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OMBUDSMAN WANTS GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE FLEXIBLE WHEN MAKING DECISIONS

2009-04-23

News Release

Putting people before policy is the message that Ombudsman Kevin Fenwick had for the provincial government in his 2008 Annual Report tabled today in the Legislature.

Fenwick said, “Government workers need to be given enough discretion to allow them to do their jobs well. Without this, policies can be applied too strictly and sometimes even work against the needs the program is designed to protect. Flexible decision-making means better service to the residents of the province.”

“Our job” says Fenwick “is to make sure that people who feel that they have been treated unfairly are given an independent review. Sometimes we investigate, sometimes we negotiate and sometimes we mediate and coach. Not all problems need to be handled in the same way. Our approach is not a onesize-fits all but is flexible and appropriate to the circumstances.”

Fenwick also reminds government that it needs to be proactive in its approach to providing better service.
Installing fair practice offices in larger ministries, training government employees on fairness and asking the Ombudsman to review policy and programs would be ways to make sure decisions are made and delivered fairly.

The report also provides an overview of the Ombudsman’s work in health care. Ombudsman
Saskatchewan investigates complaints about the provincial health care system and a number of examples
were highlighted in this year’s annual report. Fenwick has also provided government and the Patient First Review with information about the Ombudsman’s role in the health care system.

The Ombudsman Saskatchewan 2008 Annual Report is available at www.ombudsman.sk.ca. For paper copies, contact the Regina Ombudsman Saskatchewan office at 787- 6211 or the Saskatoon Ombudsman Saskatchewan office at 315 – 25th Street East.

The Ombudsman is an Officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan with the authority to take
complaints from members of the public who believe the government administration has not dealt fairly with them. The office provides a range of services, including investigation, negotiation and mediation. Government administration includes any ministry, branch, board, agency or commission, responsible to the Crown, and any public servant in Saskatchewan. The Ombudsman was established by The Ombudsman and Children’s Advocate Act.

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Media contact:
Leila Dueck
Director of Communications
Ombudsman Saskatchewan
Phone: 787-7369
Fax: 787-9090

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