18 Nov 2008

Pacific alliance of ombudsmen to strengthen their roles

4:08 pm on 18 November 2008

A Pacific Ombudsman Alliance has been set up to strengthen ombudsmen services in the region.

11 Pacific countries are involved in the Alliance, which is one of the initiatives of the Pacific Plan and its focus on good governance.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade says the region's leaders see the role of ombudsmen services as pivotal to maintaining open and accountable governments in the region.

The Australian Commonwealth Ombudsman, John McMillan, who is the first chair of the Alliance, says they will push legislation and programmes that recognise the rights of citizens to transparent and accountable government services.

The Forum's governance advisor, Dr Henry Ivarature, says the members of the Alliance will provide support for each other.

"To give encouragement to each other as a collective body, in the interests of strengthening good governance, in the interests of promoting access for people to make complaints, in the interests of, as the result of complaints, to bring accountability to government, government service, public service etc."

Dr Henry Ivarature