The Strategic Plan of the Office of the Ombudsman was obsolete when the Ombudsman assumed Office on 2nd May, 2017. Melron Nicol-Wilson therefore considers the need for a New Strategic Plan which will guide the operations of his Office to be paramount.
He has secured the financial and technical support of the United Nations Development Program office in Sierra Leone to assist the institution in developing a new strategic plan for 2018 to 2022.
This New Strategic Plan is mainly based on the challenges he discovered during his institutional assessment; the experience he has acquired since he assumed Office; and the deficiencies and pitfalls noted by Stakeholders, and staff of the institution. Unlike the previous Strategic Plans this new plan has a SMART implementation strategy which is prudently costed; to ensure effectiveness and efficiency; and also to assure accountability.
The Ombudsman has published the inaugural edition of its quarterly newsletter in September this year and will soon be publishing its second edition in order to inform Stakeholders and the general public about the activities and developments of the Institution.
The Ombudsman has successfully resolved over 90% of backlog cases whilst also dealing with emerging complaints. The Office has also commenced Intake Clinics in the regional provinces for 2017 and will continue to do so throughout the tenure of his appointment with an increase from one intake clinic per district every year to four intake clinics per district every year starting from 2018.
The website of the Office of the Ombudsman has been updated and redesigned into a more informative and user-friendly version, which does not only provides the opportunity for people to lodge their complaints online but also improves information technology and communication within his institution collaboration with similar institutions and MDAs as well as Development Partners in governance. This will enhance the Memoranda of Understanding signed with other similar institutions to ensure an effective complaints management referral system.
The Ombudsman is establishing a regional office in Port Loko to serve the newly created North-West region of the country; and concrete plans have already been intimated in that direction. The Ombudsman has created Divisions and Units within his new structure to reflect current trends the requirements of his Strategic Plan and also the experience and specialization of his teams. Such a management approach creates the impetus for staff to excel; taking both individual and collective responsibilities in delivering the mandate of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman has introduced an Internship Programme, to provide an opportunity for students and new graduates, who are unable to secure remunerated work to gain valuable experiences recommendations and even future job placements and employment opportunities within meaningful institutions.
Ombudsman will soon be relocating the Ombudsman‘s Head Office from its present two floors building at Liverpool street to a four floor building at Charlotte Street in down town Freetown, which is fit for purpose; and will start the next chapter of his mandate as Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone with the commencement of a new strategic plan.
The New Strategic Plan is now being finalized for presentation to Key Stakeholders and the public; and will be adopted as a document that will guide the operations of the Office of the Ombudsman from 2018 to 2022.