Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Memorandum by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office (OM 2)

  When I appeared before the Public Administration Select Committee on 31 January to give evidence on Ombudsman matters, I undertook to write to the Committee to provide further information about current developments in Wales. This undertaking was given specifically in the context of arrangements to appoint a successor to Sir Michael Buckley—but I thought it might also be helpful to cover the current position on the Review of Public Sector Ombudsmen Services in Wales.

  On appointments, as you may know Sir Michael currently holds the office of Welsh Administration Ombudsman and that of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales. These are Crown appointments, made by Her Majesty upon recommendation of the Secretary of State for Wales. I can confirm that his department are working actively to secure a replacement for Sir Michael by the time of his expected departure in the summer.

  You will also be aware that in March 2001 the National Assembly for Wales jointly announced with the Secretary of State for Wales that a formal review of Ombudsmen services would be carried out, and that it would seek to take account of simlar reviews being undertaken in England and Scotland. Given that legislative proposals are under consideration in Scotland, and a further consultation exercise expected in England shortly, my colleagues in Wales will wish shortly to carry out their own consultation exercise to ensure they have a system which meets the needs of Welsh people at a time when the shape of public services is changing. I cannot offer you a precise indication of the timing of this, but my colleagues in Wales are anxious to make progress.

  I trust this is helpful. We will of course continue to keep the Committee fully informed of this work as it progresses.

Christopher Leslie

February 2002




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