The Office of the Complaints Commissioner continues its public awareness and education campaign to ensure agencies across Government are familiar with its role.
Complaints Commissioner, Mr. Elton Georges, held two separate educational presentations to a cross-section of public officers, members and employees of Government boards, commissions and councils at the Training Division on March 27. Twenty-one persons were in attendance.
During the interactive session, the Complaints Commissioner fielded several questions from the audience and provided a history of the office leading up to its establishment. He also explained in detail the ideas behind the Complaints Commissioner Act, 2003 as well as the provisions of the Act.
The Commissioner discussed the characteristics of good administration and service delivery, as opposed to maladministration, which he said persons often complain about. He added that the aim for each office should be to reduce complaints by having things done properly.
Mr. Georges said that transparency is one of the hallmarks of good administration and is praised by public figures. He stated that several departments and agencies are however operating in a manner that is the opposite of transparent and refuse to give reasons for decisions they make.
Mr. George’s said, “Transparency means being open and clear about the law, policies and procedures under which you are operating and ensuring that any information or advice given is accurate and complete”.
The Commissioner urged all present to adopt an attitude of welcoming complaints as an important part of a well-rounded service to the public and to have an effective complaints handling process in place. He added that his office would assist in this endeavour.
Officials attending the presentations included, Chairman of the Social Security Board Mr. Paul Webster, Chairman of the Allied Health Professionals Council, Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith, representatives from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, the BVI Health Services Authority, the BVI Tourist Board and the BVI Ports Authority.
Representatives from a cross section of Government included the Ministries of Finance, Natural Resources and Labour and Communications and Works. Officers from Departments such as Labour, Immigration, Water and Sewerage, Trade and Consumer Affairs and Youth Affairs and Sports were also in attendance.
This presentation follows a session held on March 6 to the Taxi and Livery Commission and a presentation on February 18 to the Inmates Council at Her Majesty’s Prison.
The Office of the Complaints Commissioner is responsible for receiving complaints from members of the public about Government agencies, officials, departments or statutory bodies. It then investigates the complaints and if found to be justified, writes a report with recommendations to the relevant Government agency. The Complaints Commissioner is a constitutional post, the holder of which is appointed by the Governor acting after consultation with the Premier and the Leader of Opposition.