Shaping the next 50 years
It was 50 years ago – in October 1961 – that JUSTICE published a report by Sir John Whyatt QC, former Attorney-General of Kenya and Chief Justice of Singapore, entitled The Citizen and Administration: The redress of grievances.
Although it took a change of government in 1964 before Whyatt’s recommendation of a UK Parliamentary Ombudsman was implemented in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, it was the Whyatt Report, nonetheless, that should be credited with bringing to this country not just the Parliamentary Ombudsman but also the Ombudsman institution itself.
In her lecture, Ann Abraham, Parliamentary Ombudsman, reasserts the institutional importance of the Parliamentary Ombudsman – its importance as a democratic institution, part of our constitutional landscape, as well as its importance as an agent of social justice and fairness, part of our administrative justice landscape. It is with this inter-relationship between democracy and justice that Abraham is primarily concerned and on which she proposes a vision for the Ombudsman of the future.
In this lecture, she supposes that if we are to continue the task of humanising the bureaucracy, of maintaining public relationships that bear the stamp of democratic values, and of protecting the entitlement of ordinary citizens to dignity and respect, we should acknowledge the insight of ‘Whyatt’ and remain protective of its legacy, not just now but in the future, and if necessary for the next 50 years.