Archive for July, 2007

President of AOA’s Post: Innovations in Investigation Techniques

I mulled over several topics for this, my first post on the AOA blog. Given that there are several issues and challenges we face in the conduct of our daily work, some of which I dwelled upon in my paper at the 10th AOA Conference in Hanoi in April this year, I had to consider several options; in the end, I selected “Innovations in investigation techniques” because this is an area where I feel not enough discussion takes place.  Since the work of the Ombudsman is governed by a legal framework, its core function of carrying out investigations on complaints is also guided by defined procedures. By and large, these procedures tend to be fairly detailed and can have several rigidities. Although I’m certain that every Ombudsman tries to remove these rigidities and make the investigation process as flexible as possible to ensure speedy redress of grievances, this is not always easily achieved. What is more, our procedures can also often limit choices of investigative techniques. I believe that while we have introduced innovations in some areas, such as in the use of Information Technology to improve our outreach, when it comes to investigation, we continue to work with old techniques and instruments. Is this because we are following the principle of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it’ or have we just found a comfort zone of following established procedures? As institutions delivering Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services, we could benefit from innovations that have taken place in investigation techniques used by other ADR players such as Mediators and Conciliators. We know for example, that mediations are usually concluded in one day, yet this is not at the cost of gathering of facts and weighing of options for resolution of disputes. How can we incorporate the procedures followed by the Mediators, in our investigation techniques? In addition, we could also look at techniques used by the private sector Ombudsman, whose operations, one would imagine, are unbridled by detailed procedures defined under law. Of course, while integrating investigation techniques, procedures and instruments used by our more nimble counterparts, we have to consider the changes in work culture they will bring in tow, but innovate we must.


July 25, 2007 at 9:24 am 2 comments

Welcome to the AOA Blog!

This space is meant for use by the members of the Asian Ombudsman Association ( However, we welcome non-members and other stakeholders to participate in discussions, debates and other activities meant to promote the concept of Ombudsmanship in Asia. This blog will encourage and promote discussions, sharing of information and experiences and generally act as a platform for free and frequent interaction amongst AOA members and other stakeholders on issues such as Public Grievance Redress (PGR) mechanisms; Freedom of Information (FOI); administrative simplification; investigation techniques; use of IT to improve services; and legal and institutional frameworks of the Ombudsman in Asia.

July 3, 2007 at 5:33 am Leave a comment

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