Authors: Professor Anita Stuhmcke
Abstract: The classical ombudsman institution may have two roles – proactive system fixer and reactive individual complaint taker. It is generally assumed that these dual roles are related in that improvements produced by one role will impact upon the other. Here it is most often implied in public law literature, that the correction by an ombudsman of a systemic administrative deficiency through its systemic function will reduce numbers of individual complaints. Using empirical data based upon a ‘snapshot in time’ study of the Australian Commonwealth Ombudsman this article argues that this traditional assumptions as to the relationship between the two roles is flawed. The findings of the study presented in this article will impact upon the operation of the ombudsman institution and provide insight into ways in which the role and performance of such a growing international integrity review body may be strengthened.
Keywords: ombudsman; administrative law; dispute resolution; government administration