Ombudsman Project Update
Since the project team began its work, it has expanded its membership to include representatives from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) unit that deals with public complaints, as well as the offices of the Information Commissioner and the Complaints Commissioner.
In that time, we have also made a number of key decisions concerning the framework within which the new office will operate.
It has been agreed that:
- There will be an overarching Ombudsman Law and consequential amendments to the Police Law, the Freedom of Information Law, the Complaints Commissioner Law and other related legislation.
- The merger will take place at a strategic level with sharing of corporate services.
- The investigation of police complaints, complaints about Government's administrative conduct, and Freedom of Information complaints will continue to be dealt with by specialist staff in each area. As such investigators and analysts in each area will require different training and skill sets.
The outcome of this approach will be that the new office offers a "one stop shop" where citizens and visitors will be able to lodge a range of complaints at a single independent office.
We believe that this is an important development, as among other benefits it will avoid persons who wish to make a complaint against the police having to visit a police station.
The resolution of such matters is essential to effective public administration and facilitates the improvement of the public service. As such complaints should be taken seriously, encouraged, even welcomed.
Acting Commissioner of Police Anthony Ennis who is part of the project team believes the creation of an Ombudsman's Office to deal with public complaints will improve public confidence in the RCIPS and reinforce the principle of police accountability.
"By establishing an independent office that is accountable only to parliament to deal with public complaints against the police we believe this project will assure the public of objective, unbiased investigation of complaints," Mr Ennis remarks. (The police will continue to handle internal complaints within the service.)
Team members are still in the discussion and fact-finding stage of the development process and are presently reviewing laws and reaching out to similar offices in different jurisdictions.
Meeting with affected stakeholders including staff and clients of each office is part of the project development process. The Portfolio of the Civil is also working on a change management plan that will assist all stakeholders with the re-organisation process.
It has also been confirmed that no staff will lose their jobs as part of the restructuring process.