Northern Ireland

Public services ombudsman given greater powers

Marie Anderson
Image caption Marie Anderson said the Northern Ireland ombudsman's office would have more powers than those any other part of the UK

A new ombudsman's office for investigating complaints about public services opens on Friday.

The Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman has a bigger remit than its predecessor and will publish reports in the public interest.

The ombudsman will investigate complaints about health, housing, local government and education sectors.

However, the public can now also complain to the ombudsman about the Audit Office and Assembly Commission.

The new ombudsman, Marie Anderson, will be able to publish investigation reports in the public interest, and investigate complaints about social work decisions and about maladministration by Stormont departments in commercial and contractual matters.

"From October we will be investigating complaints about universities and colleges and from April of next year we'll be investigating complaints about schools," Ms Anderson said.

"We will be the ombudsman with the greatest powers in the UK and Ireland."

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