Introduction

The following Publication Scheme has been prepared under Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2014. The Scheme came into effect on 14 April 2016. It is designed to facilitate the provision of information to the greatest extent possible, except for information exempted under the FOI Act. The Scheme is web based and contains links to reference material on our website, which will be updated as provided for under the Act. A hard copy will be made available for viewing by appointment.

This publication was last updated 21 January 2021

What we do

The primary functions of the Ombudsman are set out in the Office's information leaflet What the Ombudsman Does, available here.

Establishment

The Office of the Ombudsman (the Office) was established under the Ombudsman Act, 1980.  The Ombudsman Act has been amended a number of times, principally by the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act, 1984 and by the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act, 2012. 

Other Statutory Obligations

The Office is a public body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, 2014 (the FOI Act).  Accordingly, its records may, subject to certain exceptions, be accessed by an FOI request.

The Office is subject to the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The Office's Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

The Office is also subject to the provisions of the European Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information and various AIE Regulations enacted in Ireland as a consequence.

Role and responsibilities

The role and responsibilities of the Office are set out in the Office's information leaflet What the Ombudsman Does, available here.

View an indicative list of bodies under the remit of the Ombudsman here.

The Ombudsman also examines complaints about failures by public bodies to provide accessible buildings, services and information, as required under Part 3 of the Disability Act, 2005.  For these types of complaints, the term 'public body' includes Government Departments, Local Authorities, the HSE and semi-state bodies, as well as most other state organisations.

What Outcomes Does the Ombudsman Seek?

  • To obtain appropriate redress if a complaint is upheld
  • To ensure learning and prevent recurrence
  • To drive improvement in public administration

Records held by the Office

The range of records held in the Office fall within the following broad categories (some overlap may occur)

Internal Administration Records

  • Personnel Records
  • Accounts Records
  • Assets Register
  • Civil/Public Service Guidelines and Circulars
  • Published Media Coverage, including press cuttings
  • Speeches and Presentations by the Ombudsman/staff of the Office
  • Contacts with public service providers including the names of liaison officers for bodies covered by the Act
  • Notes and minutes of management meetings and associated documentation
  • Records relating to publication of reports e.g. annual reports, special investigation reports, including records relating to translation, tendering, designing and printing
  • Management of the website of the Ombudsman
  • Management of cases
  • Statistics on cases
  • FOI requests for access to records held by the Office
  • Data Protection Act requests for access to records held by the Office
  • General enquiries and correspondence

Policy

  • Contacts with the Department of Finance
  • Contacts with Oireachtas Committees
  • Correspondence/Memo of Understanding with equivalent offices
  • Records of internal policy

Legislation and related matter

  • Discussions and correspondence with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the operation of the Act

Staff Instructions/Guidelines

  • Internal procedures records
  • Liaison arrangements with public service providers

Ombudsman casework records

  • Case records, including records of communications with public service providers and complainants
  • Submissions made by public service providers and complainants
  • Records of legal advice sought and received
  • Decisions of the Ombudsman
  • Other records relating to Ombudsman casework records, including case closure details, investigations, analysis and comment by officials of the Office

Guidance for Public Service Providers

Internal complaints systems

The provision of redress

Making a meaningful apology

Standards of best practice

Guide to good public administration

Press releases on findings and recommendations

Ombudsman’s other functions and duties under the Act

  • Annual reports
  • Investigation/Own Initiative reports
  • Commentary Reports

Corporate Plans and Strategies

The Office’s Policies and Strategies are available here.

The Strategic Business Plan of the Office can be found here.

Annual Report

The Office’s Annual Reports are available on the website here.

Organisational Structure and Governance Arrangements

Structure of the Office

Ombudsman: Peter Tyndall  

Director General: Elaine Cassidy

Management Team: David Nutley (Head of Communications and Quality), Liam Duffy (Head of Corporate Services), Jennifer Hanrahan, Tom Morgan and Seán Garvey (Senior Investigators)

There are 20 Investigators (Assistant Principal Officers), 1 Administrative Officer, 7 Higher Executive Officers, 10 Executive Officers, and 10 Clerical Officers working as caseworkers in the Office.

The corporate services function of the Office - human resources, finance, administration and information technology - are also provided by the Office and the relevant governance arrangements may be found here.

Pay Grading

The Ombudsman also serves as the Information Commissioner and the Commissioner for Environmental Information.  He is also an ex officio member of the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Commission for Public Service Appointments, the Referendum Commission and the Constituency Commission.  His salary is equivalent to that of a Secretary General III in the Civil Service.

Similarly, the Director General acts as Director General for the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information, the secretariats to the Referendum Commission, the Commission for Public Service Appointments and the Standards in Public Office Commission.  Her salary is that of an Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service.

The salaries scales of civil servants may be found in the circular available here.

Location of Office and Contact Details

The Office is located at 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773.

Opening hours: between 9.15 and 5.00 Monday to Friday.

Directions to the Office can be found here.

Telephone: +353-1-639 5600

Email: info@ombudsman.ie

Media Enquiries

Contact David Nutley, Communications, Office of the Ombudsman

Phone: 01 639 5610 or 086 023 1420

Email: david.nutley@ombudsman.ie

Memorandums of Understanding

The Office has a memo of understanding with the Ombudsman for Children (OCO).  This memo of understanding provides the basis for enhanced cooperation to address and deal with instances where both a child and an adult have been adversely affected.  The Memorandum of Understanding with the Ombudsman for Children can be viewed here.

