Ombudsman holds seminar on sports policy and recreational and sports facilities (with photos)

The following is issued on behalf of the Office of The Ombudsman:

     The Office of The Ombudsman held a seminar entitled "Sports Policy and Recreational/Sports Facilities" today (September 24). Around 100 Justices of the Peace (JPs) and Advisers of the Office attended the seminar and shared their views with the guest speakers on the policy and other issues pertaining to the planning and provision of sports facilities, as well as the principles governing the booking and allocation of such facilities. The participants had useful and constructive exchanges at the seminar.

     Assistant Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Ms Margrit Li and Chief Leisure Manager of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) Ms Alice Heung were invited as guest speakers, while Chief Investigation Officer of the Office of The Ombudsman Mr Tommy Wong shared his experience and observations in investigating related complaints.

     In her welcoming speech, The Ombudsman, Ms Connie Lau, said, "Since we announced in 2012 the findings of our direct investigation into the booking and use of sports facilities, the LCSD has formulated a number of improvement measures to be introduced gradually. This seminar provides an opportunity for us to share our views with the LCSD on different areas to help them to implement new and better measures."

     Ms Lau noted that in the past year her Office had inquired into and concluded a total of 141 complaints against the LCSD, mostly relating to the provision of sports and recreational facilities. However, this should not be taken to mean that departments or organisations were providing unsatisfactory services. In fact, it indicated that the scope of their services was closely related to the daily lives of the general public and so the services received people's greater attention. In the Office's complaint investigations, it often found cases in which the departments concerned had tried their best to serve the public and continued to make improvements. In short, the investigations also served the purpose of giving them credit for their efforts, Ms Lau remarked.

     At the seminar, Ms Lau also talked about the effectiveness of mediation, an alternative complaint resolution method the Office has adopted in recent years. Last year, there was a significant increase in the number of cases handled by mediation. Compared with just a few cases annually in the past, 38 cases were handled by mediation last year. In fact, during the first four months between April and July this year, there were 33 cases successfully resolved by mediation. As mediation is time-saving, flexible and efficient, the Office will continue to promote the use of this service and encourage more departments and organisations to accept this alternative method for complaint handling.

     Each year, the Office of The Ombudsman organises seminars on various topics for its Advisers and members of the JPs Assistance Scheme. These seminars aim to enhance their understanding of the Office's work and the responsibilities of different government departments and provide them with a platform to express their views so that they can help promote the work of the Office through their daily contact with the public, thereby contributing to improvement in public administration and services.

Ends/Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:05