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LC: Speech by CS in presenting Government Minute in response to Annual Report of The Ombudsman 2022
     Following is the speech (translated from Chinese) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, in presenting the Government Minute in response to the Annual Report of The Ombudsman 2022 in the Legislative Council today (December 14):

Mr President,

     The Annual Report of The Ombudsman 2022 was submitted to the Legislative Council on July 13 this year. Today, the Government submits the Government Minute (GM) responding to the recommendations as set out in the Annual Report.

     In 2021-22, the Office of The Ombudsman received a total of around 5 000 complaint cases, representing a significant decrease of over 80 per cent as compared to the previous year.
     In the Annual Report, The Ombudsman summed up eight direct investigation cases and 92 full investigation cases, making 139 recommendations in total. The GM has responded in detail to all the recommendations. Relevant government departments and public bodies have accepted the vast majority of the recommendations by The Ombudsman, and have taken or are actively taking follow-up actions. As for the two cases where recommendations have not been accepted, the authorities concerned have already explained the reasons to The Ombudsman and provided a detailed account in the GM.

     As reflected in the data contained in the Annual Report, more than half of the 92 full investigation cases were found to be unsubstantiated. For those cases where The Ombudsman made recommendations for improvement, government departments and public bodies have made specific responses and actively taken follow-up actions, with a view to continuously enhancing the quality of public services.

     On access to information, about 10 500 requests for information made under the Code on Access to Information (the Code) from members of the public were received by government departments in 2021-22, representing a decrease of 5 per cent as compared to the previous year. Since the promulgation of the Code, 94 per cent of the cases have been provided with all the information requested and 3 per cent have been provided with part of the information requested. The Ombudsman also pointed out in the Annual Report that the number of complaints concerning non-compliance with the Code received during the year was 87, a decrease as compared to the figure last year. In comparison with the number of requests for information handled by the government departments, the number of complaints accounted for only less than 1 per cent of the total figure.

     In 2021-22, the Office resolved more than 200 complaint cases by way of mediation, representing an increase of over 20 per cent as compared to the previous year. Mediation helps resolve disputes between both parties to a complaint efficiently, thereby achieving a win-win situation. I hope the Office will continue to work with various government departments and public bodies to promote mediation.

     In addition to investigation and mediation, the Office also commended government departments and public officers for their excellent performance in handling complaints and serving their customers. In November 2021, the Office organised the Presentation Ceremony of The Ombudsman's Awards and presented awards to four government departments and 64 public officers as a token of encouragement and recognition for their performance and achievements in handling complaints.

     I understand that the public expectations towards public services have always been rising. Despite the challenges brought about by the epidemic and others, departments and public officers will continue to stay committed and remain steadfast in performing their duties, endeavouring to maintain the quality of public services. We will continue to encourage all public officers to live up to a result-oriented spirit, striving to address the pressing concerns of the public with a people-oriented mentality and a commitment to take up responsibilities.

     Thank you, Mr President.
Ends/Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:23
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