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Working with international partners

In 2018–19, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) continued to fund the Office’s delivery of international programs in the Indo-Pacific region. The programs support regional ombudsman and allied integrity bodies through the provision of training, technical assistance and senior leadership engagement to build capacity and promote best practice complaint-handling and investigations.

Indonesia

The Office continued its engagement with the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia (ORI) during 2018–19. We delivered six activities, with the program focused on supporting the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia’s complaint-handling capabilities, leadership capability, strategic focus and development of a whole-of-government best practice model to enhance the internal complaint-handling systems of Indonesian public sector bodies. This included conducting a pilot regional training activity for local Indonesian government agencies, where our staff delivered an interactive presentation on good complaint-handling.

Senior Leadership Engagement, Indonesia

In early 2019, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman attended two high-level capacity-building events in Indonesia, hosted by the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia. In February 2019, the Commonwealth Ombudsman presented at the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia’s leadership and capacity building training in Bogor. The training helped senior staff in developing their capability as new and emerging leaders within ORI and promoted international best practice.

In March 2019, the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia hosted its 19th anniversary gala event and an international seminar in Palembang with the theme: ‘A better public service delivery in the era of disruption.’ This event was attended by 300 senior officials from the Indonesian Government, public service and international integrity agencies. The Deputy Commonwealth Ombudsman participated in a panel discussion relating to the theme of the seminar.

These events contributed to the broader partnership outcomes of strengthening leadership capacity and strategic focus through collaboration and peer-to-peer support. The events allowed senior leaders in both agencies to share their knowledge and experience at multiple levels and gain cross-cultural understanding, while enhancing their understanding of international best practice.

Senior Leadership Engagement, Indosesia​ Senior Leadership Engagement, Indosesia ​

Papua New Guinea


Building on past successes, the twinning program with the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea (OCPNG) delivered 11 activities in 2018–19. These included:

  • hosting a professional development placement (internship) program
  • delivering intake and assessment training
  • co-facilitating a complaint handling workshop for provincial administrators and government bodies
  • providing support for human resources software training
  • co-facilitating an annual report writing workshop
  • supporting the OCPNG to develop standard operating procedures for processing the annual financial statements of leaders.

These activities worked towards building stronger institutional systems and capacity for the OCPNG. Specifically, they aimed to improve internal standard operating procedures and practices, develop tailored leadership code investigations and refine processes and policies to manage high-volume and difficult caseloads with limited resources.

Samoa

In 2018–19, the Office entered into a bilateral partnership agreement with DFAT to work with the Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa and the Samoa Audit Office. The program aims to deliver low cost, high impact projects that:

  • strengthen partnerships
  • share best practice
  • enhance technical competence
  • develop leadership in organisational reform and staff development
  • improve corporate capabilities in strategic planning, communications and project management.

These aims were achieved by supporting staff from our partner agencies to:

  • attend a Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) strategy planning, measuring and reporting workshop in the Cook Islands
  • attend the Australasia and Pacific Ombudsman Region conference in New Zealand
  • participate in our Office’s Commonwealth Complaint-Handling Forum
  • complete a Certificate IV in Government Investigations
  • participate in professional development placements and attend advanced investigations training.

Solomon Islands

In 2018–19, the Office entered into a bilateral agreement with DFAT to work with the Office of the Ombudsman Solomon Islands and the Solomon Islands Leadership Code Commission. The Office worked with both organisations to:

  • undertake training and capability development in strategic planning and organisational reform
  • strengthen linkages with similar organisations in the Pacific
  • share lessons and methods to overcome identified challenges.

Program activities included:

  • providing in-country technical assistance to finalise the four year Corporate Strategic Plan for the Ombudsman’s Office
  • conducting senior leadership engagement
  • supporting both organisations to attend the Australasia and Pacific Ombudsman Region conference in New Zealand
  • professional development placements
  • government investigations and conflict of interest training.

Corporate Planning Workshop - Solomon Islands

Corporate Planning Workshop - Solomon IslandsStaff representatives, Bianca Martin and Andrew Pearce with Solomon Islands Ombudsman Mr Fred Fakarii and team.
Staff representatives, Bianca Martin and Andrew Pearce with Solomon Islands Ombudsman Mr Fred Fakarii and team.

In July 2018, the program supported a corporate planning workshop with the Office of the Ombudsman of the Solomon Islands in Honiara.

We gave technical assistance about how to build a corporate plan for an Ombudsman’s office and we supported the Ombudsman of the Solomon Islands to develop and finalise its 2018–2022 Corporate Strategic Plan, which forms the basis of its funding proposal to the Solomon Islands Government.

Staff participated in interactive group activities and edited the plan in real time. The plan was finalised in August 2018 and 120 copies were professionally printed.

The project helped to strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman of the Solomon Islands’ corporate governance framework by assisting the organisation to:

  • set long term goals for its ombudsman functions
  • develop a mission statement for the organisation and each divisional unit
  • establish key performance indicators, targets and measures for the various functions covered by the ombudsman’s office.