The Ombudsman has a dual role. Firstly, under Part 2 of the Act, he investigates complaints by members of the public concerning maladministration, failure in a relevant service or failure to provide a relevant service by any "listed authority" in Wales. Secondly, under Part 3 of the Act, he is responsible for policing ethical standards in local authorities.
The "listed authorities" subject to the Ombudsman's supervision in regard to maladministration or failure of service are:
Part of the Ombudsman's role is to investigates complaints that members of local government bodies have behaved wrongly.
The Ombudsman has issued statutory guidance known as Principles of Good Administration. Each local authority must adopt a Code of Conduct based on those principles, which covers members and employees. Local authorities are expected to handle complaints themselves, with the office of the Ombudsman maintaining an overview of investigations in to allegations that members' conduct may have fallen short of the required standards.
The Ombudsman has power to investigate any complaint referred to him. If he concludes that there is evidence which warrants doing so, he will send a formal report either to the authority’s standards committee or to the Adjudication Panel for Wales. It will be for the authority or the Panel to decide if the code of conduct has been broken and if so, what penalty to impose on the member concerned. The maximum penalty the Panel may impose is five years’ disqualification from office.
Those who are subject to such supervision are the following types of authority in Wales and the members of any of them:
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