Complaints on the rise

THE number of complaints received by the Ombudsman has risen by eight per cent, and there has been a record number of inquiries.

Complaints between July 1992 and June this year rose to 162 and inquiries were up 7.6 per cent to 977.

The fifth annual report of the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints revealed that the Correctional Services Department attracted 10 complaints in that period compared to only four in 1991-92.

The commissioner, Mr Arthur Garcia, said the complaints came mainly from inmates in correctional institutions, focusing on discipline, prison conditions and prisoners' rights and privileges.

But of the 10, only one was partially substantiated, six were unsubstantiated and the remaining three were found to be outside his jurisdiction.

The Buildings and Lands Department continued to receive the highest number of complaints, 43 as against the previous 35. It was followed by the Housing Department, involved in 22 complaints compared to 19 in 1991-92.


Of the 162 complaints, 10.4 per cent were substantiated, 23.6 per cent partially substantiated and 66 per cent not substantiated.

Mr Garcia said there was an increasing recognition by most departments of the value of his office not only to protect the interests of the public but also to act as an indicator of deficiencies in their decision-making process.

He said the Inland Revenue Department, which had the third largest number of complaints, had always been prepared to recognise and correct their mistakes and shortcomings.

But he added: ''I am concerned at the excessive length of time taken by the Hospital Authority in responding to my inquiries or requests for information.''