Headlines: April 12th, 2005

Wales is to have a single Ombudsman to deal with complaints about public services. The ‘one-stop’ service will come into effect in April next year, talking on the roles currently carried out by three separate officers in a drive for a more customer-focused service.The new Public Services Ombudsman for Wales will offer people a single point of contact for complaints about the actions and services of a range of public agencies in Wales. The new post will replace the offices of the Local Government Ombudsman, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales and the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.

The role will also take over the work and functions of the Social Housing Ombudsman, a post that does not come into being until later this year.

Welsh Assembly Minister for Finance, Local Government and Public Services, Sue Essex said that the new post would mean people in Wales having a clearer voice in shaping the public services that they receive. ” The Public Services Ombudsman service will provide a simpler and more customer-focussed service that treats all complaints fairly,” she said. The new post was in line with the Assembly Government’s commitment to ongoing improvements in public services. “Listening to public feedback, including critical comments, and handling complaints effectively is a crucial part of this,” the Minister said.