Ombudsman Tables Annual Report; Keeps A Watchful Eye On Service Delivery
Today, Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman, Mary McFadyen, tabled the office’s annual report for 2013.Today, Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman, Mary McFadyen, tabled the office’s annual report for 2013. She acknowledged the work done prior to her arrival in April 2014 and thanked Acting Ombudsman Janet Mirwaldt for her leadership and direction since July 2013. Going forward, McFadyen said she plans to keep an eye on the way the province is providing services to a growing population. “When the population increases, so do demands on government services. As an independent and impartial third party, I want to make sure that fairness doesn’t take a back seat.”
She plans to do this in four ways and says there are examples in the 2013 report that have caught her attention:
Focus on how people are being served: McFadyen will be watching for how government offices serve the public. She said: “We are all human, and overnment ministries and agencies do make mistakes sometimes. The important question is: when the people affected raise concerns, how are those concerns addressed?” (See “Tree-Trimming Surprise” p. 7.)
Consider people whose daily lives are affected by government services: People who interact with government every day need to know that, if they are concerned about a situation, they can contact the Ombudsman’s offi ce for an independent view. For example, facilities designated in The Ombudsman Act, 2012 have an obligation to make sure residents know this. McFadyen wants to ensure that they are meeting these obligations so residents and families will know what kinds of concerns they can take to the Ombudsman. (See “Bridging Communications” p. 5.)
Watch for trends: The office will continue to monitor complaints coming in to see if there are some issues where a systemic review would serve the public better than working on individual fi les. (See “Review in Progress” p. 15.)
Continue being proactive: McFadyen would like to continue to work with government ministries and agencies to identify ways to improve services to the public, even before complaints come in. She points to services like “Fine Art of Fairness” workshops that her office provides to public servants and “Fairness Lens” reviews – voluntary reviews where an organization invites the Ombudsman in to review a new or existing service.
The report is available online at www.ombudsman.sk.ca. The Ombudsman is an Officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan who promotes and protects fairness in the design and delivery of government services. She has the authority to take complaints from members of the public who believe the government administration has not dealt fairly with them. The office provides a range of services, including investigation (reviews), facilitated communication and early resolution. Government administration includes any ministry, branch, board, agency or commission responsible to the Crown, and any public servant in Saskatchewan. The Ombudsman operates under The Ombudsman Act, 2012.
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