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Introduction

The role of the Ombudsman is to examine complaints from the public alleging maladministration against certain public bodies within her jurisdiction, including local authorities Where she finds evidence of such maladministration she seeks to have the matter rectified and/or that redress is offered, where appropriate. In carrying out her functions, the Ombudsman is dependent upon the co-operation of the bodies concerned with regard to providing the necessary reports and information and, where a resolution is agreed, that it is put in train within a reasonable time frame. To this end liaison arrangements have been entered into with all public bodies within the remit of the Ombudsman and reasonable time frames agreed with regard to co-operation with the Ombudsman. When a breakdown in these arrangements occurs, there can be long delays in dealing with complaints and this, in turn, adds to any grievance a person who has complained might have against the public body concerned. Liaison arrangements between the Office of the Ombudsman (the Office) and all local authorities have been in place for over twenty years and, in general, work satisfactorily from the perspective of the Office. (Details of the arrangement agreed in relation to local authorities is set out at Appendix 3 to this report)