reporting to the Audit Committee of the NI Assembly in respect of use of the Office’s Resources.

The statutory timetable for the new powers and remits was spread over a 3-4 year period, with new bodies coming into jurisdiction progressively. This has resulted in an increased volume of complaints and other contacts with the Office. The additional functions of ‘Own Initiative’ powers and Complaints Standards Authority (the latter commencing at a date to be agreed with the NI Assembly) bring further significant changes for the Office.

Local Government Commissioner for Standards

In addition to the above the Ombudsman also discharges under statute the functions of the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards. This is an increasingly prominent role which includes the conduct of investigations of alleged breaches of the Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors, followed where appropriate by adjudications and an appeals mechanism. Also included is the development and review of related guidance and procedures and the delivery of training and awareness sessions with Local Councils and the Councillor community. These functions are collectively termed “Local Government Ethical Standards” (LGES). LGES is funded from a separately identified portion of the overall annual NIPSO budget.

Latest jobs from Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Senior Casework Officer (Fixed-Term for a period of 12 months)

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Belfast

  • Salary:

    As per scale

  • Added:

    09/07/2024

  • Closing:

    29/07/2024

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Progressive House,
33 Wellington Place,
Belfast,
Co. Antrim,
BT1 6HN