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The Ombudsman commends positive attitude of Government departments and public officers in complaint management

30 October 2014

The Ombudsman, Ms Connie Lau announced at the 18th Ombudsman’s Awards Presentation Ceremony today (30 October 2014) that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (“LCSD”) won this year’s Grand Award, while the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (“AFCD”) and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (“HKEAA”) were the runners-up. Individual awards were given to 41 public officers for their outstanding performance in providing quality customer services. More than 200 guests from various Government departments and public organisations attended the annual presentation ceremony.


Ms Connie Lau said, “Along with heightened expectations from the public, this Office has gained a deeper understanding of how heavy the work pressure can be for the departments and organisations in their provision of public services and handling of complaints. When we initiate our inquiries and investigations, it invariably means more work for the Government departments concerned.”


The Ombudsman was pleased to note that many public officers had handled complaints in a proactive manner instead of seeing things in a negative way. She commended the departments, organisations and public officers for their efforts in providing quality services and handling complaints effectively in the past year. She said, “All awardees at today’s ceremony have set good examples by adopting a positive attitude.”


The Office’s publicity campaign, “Say NO to Maladministration”, has Taichi as its theme and includes a new TV commercial. Ms Lau noted, “The Chinese slogan contains the word “way”, which has the dual meanings of a proper channel to lodge administrative complaints; and that complaints must be lodged with justification. Throughout the years, we have adhered to the principle that we will handle complaints in a fair and impartial manner if they are justified.”


LCSD, the winner of the Grand Award this year, is one of those departments of which the services directly affect the public and it is no surprise that it receives a lot of public complaints. Upon receipt of the Office’s referrals, LCSD has always responded with a positive attitude and it has started receiving such complaints through encrypted email for speedier processing. Moreover, LCSD has supported mediation as an alternative complaint resolution method for handling complaints. This positive attitude towards complaints is exemplary among Government departments and makes LCSD a deserving winner of the Grand Award.


The other two winning organisations, AFCD and HKEAA, have also adopted a positive and cooperative attitude towards the Office’s investigations, giving timely and comprehensive replies, and they are highly receptive to The Ombudsman’s recommendations. In one particular case, AFCD accepted the Office’s suggestions to resolve a complaint by mediation. The ten-month dispute in question was then successfully settled and AFCD won the complainant’s appreciation. HKEAA has shown a very positive attitude in handling complaints and often accepted The Ombudsman’s recommendations. Accordingly, the number of complaints against HKEAA has dropped by more than 60 percent in recent years.


At the ceremony, 41 public officers were given individual awards for their exemplary performance in providing quality customer services throughout the year. A full list of the awardees this year is in the Appendix.


The Ombudsman’s Awards Scheme was introduced in 1997. In 1999, the Scheme was extended to honour individual public officers for their efforts in contributing to a fair, open, accountable and efficient public administration. In 2011, the scope of the Awards was further extended to recognise public officers’ efforts in handling enquiries and complaints relating to the Code on Access to Information.


Office of The Ombudsman
30 October 2014