Response to media query

Published: 6 December 2023

ODPA response to media query about Public Services Ombudsperson

Bailiwick of Guernsey Data Protection Commissioner Emma Martins commented:

“There are few, if any, interactions that we as citizens have with organisations, including government departments, that do not involve data – data that is given by us and data that is produced about us. As there is no complaints handling body for government departments in the Bailiwick, it is not uncommon for complaints relating to a range of issues to find their way to this Authority, even when, at their heart, they may not necessarily be data protection matters.

The financial pressures on every organisation are at this time very real and public money needs to be spent carefully and wisely. It is also important that any assessments of the value of an ombudsman (or similar) as a trusted, independent and impartial arbiter where problems arise, properly consider the costs of not having one.

These costs may be financial, for example if inefficiencies are not addressed and improvements made. They may also be less tangible as they can relate to the trust and confidence our community have in the structures of government, how power is exercised, and accountability ensured.

At this office, we will continue to fulfil our role for the whole community and consider all complaints made to us carefully. If there are opportunities for us as a jurisdiction to positively and constructively engage and respond to citizens who have experienced problems, we should explore them fully.”