Ombudsman investigates each case impartially as independent watchdog of departments
8 July 2022
In response to media enquiries, the Office of The Ombudsman issued the following statement today (8 July):
The Ombudsman, Ms Winnie Chiu, noted media reports about queries raised at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on 7 July as to whether the Office has sufficient power and independence to monitor maladministration by government departments. In the queries, it was said that, in certain cases where the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) had refused the public’s requests for information, the Office held that the HKPF was not in breach of the Code on Access to Information, and that some departments had refused to act upon the Office’s recommendations.
Ms Chiu stressed that the Office independently exercises the powers under The Ombudsman Ordinance (Cap. 397) to investigate complaints about maladministration by government departments and public bodies with a view to enhancing the quality and standard of public administration. One of the Office’s functions is investigating cases about non-compliance with the Code by government departments (including the HKPF), but it is precluded from pursuing other complaints against the HKPF unrelated to the Code.
Upon completion of its investigations, the Office will make recommendations to the departments concerned for improvement based on its findings and monitor the progress of their implementation. In 2021-22, the Office made a total of 139 recommendations upon completion of its investigations. As at 30 June, 132 (95 per cent) of these had been accepted by the departments for implementation while six (5 per cent) were under consideration. Only one was not accepted.
The Office has stringently applied the provisions of the Code to scrutinise impartially each complaint case involving non-compliance with the Code by departments. The Office conducts objective analysis based on the finding of facts, and spells out its conclusions and justifications clearly in the investigation reports. The investigation reports of some Code-related cases of significant public interest are available on the Office’s website for public viewing.
Office of The Ombudsman
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