New chair and members elected to executive committee

Kieran FitzGerald, Commissioner at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, was elected Chair of the Ombudsman Association at the Annual Meeting on 13 May 2016.

Following his election, Kieran said: “I’m honoured to be elected as Chair of the Ombudsman Association. The Association is at a significant moment in its history, having undertaken an extensive review in recent years. That review presents an opportunity, along with the valuable appointment of a Director, for visible improvements in the benefits of Association membership. In the context of major legislative change in the ADR landscape, maintaining the Association’s pre-eminent position will require energy and ambition. I hope to bring the enthusiasm necessary to that project. It is my ambition, as Chair, to see every member’s feeling of being included in Association activities enhanced.”

Five other members were also elected to the Executive Committee to serve a two-year term alongside the current members.

Anthony Arter, the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pensions Protection Fund Ombudsman, Kathryn Stone OBE, the Chief Ombudsman at the Legal Ombudsman, and Caroline Wayman, Chief Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service, were elected to represent Ombudsman Members.

Linda Kirwan, Head of Complaints and Client Relations at the Law Society of Ireland, and Helen Megarry, The Adjudicator, were elected to represent Complaint Handler and Associate members.

Commenting on her re-election to the Executive, Caroline Wayman said: “For me, one of the great strengths of the Association is enabling members to meet others in the community, build contacts, share challenges and offer help and support. I’m delighted to be able to continue to help improve the service the Association provides to members.”

Linda Kirwan agreed with Caroline, noting: “I’ll be encouraging others in Ireland to become members in order to benefit from the experience of colleagues from the many different organisations across all jurisdictions.”

Highlighting the Association’s Business Plan for 2016-17, Anthony Arter added: “I’m delighted to join the Association’s Executive Committee and welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Association’s continued success in the support of its members.”

Kathryn Stone OBE commented on the importance of members ensuring their service is responsive to users, saying: “I am passionate about ensuring the voice of the consumer is heard within our organisations and that the work of the Executive helps build this.”

Having worked at an ombudsman and now heading one of the Association’s Complaint Handler Members, Helen Megarry noted: ”The best practice and guidance that the Association is currently working on is relevant to all members, regardless of the sector, nation or territory they operate in, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to support that work more closely.”

Kieran FitzGerald, concluded: “I’m delighted to welcome Caroline back and the Executive Committee is looking forward to working with Anthony, Kathryn, Linda and Helen in delivering the Association’s aims.”

Notes

1. The objects of the Ombudsman Association are to:
a) Support and promote an effective system of complaint handling and redress in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Britain’s Crown Dependencies and Britain’s Overseas Territories.
b) Encourage, develop and protect the role of ombudsmen in both the public and private sectors as the ‘best practice’ model for resolving complaints, according recognition through membership.
c) Provide an authoritative voice and promote best practice and policy for those involved in complaint handling and redress to ensure an effective service for the public.
d) Support open and transparent accountability and endorse principles of good complaint handling.

2. The Executive Committee of the Ombudsman Association consists of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Director, six other representatives of Ombudsman members and three representatives of Complaint Handler and Associate Members.

3. Biographies of the Executive Committee members can be viewed here: http://www.ombudsmanassociation.org/association-executive.php

4. The Executive Committee meets five times a year and is responsible for the conduct of the business of the Association.

5. All those elected will serve a two-year term from May 2016 to May 2018.

6. For more information please contact Donal Galligan, the Director of the Ombudsman Association on 020 8642 6143 or email donal.galligan@ombudsmanassociation.org