House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill [HL] - continued          House of Commons

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Clause 37: Transfer of property, staff etc.

105.     This clause introduces Schedule 5, which makes provision for the transfer of property, staff etc. from the bodies and offices abolished under clause 36 to the Ombudsman. See below as to Schedule 5.


106.     This Schedule makes provision for the transfer of staff, property, rights and liabilities from the existing ombudsmen whose offices etc. are being abolished (see clause 36) to the Ombudsman.

Clause 38: Undetermined complaints

107.     This clause provides a general transitional provision relating to undetermined complaints. Basically, if a complaint falls within clause 38(1) or (3) then the complaint can be continued by, or made (or referred) to and continued by, (respectively) the Ombudsman. In such cases, the Ombudsman will deal with the complaint in accordance with the pre-existing legislation relating to that complaint and not under Part 2 of this Bill.


Clause 39: Amendments and repeals

108.     This clause introduces Schedules 6 (consequential amendments) and 7 (repeals).

Clause 40: Commencement

109.     Clauses 40 to 46 will come into force on Royal Assent. The other provisions of the Bill will come into force in accordance with provision made by the Assembly by order.

Clause 41: Interpretation

110.     This clause defines terms used in the Bill. In particular clause 41(6) enables the Ombudsman, for example, to investigate action taken on behalf of a listed authority in the same way as he/she can investigate action by the listed authority itself.

Clause 42: Former health care providers and social landlords: modifications

111.     This clause confers power on the Assembly to make regulations modifying the application of the Bill in respect of complaints made against former family health service providers in Wales, former independent providers in Wales and former social landlords in Wales. This will give the Assembly power to modify appropriately the application of the Bill where a complaint is made against a person who was at the time of the action complained of a family health service provider in Wales, an independent provider in Wales or a social landlord in Wales but subsequently ceased to be such a listed authority. For example, it will enable the Assembly to modify clauses 16 (reports of investigations); 17 (as it relates to publicising reports: health care providers); and clause 19 (action following receipt of a report) in such cases.

Clause 43: Consequential, transitional provisions etc.

112.     This clause empowers the Assembly by order to make consequential, incidental, supplementary, transitional, saving etc. provision in consequence of the Bill. In particular, clause 43(2) empowers the Assembly to amend, repeal or revoke any enactment for such purpose.

Clause 44: Orders, regulations and directions

113.     This clause contains provision applicable to any power in the Bill to make orders or regulations or to issue directions. Clause 44(1) provides that the Assembly's powers under the Bill to make orders or regulations are to be exercisable by statutory instrument. Clause 44(3) provides that such orders and regulations are to be regarded as Assembly general subordinate legislation. Therefore, such orders and regulations will be subject to the Assembly's subordinate legislation procedures.

Clause 45: Extent

114.     The Bill generally extends to England and Wales, although in practice the effect of its application is largely confined to Wales. The Bill also extends to Scotland and Northern Ireland but this is only in respect of amendments and repeals to legislation having effect also in those countries.


115.     There will be initial set up costs in respect of the Ombudsman that will be borne from funding provided by the Assembly. The set up costs will relate to the co-location and relocation of the separate offices of the existing ombudsmen in Wales and the introduction of new case management and IT hardware to underpin that.

116.     The Assembly estimates that the manpower effects of the Bill will be marginal. However, it is considered prudent to plan for a modest increase in resources.


117.     The Bill confers the existing functions of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, the Commission for Local Administration in Wales (including the Local Commissioner for Wales) and the proposed Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales on the Ombudsman. It will not extend the investigation remit of the Ombudsman into the private sector. The compliance costs of the Bill proposals will be borne by the National Assembly. The Assembly considers that the Bill proposals will not result in any additional budgetary costs for the Assembly or other public bodies. The Bill largely maintains the status quo in respect of public audit charging arrangements. The set up and budgetary costs of the new body are dealt with in the above section.

118.     A full copy of the Regulatory Impact Assessment that accompanies the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill and includes a more detailed analysis of the cost and benefits of the Bill is available on


119.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights, as defined by section 1 of that Act. The Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State for Wales, has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of that Act: "In my view the provisions of the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill are compatible with the Convention rights".


120.     Clauses 40 to 46 (inclusive) will come into force on Royal Assent. Clause 40 provides that the other provisions of the Bill will come into force in accordance with provision made by the Assembly by order.


121.     In these Explanatory Notes, the terms set out in the left-hand column below have the meanings attributed to them in the right-hand column.

     "action" or "act"          includes a failure to act (and related expressions are to be construed accordingly)
     Assembly          the National Assembly for Wales
     Assembly First Minister/First Minister           the Assembly First Secretary (see section 53(1) Government of Wales Act 1998)
     GOWA          Government of Wales Act 1998
     local authority in Wales          as defined in clause 41(1) of the Bill
     Ombudsman          the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
     person aggrieved          the member of the public who claims to have sustained injustice or hardship as a result of the action of the listed authority that is the subject of the complaint
     service failure          an alleged failure in a service provided by a listed authority, or an alleged failure by a listed authority to provide a service which it was the authority's function to provide
     Welsh health service body          as defined in clause 41(1) of the Bill
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Prepared: 3 March 2005