By Pauline Hernandez,2014-04-11 12:57
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This Business Plan sets out a most challenging programme of work and detailed below are the 2005 - 2006 objectives, each under a Strategic Theme,




    The Ombudsman’s main aim is:

‘To provide an independent, effective and free system for investigating

    complaints from people who claim to have suffered personal injustice

    through maladministration by Northern Ireland government

    departments, agencies, public and local bodies and the Health and

    Personal Social Services.’

In pursuit of the core purpose and strategic direction the Office has regard to the

    following values:

    Independence an overall state the Office vigorously protects;

    Impartiality the stance the Office takes in terms of reaching its


    Integrity a style of working that brings together courtesy,

    consideration, openness, honesty, efficiency, and respect for


In order to give life to the core values listed above, the Office at all times strives

    for Efficiency Effectiveness Quality Transparency.

Business Plan Objectives 2005 2006

This Business Plan sets out a most challenging programme of work and detailed

    below are the 2005 - 2006 objectives, each under a Strategic Theme, which

    when achieved will be to the benefit of the citizens we serve.

1. Valuing Reputation

    As an independent body, this Office continually strives to improve its

    reputation to ensure that complainants and those bodies complained about

are treated with complete impartiality, integrity and that all actions taken in

    relation to investigations demonstrates transparency. In all aspects of the

    work, the Office will seek to promote these values.

Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To promote the reputation of the Office by:

    o Developing a Code of Conduct for staff in the Office.

    o Raising public awareness of the existence of the Office through structured

    and outreach activities.

    o Placing Annual Reports, Resource Accounts, minutes of Senior

    Management Team Meetings and Office Updates on the Office website.

    o Making initial contact with public bodies with the objective of securing

    early resolution of a complaint.

    o Carrying out investigations with due regard to the Office values of

    independence, impartiality and integrity.

To develop a Communications Strategy by:

    o Considering recommendations from the Research Officer and drawing up

    an Action Plan for Implementation.

o Implement the Action Plan.

To continually develop effective external relationships by:

    o Participating in committees, meetings / events / seminars and develop


    o Providing advice and information consistent with legislation and Office


    o Recognising opportunities to offer and disseminate information and advice

    that is current, relevant and accurate.

    2. Measuring Performance

Whilst acknowledging the importance of having output targets and the need

    to meet those targets, it is recognized that meeting targets and working to

    realistic timescales is not allowed to reduce the rigor and thoroughness of the


Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To provide an effective, efficient and quality service by:

o Reviewing the 2004/05 Business Plan against targets.

    o Updating and developing a Business Plan for 2005/06 with clearly defined

    objectives and targets.

    o Reviewing the 2005/06 Business Plan against targets at regular intervals.

To investigate complaints within the resources allocated by:

o Reviewing and refining current performance measures.

    o Conducting investigations within set timescales and providing updates on

    the progress of investigations to the complainant and the relevant Director

    of Investigations.

    o Preparing a submission with recommendations, and appropriate and

    relevant letters for signature, to the Ombudsman / Deputy Ombudsman.

Implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations by:

o 100% implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

    3. Managing Information

    The efficient collection and analysis of information to support decision-making

    is critical to the achievement of the aims and objectives of the Office. It is

    also essential that a comprehensive records management system is in place

    to support this. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and its

use is evolving rapidly and this Office has installed a Complaints Handling

    Administration Sytem to support the business and the Office up to 2010.

     Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To have appropriate management information and support systems

    to inform policy, guide action and ensure accountability by:

    o Implementing a new Complaints Handling Administration System.

    o Reviewing Records Management Policy to ensure it still meets the needs

    of the Office.

    o Reviewing to ensure that current contingency plans continue to meet the

    needs of the Office in the event of a loss of IT systems and/or premises.

    To implement statutory requirements under the Freedom of

    Information Act, Data Protection Act and Environmental

    Information Regulations by:

    o Providing quality responses to Freedom of Information, Environmental

    information and Data Protection requests within statutory time limits.

    To obtain and analyse relevant information to inform decisions by:

    o Obtaining relevant information from appropriate sources, using a variety

    of methods.

    o Analysing in detail all relevant data and information collected as a basis

    for recommendation to line management.

    o Preparing draft letters and reports for line manager, including findings,

    conclusions and recommendations based on evidence collected.

    4. Resourcing the Office

It is essential that the Office is properly resourced in terms of finance, human

    resource and equipment if objectives are to be met. There are 23 staff

    employed in the Office and the budget for 2005/06 is ?1.3m.

     Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To control financial, human and other resources to meet the

    business needs of the Office by:

o Ensuring a monthly report is prepared for SMT.

    o Ensuring the Audit and Risk Management Committee (A&RMC) meets at

    least quarterly.

    o Preparing and maintaining detailed and accurate records.

