(CMR) The Office of the Ombudsman staff members, including Ombudsman Sharon Roulstone, spent two weeks between late February and early March in a specially designed advanced investigation training course taught by a 30-year veteran UK police detective.
The training course, delivered by TCM Group’s Chris Howarth, focused on interviewing and investigation techniques which the office is now using in its five disciplines, including maladministration, police and whistleblowing complaints, as well as in data protection complaints and FOI appeals.
“The Office of the Ombudsman is an alternate system of justice with extensive powers to guard against governmental abuses of power, unfair decisions, data breaches, procedural unfairness and other matters impacting private persons. Our complaint handling contributes to public confidence in that system, so it was important that our staff have the appropriate investigative skillsets to do their jobs to the highest standard. This training helped provide that,” Ms. Roulstone said.
“Each of our five service areas has unique legislation and requirements, yet how we approach each enquiry/investigation should not vary in order to ensure fairness in the process,” she added.
The Advanced Investigation Skills Training course certified Ombudsman staff members in the use of the PEACE interview model, which is currently used by most UK and Canadian investigative services, including some Ombuds offices in those jurisdictions.
“Our staff members individually already bring a variety of skill sets to their respective jobs. The certification of our entire team as investigators, however, brings more integrity to the important decisions we make and assures those seeking justice through our office that our processes are fair and to a high standard,” Ms. Roulstone said.
Mr. Howarth said TCM had instructed similar courses in many jurisdictions around the world, but the Cayman Islands training was the first time such a course had been put together for the unique regulatory role the Office of the Ombudsman occupies.
“It was a real pleasure to be involved in both the design and delivery of this program. The training focused on evidence-based practices using ethical, values-based decision-making models. I was impressed with the level of engagement and professionalism of the Investigators within the Ombudsman’s office throughout the course,” Mr. Howarth said.
Anyone wishing to know more about the services of the Office of the Ombudsman can visit their website at www.ombudsman.ky or contact them via phone 946-6283 or by email at [email protected]