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Ombudsman commends public organisations and public officers who provided excellent service during pandemic

16 November 2022

The Ombudsman, Ms Winnie Chiu officiated at the 25th Presentation Ceremony of The Ombudsman’s Awards today (November 16).  She presented the Grand Award of the Award for Public Organisation to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Award for Public Organisation to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Department of Health (DH), and the Award on Mediation to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).  Individual awards were also given to 61 public officers.

 

Ms Chiu said, “The pandemic has posed unprecedented difficulties and challenges to our community.  In a fast changing environment, there are inevitable gaps in the performance of public organisations and the public’s expectation.  The Office of The Ombudsman endeavours to act as an effective channel of communication between the public and government departments/public organisations.  Through objective case analysis and exposition, we look to resolve conflicts, instigate improvements, and encourage departments/organisations to turn complaints into motivation for lifting the standard and quality of public administration.”

 

The recipient of the Grand Award this year, the EPD, was also a winner of the Award for Public Organisation last year.  The EPD adopted a proactive and positive attitude towards complaints and was committed to building a good public administration culture.  Upon receiving a complaint, the EPD would promptly conduct an investigation, take timely actions, explain the issue to the complainant and provide information on relevant policies, legislation and procedures.   Even if no irregularities were found in a case, the EPD would tender recommendations for improvement as far as practicable.

 

A third-time recipient of the Award for Public Organisation, the AFCD had been handling complaints conscientiously.  In response to The Office’s inquiries, it promptly provided clear and detailed accounts of events and the rationale behind its professional judgement, together with information on the relevant procedures, records and documents, thus enabling The Office to grasp the full picture of a case.

 

The DH faced challenges posed by the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in a dedicated manner.  Although an acute rise in confirmed cases had brought about many complaints and considerable work pressure to the DH, it had remained steadfast in serving the public.  As the pandemic situation eased, improvements were seen in the DH’s issuance of quarantine orders, distribution of anti-epidemic supplies and medicines, as well as its hotline service.

 

The LCSD was presented with the Award on Mediation this year.  Adopting a pragmatic approach, the Department sought to resolve complaints promptly through mediation.  Its staff were willing to explain the issues to complainants, listened to their views so as to reach a win-win solution to the problem, and eliminate misunderstandings and disputes.

 

At the presentation ceremony, Ms Chiu extolled the contributions made by the public officers who won the individual awards.  She said, “While government departments/public organisations formulate policies and directives for public services, the provision of quality service relies on committed and diligent staff.  This year, 61 public officers are commended for their professional and excellent service.  They have earned the recognition of the general public, the department/public organisation concerned and my Office alike.”

 

A full list of the recipients of the individual awards this year, and the experiences and thoughts of some of them about receiving the awards are in Appendices I and II respectively.

 

The Ombudsman’s Awards Scheme was introduced in 1997.  In 1999, the Scheme was extended to honour individual public officers.  In 2018, an additional Award on Mediation for a public organisation was introduced.

 

Office of The Ombudsman

 

For media enquiries, please contact the External Relations Section at enquiry@ombudsman.hk.