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(1)The Ombudsman may issue to one or more listed authorities such guidance about good administrative practice as he thinks appropriate.
(2)Before issuing guidance under this section the Ombudsman must consult such listed authorities, or persons appearing to him to represent them, as he thinks appropriate.
(3)If guidance issued under this section is applicable to a listed authority, the authority must have regard to the guidance in discharging its functions.
(4)In conducting an investigation in respect of a listed authority, the Ombudsman may have regard to the extent to which the authority has complied with any guidance issued under this section which is applicable to the authority.
(5)The Ombudsman may publish any guidance issued under this section in any manner that he thinks appropriate, including in particular by putting the guidance in an annual or extraordinary report.
(6)Guidance issued under this section may contain different provision for different purposes.
(7)Subject to subsection (8), guidance issued under this section must not—
(a)mention the name of any person other than the listed authorities to which it is applicable or a listed authority in respect of which a complaint has been made or referred to the Ombudsman under this Act, or
(b)include any particulars which, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, are likely to identify any such person and which, in his opinion, can be omitted without impairing the effectiveness of the guidance.
(8)Subsection (7) does not apply if, after taking account of the interests of any persons he thinks appropriate, the Ombudsman considers it to be in the public interest to include that information in the guidance.
For the purposes of the law of defamation, the following are absolutely privileged—
(a)the publication of a matter by the Ombudsman, a member of his staff or another person acting on his behalf or assisting him in the discharge of any of his functions, in the discharge of any of the Ombudsman's functions under this Act;
(b)the publication of a matter by a person in the discharge of functions under section 17;
(c)the publication of a matter in connection with a complaint made or referred to the Ombudsman under this Part, in communications between—
(i)a listed authority, a member or co-opted member of a listed authority, an officer or member of the staff of a listed authority or another person acting on behalf of a listed authority or assisting it in the discharge of any of its functions, and
(ii)the Ombudsman, a member of his staff or another person acting on his behalf or assisting him in the discharge of any of his functions;
(d)the publication of any matter in connection with a complaint made or referred (or to be made or referred) by or on behalf of a person to the Ombudsman under this Part, in communications between a person and an Assembly member;
(e)the publication of any matter in connection with a complaint made or referred (or to be made or referred) by or on behalf of a person to the Ombudsman under this Part, in communications between the person and the Ombudsman, a member of his staff or another person acting on his behalf or assisting him in the discharge of any of his functions.
(1)A listed authority must take reasonable steps to provide information to the public about—
(a)the right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman in respect of the authority,
(b)the right of the authority to refer a complaint to the Ombudsman,
(c)the time limits for making and referring complaints to the Ombudsman, and
(d)how to contact the Ombudsman.
(2)In particular, information about the matters specified in subsection (1) must be included in or provided with—
(a)any document published by the listed authority which contains information about—
(i)relevant services provided by the authority to members of the public, or
(ii)the procedures of the authority for dealing with complaints, and
(b)any document issued by the listed authority in responding to a complaint made to it by a person who might be entitled to make the complaint to the Ombudsman.
(3)The Ombudsman may issue guidance to listed authorities with respect to the discharge of their functions under this section.
(4)A listed authority must have regard to guidance given by the Ombudsman under subsection (3).
(5)“Relevant service” has the meaning given in section 7.
(1)This section applies if—
(a)a complaint in respect of a matter is made or referred to the Ombudsman, and
(b)the complaint is one which the Ombudsman has power to investigate under section 2.
(2)The listed authority in respect of which the complaint is made may make a payment to, or provide any other benefit for, the person aggrieved in respect of the matter which is the subject of the complaint.
(3)It is immaterial for the purposes of this section that the Ombudsman has decided not to investigate the complaint, has discontinued an investigation of the complaint, has not yet completed an investigation of the complaint or has not upheld the complaint.
(4)The power in subsection (2) does not affect any other power of the listed authority to make the payment or provide the benefit.
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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.
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