Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Interview with Ann Abraham – Ombudsman

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In this podcast, I talk to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham. She reflects on a number of issues about the Ombudsman’s role which she has had to face during her time in office. Besides the headline grabbing cases, such as Equitable Life, she emphasises that the role of the Ombudsman is for ordinary people to seek redress from public bodies which have fallen below acceptable standards of administration. In our conversation, she particularly notes the case involving Occupational Pensions where she found  that official information about the security of final salary occupational pension schemes provided over many years by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority and other government bodies was inaccurate, incomplete, unclear and inconsistent. This view was challenged in the courts by the Goverment, and she welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision, in 2008, that provided welcome reinforcement of the Ombudsman’s constitutional position. Their judgment  confirmed that, although the Ombudsman’s findings are not binding on Government, the relevant Minister must either accept them or alternatively establish good reason for not doing so. In effect, the judgment requires the Minister to have ‘due regard’ to the Ombudsman’s findings.

For full information about the work of the Ombudsman, go to http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/home

For the interview with Ann Abraham, go to http://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/orc/resources/law/els/partington13_14/student/podcasts/Abraham.mp3

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Written by lwtmp

September 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

Posted in chapter 6, Podcasts

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