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Ombudsman quarterly report shows complaints increase post lockdown

Government 12 Oct, 2020 Follow News

Sandy Hermiston, Cayman Islands Ombudsman

Complaints and enquiries regarding public sector entities, data protection issues and freedom of information (FOI) appeals all increased in the months after Cayman’s COVID 19 lockdown, according to records released Thursday by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman received a total of 97 enquiries from the public during third quarter 2020, compared to 59 during April-June this year. A total of 74 matters were placed under review by office staff during July-September, compared to 46 during the April-June period. Data protection, maladministration and public complaints against police all increased significantly during the third quarter.

“Our staff members remained operational throughout the entire lockdown period, but it’s clear workloads have increased as life here has returned to some semblance of normalcy,” said Sandy Hermiston, Cayman Islands Ombudsman.

Some notable developments from the third quarter include:

• The data protection unit recorded more data breach notifications (22) in the third quarter than it had in any other quarter of 2020

• Police and maladministration investigators resolved 35 cases during the quarter, a significant increase from 23 in the second quarter

• More whistleblower complaints were received in the third quarter than the office had seen in the entire first half of the year

“Our office investigates a wide variety of matters, ranging from public complaints against government, to whistleblower complaints, to data privacy issues, to open records disputes,” Ms. Hermiston said. “Given that 8 October is International Ombuds Day, we thought it was a good time to update the Cayman Islands public on our progress.”

Ombuds Day, which has been marked globally since 2018, serves to highlight the important services Ombudsman offices provide in their communities, typically free of charge and independent of government or civil society.

“Our office’s work is not just about investigations that identify areas for improvement,” Ms. Hermiston said. “It is also about resolving disputes and finding solutions that are acceptable to all parties involved.”

Anyone with questions or concerns about open records, data privacy, public sector complaints or whistleblower matters may contact the Office of the Ombudsman via phone at 946-6283 or via email at into@ombudsman.ky. Our website, www.ombudsman.ky also has much more information about the open records process in the Cayman Islands. All matters discussed are kept strictly confidential.

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