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Dublin: 14°C Thursday 28 October 2021

Children's Ombudsman gains power to oversee 180 new state bodies

Legislation taking effect today gives Emily Logan the power to investigate the treatment of children by a slew of new agencies.

Emily Logan now has the power to investigate 180 new public bodies if they have discriminated against children.
Emily Logan now has the power to investigate 180 new public bodies if they have discriminated against children.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 12:49

180 NEW PUBLIC bodies and State companies fall under the scrutiny of the Children’s Ombudsman as of today.

Legal changes published through last year, taking effect today, significantly increase the list of public entities which can be scrutinised by Emily Logan and her team.

The changes address shortcomings that have emerged since 2002, when the office of the Children’s Ombudsman was first created.

Previously the office could only oversee the operations of a fixed list of bodies – meaning a newly-created state body does not fall automatically under its watch.

The changes taking effect today mean this is no longer the case – and the office can scrutinise all bodies, other than those specifically included on a list of exempted bodies.

The Ombudsman for Children is required by law to engage with ministers to ensure that any appropriate bodies are included under its remit, which led to the expansion of the list late last year.

“I have called for this change for some time; as far back as 2005 I raised concerns about a number of exclusions to the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002,” Logan said in a statement this morning.

The changes mean that any member of the public who feels that a policy is discriminatory against children, or a child who believes they have been unfairly treated by one of the covered agencies, can complain to the Ombudsman for Children, who can then investigate accordingly.

The office dealt with 1,200 complaints last year.

Read: Complaints to Children’s Ombudsman rose by over 20 per cent in 2011

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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