Ombudsman orders establishment of complaint resolution mechanism, helpline

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Good governance in public offices

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Federal Ombudsman of Pakistan Salman Faruqui has ordered all federal government departments to establish Helpline and a Complaint Establishment Resolution Mechanism within their departments. In this regard, under the directions of Federal Ombudsman a meeting was convened with Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar, Senior Advisor (Law)/Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis in chair at the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat and attended by representatives of 78 federal govt departments.
Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar while chairing the meeting advised the representatives of federal govt departments for resolution of public grievances promptly preferably within 15 days and stressed for improvement in the efficiency of ministries/divisions/attached departments/subordinate offices/ organizations in the context of public dealings, which is a basic requirement of good governance and image building. He said that Federal ombudsman secretariat has decided that all the Ministries/Division/Organizations should introduce an auto connect system for standardization of complaints mechanism and to connect with ombudsman complaint management system for early resolution of public grievances, which will not only benefit the complainants but the top management of govt organizations would also be equally benefited.
Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar Senior Advisor (Law)/Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis said that all federal government departments should establish new Public Complaints Resolution Mechanism under the supervision of an officer of BS-19 or above asa Focal Person, with an appointment of Complaint Officer who will receive every public complaint,which would be registered in the system and then will put up to the Focal Person for appropriate further action under the law. He added that all departments should also approach ministry of information technology for installation of their Helplines for public complaints and for their guidance before the next meeting.
Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar also said that all ministries should display their brochures/printed material regarding the ambit of Ministry/Division/Attached Departments/ Subordinate Offices/ Organizations for public guidance and awareness of general public,which includes set up a mechanism for providing timely feedback to the complainants. He said that the Ministry /Division/ Attached Departments/ Subordinate Offices/ Organizations should also inform the complainants of any available internal or external review mechanisms in public interest. He also suggested that Complaints Policy and Procedures must be displayed at a prominent place of the organization as well as on the website.
He also asked to provide the list of Focal Persons along with their Complaint Officers in the next three days to federal ombudsman secretariat and thereafter these focal persons and Complaints Officer will be trained for running this new complaints management system by the Ombudsman Secretariat. Mr.Khokhar said that the new complaints management system will be launched with the coordination of all federal govt departments in next month. He said that this system will not only resolve the issues of public in a shortest possible time but also improve the good governance on the part of the government.
He informed that in case the department will fail to respond the complainants in 15 days from the date of institution of his complaint, it would automatically generate a complaint on the ombudsman website and this will be treated as a regular complaint. He said that all Ministries/Divisions/ Departments/Organizations will submit their compliance reports by 24th September, 2016 and next meeting on the subject will be held on 28th September, 2016 in the Federal Ombudsman’s Secretariat, Islamabad.far