Maladministration is the actions of a Government body which can be seen as causing an injustice. These Government bodies include Government Ministries and Agencies, Statutory Authorities, State Owned Enterprises and Statutory Commissions and Boards.
The Office of the Ombudsman of Solomon Islands (OOSI) plays a watchdog role over the administrative conduct of these Government bodies by monitoring and if necessary, investigating and reporting on instances of suspected maladministration in compliance with the Solomon Islands Constitution and the Ombudsman Act. This role and mandate is carried out by the Ombudsman to protect the public and public servants from unfair treatment and unjust decisions by Government bodies and authorities in relation to their administrative conduct and to safeguard the integrity of the Government and its various institutions and bodies.
The definition of maladministration is broad and can include:
- Making decisions not based on proper reasons
- Failure to follow procedures or law
- Not following a fair and open process in awarding of contracts and scholarships
- Failure to give reasons for a decision
- Denying the access to information
- Inadequate or poor record keeping
- Undue delay
- Chronic ‘Kam back tomorrow’ syndrome (broken promises)
- Incorrect action or failure to take action
- Failure to investigate complaints
- Inadequate consultation and liaison
- Misleading and inaccurate statements
The Ombudsman’s Office (OOSI) investigates suspected maladministration when reported to the Office in the form of a Complaint from the public or through a special request from a Government Minister or Member of Parliament. The Office also monitors news and events pertaining to possible maladministration and can investigate suspected maladministration on its own initiative.
However, ultimately fighting maladministration is the work of all Solomon Islanders, Government public service institutions and citizens. The Ombudsman’s eyes are not everywhere and unless issues are reported and a collective effort taken to address them, it will be very difficult to reduce or suppress maladministration in public administration.