Ombudsman for public services to cost £250k?

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The service, which will replace the States Complaint Board, will cover all States departments and regulatory bodies – except the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

The proposal to create the ombudsman, lodged by Senator Philip Ozouf, was approved in the last debate of a lengthy States sitting last week.

A public services ombudsman was first suggested in the Clothier Report in 2000.

Senator Ozouf said ombudsmen are well-established worldwide and would allow Islanders to easily air their grievances.

The Senator said: ‘Because there is no professional ombudsman service for the public sector, I suspect that there are people that are disgruntled with the way they have been dealt with.’

He cited the low number of complaints that the States Complaints Board dealt with on an annual basis and said that it was incredibly unlikely that so few Islanders had grievances about the public sector.

Senator Ozouf also added that the Financial Services Ombudsman, the office for which was set up in 2015, had worked well and was a good example of how complaints should be dealt with.

Deputy Russell Labey called the move a ‘no brainer’ while Deputy Murray Norton added that the States should be making it easier for Islanders to have their complaint properly dealt with.

However, some Members, including Privileges and Procedures Chairman Constable Len Norman, backed the current SCB and said there was no need to replace it.

The States ultimately backed the move 24 votes to eight.

Meanwhile, the States also voted to let pubs and bars stay open until 1 am on the weekend of the Royal wedding.

Prince Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday 19 May and Members opted to allow Jersey’s pubs to stay open later on both the Friday and Saturday nights. The move does not impact on restaurant and club licensing hours.

Almost £1.4 million was handed over to the Association of Jersey Charities to be divided up between a number of the Island’s good causes. Each year, proceeds from the Channel Islands Lottery are given to charity after States approval.

And Alistair Calvert was formally appointed as a commissioner for the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, while the re-introduction of the single parent component – a £40.39 weekly payment made to single parents – will come into force on Friday 1 June.

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