Designing Redress: A Study About Grievances Against Public Bodies
The Public Law Project, London 2012
67 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012
Date Written: August 29, 2012
How grievances against public bodies are resolved is important not only for the individuals concerned and the decision-makers complained about but also to the whole system of government. People need to have confidence that when things go wrong, they will be put right. There is a general public interest in that being done in accordance with constitutional principles and in ways that are effective and efficient.
Over many years, a great variety of different ‘mechanisms’ for dealing with grievances have been created, ranging from internal complaints processes through to the work of external bodies (including ombudsmen, tribunals and courts).
This project has focused on how mechanisms are designed. The study explores how different mechanisms can be thought of as relating to each other. It also looks at the various reasons why mechanisms have to be designed. Drawing on interviews with people involved in the design process and analysis of public information, a map of where the activity of designing redress has been created. Evaluating the ‘administrative justice landscape’, two particular deficiencies emerge: there is no strong political or official leadership in relation to how mechanisms ought to be designed and the system is fragmented, with many different people, in various organisations all contributing to design activities. Might a toolkit of guiding principles for designing redress be one way of achieving a better design process and outcomes? A number of principles are proposed in this report, and the authors hope to engage stakeholders in a debate about how this might best be taken forward.
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