The Ombudsman helps to uphold Government Integrity by carrying out its functional roles to ensure that the Government acts fairly towards Solomon Islanders, that Government decisions are proper and just, and by making recommendations that aim to improve the Government’s administrative conduct.
This responsibility is carried out through robust investigations into cases of suspected maladministration and through a rigorous reporting regime aimed at improving the administrative conduct of public bodies and officers.
Addressing systemic administrative issues is at the heart of the Ombudsman’s role and the Ombudsman’s Office (OOSI) compliments this role through liaison arrangements with public bodies and through participation in national policy and legislative reviews that aim to improve the Government’s administrative conduct and integrity.
The pdf Whistleblowers Protection Act 2018 (751 KB) and the pdf Anti Corruption Act 2018 (1.86 MB) are examples of integrity legislation that the Ombudsman’s Office has had input into. The Ombudsman’ Office is also spearheading efforts for Parliament to pass into law, a Freedom of Information Act. The Act will aim to empower citizens to seek information from government ministries and agencies relating to service delivery. It will also help ministries and agencies to be responsible, transparent and accountable for their actions or the decisions made.
Furthermore, The High Court of Solomon Islands has stated that because the Office is a constitutional institution, Ministers, Members of Parliament and public service officials all have legal obligations to cooperate with the Ombudsman’s Office. Public office holders and public servants have a duty not to undermine its authority. It should not be ignored, and must be afforded the courtesy of prompt replies and clear explanations. The High Court stated that the Ombudsman’s recommendations are important, and should be acted upon unless there is exceptionally good reason not to.
The High Court has also said that the failure of public officials to respond to the Ombudsman’s Office inquiries or to implement Ombudsman recommendations tends to perpetuate corruption by encouraging a belief on the part of upright people that graft and corruption work better.