Maladministration and arbitrary actions by the executive is a common phenomenon in the Government Organizations/Departments. The aggrieved person may approach the normal courts of law to get his/her grievances be redressed, however, in some countries including Pakistan, the judicial system is very slow, lengthy and expensive. To deal with the slow judicial procedures, special tribunals i.e. Banking Tribunal, Privatization Tribunal etc. have been established. Service tribunals have also been established to provide remedy to the public servants. However, the courts remain loaded with heavy work related to civil, criminal and constitutional matters. This leaves a very low priority of courts to deal with the personal grievances arising out of the maladministration, arbitrary application of rule, regulation and unlawful procedures.
2. The Ombudsman Office, which is a quasi-judicial, executive remedy, has emerged as a potent institution to deal with the maladministration and deviation from set procedures, regulation and law. It is relatively speedy, inexpensive and leads to amicable resolution of the conflicts. Several countries have set up the Ombudsman Offices which have either global jurisdiction to deal with maladministration of all the Government Agencies or specific to a particular sector like Tax Ombudsman, Banking Ombudsman etc.
3. The Ombudsman Office in Pakistan was established in January 1983, in Australia 1976 and in Newzealand 1975. The Ombudsman Offices in these countries have similarities and dissimilarities with respect to appointment, removal, tenure, organization, structure, functions, jurisdiction and powers, however, they have established their credibility by their performance over the period of time. The Ombudsman Office has been very useful to empower the people and get their grievances be redressed. The Ombudsman Office can help the Governments to make it more transparent and accountable in their actions and remain within the limits of law. It is also an important source of feedback to governments for its action. The Government of Pakistan, in its Devolution of Power Plan 2001, under which District Government System has been introduced, has provided for the establishment of Ombudsman Office at the District level. It is being considered a positive step to deliver Good Governance to the people.
Objectives of the study:
4. The objective of the study is to make a comparative study of the Ombudsman Offices in Pakistan, Australia and Newzealand. Follow through Ombudsman's evolution and the role it is playing in their respective societies. The comparative study will provide an opportunity to identify the similarities, dissimilarities, positive and negative, successes and failures in different political and cultural context. This will be helpful to draw meaningful conclusions and make recommendations for strengthening the Ombudsman Office. The study will also carefully research the issues and challenges faced to the Ombudsman Offices in Pakistan, Australia and Newzealand and recommend measures to make it more effective institution for administrative accountability as well as empowerment of the common people against the executive excesses. The primary focus of the research is:-
a. To study the design, powers, functions and jurisdiction of Ombudsman Office.
b. Role of Ombudsman Office to redress the grievances of the people against executive actions vis-à-vis its effectiveness.
c. Ombudsman and administrative accountability.
d. Identify the areas of success and failure
e. Major issues and challenges
f. Recommendations/suggestions for improving the effectiveness of Ombudsman Office.
5. The research is envisaged to be completed with the support and active guidance of the CPS and OSI. The study will primarily be deskwork and make use of reports and secondary sources on the subject. However, I will prefer to visit Australia and Newzealand, not only to collect the information/data, observe the working of Ombudsman Offices but also conduct interview with various stakeholders and seek their views. A brief outline of the research methodology is given below: -
• Review of the relevant laws, organizational structures, rules and regulations and other literature on the subject.
• Event study of the selective cases dealt by the Ombudsman Office and their impact.
• Drafting a questionnaire and conducting interview of the selective stakeholders i.e. Ombudsman Office, government agencies, Complainants, Judiciary, and general public etc.
• Use of Internet and other sources of information technology.
• Studies conducted by international think tanks and academic institutions
Benefits of Research:
6. The study will be benefited by the government Divisions in particular Law, Justice and Human Rights, National Reconstruction Bureau, Ombudsman Offices, Relevant Departments of Australia and Newzealand, donor institutions, other researchers and interested individuals. It is expected that the recommendations reached in the study will help the government as well as the Ombudsman Offices to bring a number of improvements in their working. It will provide an independent view about the role, working and efficacy of the Ombudsman Offices. The comparative study will also be helpful for those countries/Organizations, which are interested to establish an effective Ombudsman Office. The common individuals will find it an interesting piece of reading. Efforts will be made to disseminate the study by publishing it at the internet and sending the hard copies to all concerned.
(Draft Outline - July 8, 2004)
Introduction – Defining the Public Policy Issue, rational of the study
Origin and Evolution of Ombudsman Office in the World
Origin and meanings of Ombudsman
Spread of Ombudsman Office across the World
Ombudsman in Private Sector
Rationale behind the Establishment of Ombudsman Office
Demand for Good Governance and Greater Transparency
Role of Media
New Public Management
Alternate Conflict Resolution – Ombudsman Vs Administrative Courts.
Evolution of Ombudsman Offices in Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
Establishment and role of Ombudsman at various levels of Government – Federal, Provincial, Local.
Terms of Office
Jurisdiction and Role of Ombudsman
Efficacy of Ombudsman Office to Redress the Mal-Administration
Powers of Investigation
Ombudsman and Administrative Accountability
Challenges Faced to the Ombudsman Office
Civil Servants Accountability in Pakistan (Australia and New Zealand may also be included)
Origin and Evolution of Ombudsman in the World
A Review of Ombudsman Offices in Pakistan
Ombudsman and Public Sector Accountability
A Comparison of Jurisdiction and powers of Public Sector and Private Sector Ombudsman
Ombudsman and Transparency in the Pubic Sector
Principles of Good Administration.
TIME IN MONTH
Drafting basic outline of the study.
Collection of information/data (continous work)
Structuring a questionnaire for interview
List of stake holders to be interviewed/Contacted
Interviews with the stakeholders in Pakistan
Meetings with stakeholders in Australia and Newzealands
Analysis of the Collected Information/Data
Preparation of the first draft of Study
Review and filling the information gaps/
further research and interpretation of data
Discussion with the stakeholders and refining the recommendations
Final draft of the report and printing
Presentation and submission
Note: The activities and time shown above is tentative and would be adjusted according to the circumstances.
It would also be adjusted with respect to fellows training seminars in Budapest