Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 1:
Constitution and Administration
Role of the Chief Executive
The System of Government
- Executive Council
The System of Government
- Legislative Council
The System of Government
- District Administration
The Electoral System
HKSAR's External Affairs
Working Relationship of the HKSARG with the MFA Office
Working Relationship with the Mainland Authorities
Office of the HKSAR Government in Beijing
Advisory and Statutory Bodies
Structure of the Administration
Official Languages
Government Records Service
Office of The Ombudsman
Office of the Director of Audit
Home Pages
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Table of Contents Constitution and Administration The Legal System The Economy Financial and Monetary Affairs Commerce and Industry Employment Education Health Food Safety, Environmental Hygiene, Agriculture and Fisheries Social Welfare Housing Land, Public Works and Utilities Transport The Environment Travel and Tourism Public Order Communications, the Media and Information Technology Religion and Custom Recreation, Sport and the Arts Population and Immigration History Appendices PRINT
Office of The Ombudsman

The Office of The Ombudsman is an independent statutory authority, established in 1989 under the Ombudsman Ordinance, to redress grievances arising from maladministration in the public sector through independent and impartial investigations to improve the standard of public administration.

Since December 2001, the office had severed its links with the Administration and had become a corporation sole. It has set up its own administrative system and now recruits contract staff on terms and conditions determined by The Ombudsman.

Directly responsible to the Chief Executive, The Ombudsman serves as the community's monitor on government departments and public bodies specified in the schedule to the ordinance to ensure that:

  bureaucratic constraints do not interfere with administrative fairness;
public authorities are readily accessible to the public;
abuse of power is prevented;
wrongs are righted;
facts are pointed out when public officers are unjustly accused;
human rights are protected; and
the public sector continues to improve its quality, transparency and efficiency.

Two exceptions to the monitoring system are the Hong Kong Police Force and the Independent Commission Against Corruption, both of which have their own separate bodies for dealing with public complaints.

The 18 major public organisations in the schedule are: the Airport Authority, Employees Retraining Board, Equal Opportunities Commission, Financial Reporting Council, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, Hong Kong Housing Authority, Hong Kong Housing Society, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited, Hospital Authority, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Legislative Council Secretariat, Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Securities and Futures Commission, Urban Renewal Authority and Vocational Training Council.

Apart from investigating complaints, The Ombudsman may initiate direct investigations of its own volition into matters of public interest and widespread concern, and publish the reports. This proactive and preventive approach aims at addressing problems affecting a broad spectrum of the community. The direct investigations are particularly useful in redressing administrative flaws of a systemic nature and addressing fundamental problems or underlying causes for complaint.

Since 1994, when The Ombudsman was empowered to undertake direct investigations, 57 such investigations have been completed — four of them in 2006. These four concerned:

  Monitoring of assigned-out cases by the Legal Aid Department;
The medical fee waiver system;
Administration of The Mid-levels Administrative Moratorium; and
The System for Processing Applications for Disability Allowance by the Social Welfare Department.

The reports of all direct investigations have been published and are available for public scrutiny at the office's Resource Centre.

The Ombudsman Ordinance also empowers The Ombudsman to investigate complaints of non-compliance with the Code on Access to Information against government departments, including the Hong Kong Police Force and the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Ombudsman is also empowered to act as an independent review body in respect of an alleged breach of the code.

The office received 15 309 enquiries and 4 617 complaints in 2006, compared with 14 400 enquiries and 4 389 complaints in 2005. The areas attracting substantial numbers of complaints were related to error, wrong advice or decision, failure to follow procedures or delay, negligence or omission, disparity in treatment, lack of response to complaints, staff attitude and ineffective control.

Although The Ombudsman has no authority to enforce its recommendations, over 95 per cent of the recommendations made have been accepted by the organisations concerned in 2006.

2005 I 2004 I 2003 I 2002 I 2001 I 2000 I 1999 I 1998 I 1997