Current Developments in the UK - complaints procedures and ombudsmen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Internal complaints procedures and ombudsmen, in many ways the poor relations of tribunals and courts, have often been neglected in discussions of administrative justice. However, we know that far more people use internal complaints procedures than use tribunals and courts. The issues they deal with may range from the petty to the tragic but, to the people who make complaints, these issues are important and they may raise matters of fundamental significance to public services and the way they are run.
Although aspects of complaints procedures have always varied across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, devolution has brought about greater variation. Although this is potentially confusing, for the purposes of this chapter it offers us the opportunity to compare different approaches to similar problems and to consider the advantages and disadvantages that each of these brings.
Instead of attempting to describe this complexity, in all its glorious detail, this chapter sets out to show how recent policy developments reflect some of the inherent tensions in complaints procedures and ombudsmen schemes. Although there are considerable areas of overlap in the issues concerning the two mechanisms, it is useful to consider them separately, in traditional procedural terms, with internal complaints mechanisms at the bottom of a ‘pyramid’ and ombudsmen at the top. The final section will consider the relationship between the two mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdministrative Justice in Context
EditorsMichael Adler
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Chapter18
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781847317537
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • complaints
  • ombudsmen
  • administrative Justice

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