Pre-appointment hearing with the Government's preferred candidate for the post of Local Government Ombudsman Contents

2The requirements of the post

10. The Local Government Ombudsman and Chair of the Commission for Local Administration has overall responsibility for the leadership and direction of the LGO. The focus is on the organisation’s mission statement, ‘To remedy injustice and improve local services’, and four strategic objectives:

11.The personal authority to investigate complaints is vested in the Local Government Ombudsman and delivered in practice by LGO staff acting under delegated authority. All matters in relation to the conduct of investigations, the exercise of statutory discretion, the determination of the outcome of complaints, the recommendation of remedies, and the publication of casework outcomes, reports and advice are determined by, or on behalf of, the Ombudsman. In the exercise of these quasi-judicial functions the Ombudsman is independent of Government and local government and accountable to Parliament. This accountability is primarily exercised by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and the Ombudsman is expected to attend accountability hearings as required. Decisions on individual complaints can only be challenged through Judicial Review.

12.The Chair is accountable to the Secretary of State in their role as Chair but not in the exercise of their personal authority as Local Government Ombudsman. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Commission fulfils its statutory purpose, delivers to agreed corporate and business plan priorities and that its affairs are conducted with probity. In particular, this means ensuring high standards of corporate governance are demonstrated at all times and that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control.

Box 1: The LGO’s leadership responsibilities

The leadership responsibilities of the role are described in the Ombudsman’s objectives:

  • Intellectual leadership and direction: provide personal authority and oversight over all jurisdictional matters in relation to casework particularly Ombudsman’s discretion and public reports;
  • LGO ambassador: promote a positive reputation and authoritatively articulate LGO policy position to create strategic impact and influence;
  • Strategic leadership and accountability: ensure high performance and excellent service standards through organisational leadership and public accountability;
  • Corporate ‘cultural’ leadership: promote a confident vision and robust values by setting and maintaining the tone of an open and accountable public body.

Source: DCLG/LGO Candidate Information Pack

13.The person specification notes that the Local Government Ombudsman is a prominent figure, often dealing with controversial issues. As well as being a skilled arbitrator, she or he must be resilient, command public confidence and the respect of local government. The successful candidate will have a commitment to the highest level of conduct, integrity, objectivity and independence, combined with both mature and balanced judgement and strong intellectual ability. She or he will be committed to equality of opportunity and the purpose and values of the Commission. The successful candidate will be a person who is comfortable in a change culture, is adaptable and flexible, and who understands and recognises reputational risk.

Box 2: Selection criteria

Essential criteria

1)Evidence of a capacity to operate independently in a quasi-judicial environment, with the intellectual ability to analyse complex issues quickly, deploying good analytical and interpretative skills, with a track record of reaching sound and balanced judgements.

2)Evidence of strong strategic leadership skills with experience of senior management in a medium size organisation, successful leadership of organisational change and a proven ability to deliver and work within a complex governance arrangement.

3)A track record of a performance orientated approach to management founded on sound financial management and budgetary control and on good interpersonal skills in managing senior staff.

4)Understanding of the policy and political context within which the Local Government Ombudsman operates.

5)Excellent communication skills, together with a proven capacity to establish credibility with stakeholders, build constructive working relationships and deal effectively with the media.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of managing transitional arrangements in a public body.
  • An understanding or experience of the workings of Local Government.

Source: DCLG/LGO Candidate Information Pack

2 November 2016