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View from the Chair

Richard Blakeway
Richard Blakeway
Chair of the OA
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I was delighted, and very grateful, to be elected Chair of the Ombudsman Association at the AGM in September.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on all of the sectors and nations that our members cover has heightened the importance of complaints and the role of our services to drive learning and service improvement. 

I firmly believe that now is a critical time to highlight the importance of our work to further understanding and support policy development, to close gaps in accessing redress and strengthen our roles. The OA is perfectly placed to coordinate and drive that work.

That can range from the coordinated activities for #OmbudsDay, to help raise general awareness of the sector, to the more hard-nosed engagement with Ministers and officials on policy proposals, such as those for the UK consumer sector, to ensure that the best practice reflected in the OA’s criteria is followed.

The past 18 months has also put profound pressure on many services.  Developing support networks and providing learning and development opportunities through the OA is essential.  The excellent online conference was just one example of that; the regular activities of the OA Networks, both through their meetings and the forums in the OA Community, provide that opportunity on a regular basis.

The OA’s 3-year business plan aimed to deliver the priorities identified in the 2019 Members’ Survey. The 2021 Survey will ensure that we are still focused on what members most want and need and will shape our work going forward.

I am really looking forward to working with you all over the coming years and bringing my energy and experience to ensure the OA meets the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

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