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New Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman Identified for Nomination

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission has identified Margaret Kelly as the new Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman for nomination by the Assembly. Appointment is by Royal Warrant and is for a single period of seven years.

Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Chair of the Assembly Commission, Alex Maskey MLA, yesterday said:

“I am delighted that the Assembly Commission has identified a candidate for nomination as the new Public Services Ombudsman.

“The Commission has recently concluded the recruitment process for this high profile post which plays a crucial role in our society. Margaret Kelly has a long track record in the voluntary and community sector in posts where she has significant experience of dealing with public services and working with those who deliver them. This will leave her well placed to serve as Ombudsman with its responsibility for investigating complaints where it is believed that public bodies may not have delivered their services properly.

“Good governance and oversight are important in enabling us all to be confident that our public bodies are carrying their functions in a fair and transparent manner.”

In addition, the Ombudsman can also initiate investigations where there is a reasonable suspicion of maladministration or, in the case of health and social care, where there is a reasonable suspicion of systemic injustice.

Finally, as part of her role, Ms Kelly will also be the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman and Local Government Commissioner for Standards.

Before being appointed as the new Ombudsman, Ms Kelly was most recently the Director of MENCAP Northern Ireland, a post she held for five years. Prior to that, she has spent more than 25 years working in the voluntary and community sector and held leading roles in Gingerbread, Barnardo’s and the Fostering Network. In addition, Margaret has worked closely with the Assembly and Executive departments in the past to develop and improve policies that affect families.

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