To have the appropriate number of staff in post with the necessary

    skills and competences by:

    o Liaising with DFP in order to minimize the length of any vacancy.

    o Ensuring the Service Level Agreement with DFP on personnel matters

    including recruitment continues to meet needs of the Office.

    o Preparing an analysis for consideration by SMT that would widen

    secondment opportunities to the public sector beyond the Civil Service.

    o Preparing a paper for consideration by SMT on the potential employment

    of “Associate Investigating Officers”.

    o Responding to the outcome of the Investigating Officer grading review.

To ensure accountability and value for money by:

    o Ensuring accuracy and timeliness in all financial transactions.

o Complying with audit and other requirements.

o Containing expenditure within budget.

    o Preparing the 2004/05 Annual Report and Resource Accounts.

    o Implementing any agreed actions from the audit by NIAO.

    o Considering the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a Government

    Procurement Card.

    o Accepting individual responsibility to ensure effective and efficient use of

    non-financial resources.

    5. Organising for Success

    The Office has a sound system of internal control that supports the

    achievement of Office policies, aims and objectives, whilst safeguarding

    public funds and the Office’s assets. A corporate governance framework

    exists to encourage the efficient use of resources and equally to require

    accountability for the stewardship of those resources. The system of

    internal control is designed to manage risk to an assessed and realistic level.

    It can therefore only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance of

    effectiveness. The system of internal control is based on an ongoing

    process designed to identify and prioritise the risks to the achievement of

    Office policies, aims and objectives, to evaluate the likelihood of those risks

    being realised and the impact should they be realised, and to manage them

    efficiently, effectively and cost effectively.

Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To have high quality corporate governance and Risk Management

    procedures throughout the Office by:

    o Ensuring the Risk Management Strategy is reviewed annually and

    amended as necessary.

    o Ensuring all staff are aware of the Risk management Strategy as it affects

    their role in the Office.

    o Ensuring the Risk Register reflects the Business Plan and is amended as


    To maximize the participation and contribution of staff by:

    o Having all staff complete a Questionnaire about the workplace and

    management with a view to seeking ways for improvement.

    To seek the views of former employees about the Office by:

    o Carrying out exit surveys of those who cease employment in the

    Ombudsman’s Office.

    Develop a Human Resource Strategy by:

o Ensuring Strategy is aligned to the Business Plan.

o Developing an Action Plan for implementation.

Manage a Healthy and Safe environment by:

    o Ensuring a Health and Safety Policy is in place and communicated to staff.

    o Ensuring regular maintenance of premises and equipment and that all met

    appropriate standards.

    o Co-operating with the Landlord in respect of evacuation procedures for


To have appropriate Office Policies in place by:

    o Ensuring appropriate policies are in place and they are regularly reviewed

    to ensure continued relevance and are communicated to all staff.

    o Maintaining the Office Manual and ensuring all staff hold an up-to-date


To provide a comprehensive Administrative Support for the Office by:

    o Carrying out general administrative functions in a timely and accurate

    manner to meet the needs of the Office.

    6. Fulfilling Potential

    Staff are a key resource and therefore it is incumbent on the Office to ensure that they be equipped with the knowledge, skills and competence to perform

     to their maximum capability.

     As a good employer, the Office recognises that training and development is

    an investment and not purely a cost, and it is therefore committed to the

    fullest possible development of all its staff. The Office will provide equal

    opportunity for development to all staff to help them realise their full

    potential and develop knowledge, skills and competences to meet the

    changing needs of the the Office, the public sector and the citizen.

Business Objectives 2005 - 2006

To provide flexible learning and development opportunities to staff


o Developing a Training and Development Policy.

    o Developing a Training and Development Plan and Programme which will

    cover the core skills and competencies appropriate for the Job.

o Developing an Induction Programme.

o Ensuring each member of staff attends at least one training element as

    set out in the Training and Development Programme.

    o Ensuring each member of staff completes the European Driving License

    Course (EDCL).

    To promote a culture of learning by:

o Providing positive learning experiences that interest and stimulate staff.

To ensure compliance with the relevant Performance Appraisal

    System by:

o Completing 2004/05 Annual Reports.

o Carrying out Performance Appraisal Interviews.

    o Completing Personal Performance Agreements for 2005/06.

    o Completing Personal Development Plans.

    o Carrying out mid-term review of performance.

    o Developing, maintaining and enhancing effective working relationships

    with line managers and colleagues in other Directorates.

    To develop appropriate competencies for Investigation Officers by:

    o Developing competencies and behaviours which reflect the work of the

    Investigating Officer.

Delivering the Plan

A key aim of the Office of the NI Ombudsman is to continually look for

    improvement, greater accessibility, and a modern and responsive service which

    the public, not only expect, but has a right to see provided. This Business Plan

    sets out our objectives and how they will be achieved.

All staff are aware of who has lead responsibility for achieving each objective and

    their own individual role in achieving the objectives is set out in their Personal

    Performance Agreement.

The Office will continue to promote equality and fairness and will seek to ensure

    that all those who work for, or interact with the Office, are treated with respect

    and have their rights respected.

Resources will be monitored closely to ensure that they are targeted to meet the

    objectives and achieve value for money.

This plan will be kept under review and a monthly report on progress against

    targets will be provided to the Senior Management Team.

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