Strategic intentions 2021-26
As Aotearoa New Zealand’s Ombudsman, I give effect to a number of key democratic and human rights measures aimed at safeguarding the rights of individuals and promoting government accountability and transparency.
I am appointed by Parliament to carry out activities balanced between:
- a reactive focus on resolving complaints from the public about government administrative conduct and access to official information, as well as disclosures about serious wrong-doing; and
- a proactive focus on identifying, resolving, and investigating systemic issues, monitoring compliance and good practice, and providing advice, guidance, and training.
Over this and the next four years I will maintain and strive to continually improve my existing practices in the areas of complaints handling, intervention in systemic issues, and provision of advice. I will also continue to expand my proactive activities in a principled and effective manner.
I have expanded my role in the area of monitoring the treatment of people in detention, starting my full programme of formal inspections of aged care facilities. In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I have now been tasked with growing this role further to cover people who are detained, or not free to leave, for isolation or quarantine purposes. I am also at the halfway point in a four-year programme to develop and sustain a support network with my fellow integrity institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. I will continue to build focused oversight of complaints handling and systemic intervention for those agencies involved with supporting children in care, in particular Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children. I intend to grow these expanded functions, which will require additional resource and adapted methodology, in a planned and staged way over the next four years.
The global pandemic has had an immense impact on the demand for my services as well as the functions of those I oversee. These unprecedented times have created new public sector responsibilities and are increasing the mandate and work of the Ombudsman. In the past year alone, I have seen a 24 percent increase in complaints received and I expect the high volume to continue for the foreseeable future. I am building upon a strong framework to re-evaluate the new normal and remain responsive to rapidly changing societal issues.