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Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019

Section 43 - Power to investigate complaints

164.Section 43 permits the Ombudsman to investigate a complaint relating to a matter to which Part 5 applies only if:


the complaint has been duly made or referred to the Ombudsman; and


in the case of complaints about independent palliative care providers, that the independent palliative care provider has received public funding within three years preceding the date of the action to which the complaint relates.

165.“Public funding” is defined in subsection (3) and means funding from the Welsh Ministers, a Local Health Board established under section 11 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006, an NHS Trust or a county council or county borough council in Wales. This could, for example, cover grant funding provided by the Welsh Ministers to the independent palliative care service.

166.Sections 43(4) and 48(1) set out the requirements which must be in order for a complaint to be duly made to the Ombudsman. Section 43(5) and section 49(1) set out the requirements which must be met in order for a complaint to be duly referred to the Ombudsman by a provider to whom it relates.

167.Section 43(7) enables the Ombudsman to investigate a complaint, which the Ombudsman is entitled to investigate under Part 5, even if the specific requirements as to the way a complaint is to be made or referred have not been fulfilled, if the Ombudsman considers it reasonable to do so.

168.Section 43(8) provides the Ombudsman with a wide discretion as to whether to begin, continue or discontinue an investigation. Section 43(10) makes clear that the Ombudsman may begin or continue an investigation even if the complaint has been withdrawn. This may be appropriate, for example, where a ‘lead’ complainant has made a complaint about a provider’s action which has also affected other persons, but that person has subsequently withdrawn the ‘lead’ complaint. In such cases, the Ombudsman may consider it appropriate to begin or to continue an investigation, despite the withdrawal of the ‘lead’ complaint, so as to protect the interests of the other persons.

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