The Ombudsman can conduct two types of own initiative investigation:
This factsheet explains how the Ombudsman can use his extended own initiative powers under Section 4 of the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019.
Information about wider own initiative investigations can be found here.
The Ombudsman’s criteria for extending an investigation says that, where the Ombudsman has already begun an investigation into a complaint and he wishes to begin an own initiative investigation into matters that have a substantial connection with the matter already being investigated, he will begin an extended investigation on his own initiative.
An extended investigation may be carried out where the Ombudsman has a reasonable suspicion that a complaint about:
Is closely linked to:
Matters which are likely to fall within the meaning of “systemic maladministration/service failure or systemic injustice” include:
Matters which are likely to fall within the meaning of “public interest” include:
The Ombudsman may wish to extend or take a live investigation in another associated direction where examination of records, professional advice received or other evidence available identifies concerns, beyond those in the complaint received, which meet the criteria.
Where the Ombudsman considers that an extended own initiative investigation is required the public body concerned and the complainant will be advised and will have the opportunity to comment and/or submit evidence as part of the investigation process.
When the Ombudsman has initiated an extended investigation, it will be managed in accordance with the Ombudsman’s existing complaints handling processes.
If an extended investigation relates to health services and the ‘Putting Things Right’ regulations are of relevance, the complainant will be given the opportunity to progress the matter under these regulations as an alternative, if they wish.