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Critical Notes (1) on Janlokpal (Political Ombudsman) Scheme

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Critical Notes (1) on Janlokpal (Political Ombudsman) Scheme

Post  nikhil_sablania on Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:56 pm

The most common criticism of the ombudsman system is that the function is not generally well understood. There is relatively limited documentation and information about their work, often confusion and uncertainty about their role, and with the proliferation of ombudsman offices in different sectors, the confusion can be exacerbated. In spite of the key characteristic of accessibility, ombudsman offices are frequently noted for their inaccessibility. Few citizens are aware of the different ombudsman schemes, how to reach them and how to process a grievance. Inaccessibility is the chief reason why ombudsman offices tend to be under-utilised, especially by the most disadvantaged who are less likely to know of the existence of ombudsman and have more difficulty in registering complaints or grievances. It seems that many ombudsman schemes, particularly in Britain, are hidden by bureaucracy and formality and lack a human face. The question of visibility is linked to more general criticisms of the operational mode of the ombudsman as too reactive, waiting for complaints rather than taking the office to the public or initiating investigations.

The ombudsman office is also criticized for the fact that its effectiveness tends to depend upon the character and personality of the ombudsman officer(s) themselves rather than the system as a whole. Regardless of their organizational framework they are a highly personalized institution and success demands an individual or team who are perceived as independent and impartial, with relevant qualifications and in-depth knowledge of the sector, and can command respect and trust from all parties. Of course, such individuals are hard to find.

Since the ombudsman's powers lie essentially in recommendation there is a genuine concern that the ombudsman lacks 'teeth'. For instance, the annual report (for many ombudsmen the only public document issued) is often considered an inadequate instrument for influencing administration procedures and practice, informing mass media and educating the public. Moreover, the ombudsman is generally powerless to change or reverse decisions. In fact, some believe that the ombudsman's powers as critic and reformer must be strengthened to influence changes in legislation and policy and not just administrative procedure. The ombudsman should be concerned not merely with laws or codes as they stand, but also as they might be.

“Citizen Complaints as Social Indicators: The Negative Feedback Model of Accountability” by Drew Hyman, The Ombudsman Journal, November 6, 1987.”

Critical Notes(2) on Janlokpal (Political Ombudsman) Scheme - Case study Philippine(1A)

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Lok-Pal (Political Ombudsman) System In India Will be a Failure for the SC/ST and Poor Indians - Gurdevlal Surila

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