The systemic intervention process
We carry out systemic investigations on significant and high-profile issues. An investigation may be short and focused or it may cover wide-ranging issues and take a number of months to complete.
We monitor developments in the public sector to find wider issues. We gather direct feedback from the public, information from our complaints teams and government agencies and media reports. We research these issues and decide what needs to be taken further. Sometimes that means working with the agency directly or launching an investigation.
When we decide to work directly with an agency, this may be a reasonably informal process, or we may agree to a more formally structured resolution plan.
Systemic improvement investigations are only undertaken after a thorough scoping of the issues.
The investigation process is governed by the Ombudsmen Act and largely works the same way as any other Ombudsman investigation.
We work closely with the agency as part of the investigation. We clearly identify the scope and purpose of the investigation at the outset. We then gather information from the agency through meetings and information requests.
We may also decide to consult with or ask for information from others. In most cases we will interview both staff from the agency and other people.
After investigating, the Ombudsman will prepare a report on the agency’s acts and decisions.
The Ombudsman may tell the agency how it can do better. This is called a recommendation. The Ombudsman has no power to force an agency to accept a recommendation, but most are accepted. The final investigation report will usually be tabled in Parliament and published on our website.