Additionally, there is a memo of understanding between the Office and the Medical Council. This memo allows for the exchange of information and complaints between both offices. The agreement will also establish procedures to assist members of the public in accessing the services of both organisations. The Memorandum of Understanding with Medical Council can be viewed here.

The Office also has a memo of understanding with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).  This gives a framework for cooperation and information sharing about those elements of health and social care services which fall within our respective remits, and to establish effective procedures for signposting members of the public to each other’s services. The Memorandum of Understanding with HIQA can be viewed here.

The Office also has a memo of understanding with the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR).  Its primary aim is to ensure that relevant information which becomes available to one Office and which may assist the other Office in the performance of its functions, is shared between the two Offices. The Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Planning Regulator can be viewed here.

Customer Charter

The Office Customer Charter can be viewed here.

Code of Practice

The staff of the Office are civil servants in the Civil Service of the State and are therefore bound by the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour.

The service we provide 

The Office acts as an independent complaints body for those dissatisfied with the response/decision of certain public service providers. The Ombudsman may examine any action taken by or on behalf of certain public service providers in the performance of their administrative functions if that action has resulted in an adverse effect.

In addition, the action must or may have been:

  • taken without proper authority
  • taken on irrelevant grounds
  • the result of negligence or carelessness
  • based on erroneous or incomplete information
  • improperly discriminatory
  • based on an undesirable administrative practice
  • a failure to comply with section 4A which outlines the duty of public service providers to give reasonable assistance and guidance to persons in any dealings with the public service provider or
  • otherwise contrary to fair or sound administration

The Ombudsman is legally excluded from investigating some complaints even if the service provider comes within remit. These exclusions are set out in Section 5 of the Ombudsman Act (as amended) available here. Some service providers fall within remit only in respect of a limited range of their administrative functions as set out in Part II of the First Schedule of the Ombudsman Act (as amended) available here.

How our service can be accessed

The Office's information leaflet What the Ombudsman Does explains how to access our service and can be viewed here.

To improve access to people living outside Dublin, staff from the Office visit Citizens Information Centre’s (CICs) in Cork, Limerick and Galway each month to take complaints from members of the public. Details of the venues, times and dates of visits can be found on the homepage of our website.

How much it costs to access our service

The Ombudsman provides a free service.

Right of review relating to complaint decisions

Our review procedures in relation to decisions made on complaints can accessed here.

Review requests can be sent to:

The Review Manager, Office of the Ombudsman, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773. Email review@ombudsman.ie

How we make decisions on policies

This Office is a complaints body and therefore does not make public policy.  However, the Ombudsman does have discussions with and provides submissions to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Financial Information

Vote 18 (Office of the Ombudsman) funds the activities of an organisation comprising the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission for Public Service Appointments (Programme A); the Standards in Public Office Commission, including the Regulation of Lobbying function (Programme B); and, the Office of the Information Commissioner and the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (Programme C).

These offices carry out separate and distinct statutory functions: nonetheless they function as a single amalgamated agency under one Vote and one Accounting Officer and corporate management board which manages the organisation while simultaneously protecting and preserving the statutory independence and functions of each of the constituent parts. Each office has its own complement of staff but the finance, human resources, accommodation and information technology functions are shared between all offices.

C&AG Appropriation Account for Office of the Ombudsman

At the end of each financial year, each department is required to prepare an account known as the Appropriation Account. The statutory requirement is that the Appropriation Account provides details of the outturn for the year against the amount provided by Dail Eireann. The 2018 Appropriation Account can be accessed at this link here.

Revised Estimates

Revised Estimates are a detailed version of Budget Day Estimates and include information on spending within individual programmes along with the overall financial allocation for our department. Revised Estimates also include key high level output metrics, context and impact indicators. These provide information on our expenditure and the impact the expenditure is having. The Revised Estimates for 2020 for the Office of the Ombudsman can be viewed on pages 33-34 of the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2020 download, available here.

Payments over €20,000

There is a commitment in the Public Service Reform Plan that all purchase orders for €20k or over shall be published online. The department publishes this information on a quarterly basis. View our publication here.

Procurement Information

Public procurement refers to the process by which public bodies purchase works, goods or services from suppliers which they have selected for this purpose. It ranges from the purchase of routine goods or services to large scale contracts for infrastructural projects and involves a wide and diverse range of contracting authorities.

We use a competitive process, in accordance with OGP procurement guidelines, when purchasing all supplies and services. View these guidelines here.

Depending on the value of the contract, the department procures works, goods and services by:

  • Advertising on OJEU (which may be accessed via eTenders) for contracts with estimated values equal to or above the EU thresholds and these contracts are awarded in accordance with the provisions of the 2016 Regulations.
  • advertising tenders on www.etenders.gov.ie
  • drawing down from frameworks - Details of Frameworks operated by the Office of Government Procurement are available at www.procurement.ie
  • inviting quotations from selected suppliers

FOI Disclosure Log

A list of all non-personal FOI requests received by the Office since 1st January 2015 can be viewed here:

Foi Disclosure Log (Excel file)

PO's over €20,000 (Excel file)

Links to Guidance Documents for Suppliers