Our Office is an unusual one, comprising seven different statutory functions. We share office space, ICT staff and systems, legal & HR support as well as procurement and finance staff. “The Office” collectively refers to the individual statutory bodies listed below.
The purpose of this note is to set out our re-assessment of the Office’s Public Sector Duty (PSD) commitments. In undertaking and documenting this re-assessment we have evaluated what has been done to date and what remains to be done from previous action PSD action plans and we have identified new areas where human rights and equality issues could be improved further. This is reflected in revised Action Plan for 2022-2025.
The Office established a PSD Working Group (WG) in 2018 to assess the human rights and equality issues which arise in relation to the functions of (the then) five statutory bodies, as well as our corporate functions as an employer and purchaser of goods and services. A PSD Committee was established drawing on a diverse group of people from across the different statutory functions. The Committee developed an initial action plan, which was approved by the MAC (October 2018) and incorporated into the Office’s strategy statement for 2019-2021.
Due to staffing changes, work pressures and a focus on core activities during COVID-19 with the majority of staff working from home, the Office’s PSD Committee met infrequently during 2020/2021. The Committee was refreshed in Q1, 2022 to further build on work already underway to promote, Human Rights, Equality and Diversity in the Office.
Section 42(2) of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 places an obligation on our Office as a Public Sector Body (PSB) to inter alia:
In re-assessing our Public Sector Duty we have carried out the following actions:
Some of the more complex actions which were identified as part of the last Action Plan are being carried forward to our 2025 Action Plan. A key objective of our 2025 Action Plan will be the introduction of a human rights based approach to the Office of the Ombudsman’s complaints handling work. A dedicated PSD Sub-Committee has been established to examine how a human rights approach might be introduced and to develop a Human Rights Manual and training for Office of the Ombudsman caseworkers.
Our Action Plan has been presented to the Office’s Senior Management Team and is incorporated into the Office Statement of Strategy 2022 - 2025. We will meet regularly to review and assess progress on the actions identified and will report on same in each of the Office’s Annual Report.Read our Action Plan