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OCC Presses Staffing Board to explain decisions

Cayman News Service

(CNS)The office the Complaints Commissioner has revealed in its latest work report that, followingcomplaints by members of the public, it has made a number of recommendations over the past year to the Business Staffing Plane Board to provide clear explanations for the decisions they make and that they should formally document and record all discussions requiring action they plan to take. The OCC also made recommendations to the Department of Labour and Pensions regarding their internal complaints process(ICP).


The last complaints commissioner, Nicola Williams, left Cayman more than 15 months ago and has not been replaced. Despite the heavy workload. Bridgette von Gerhardt has been holding the fort as acting commissioner but
her short-handed staff has not been able to conduct any own motion investigations into emerging or existing problems.


Last year the office received 133 complaints from the public. Of those, 26 were referred to the ICP manager within government entities as they were premature. with other avenues of resolution available to them. But 96 were investigated by the team of just five people, including the acting commissioner.


The OCC has not revealed the details of those ongoing complaints but said some seven recommendations were made to the Department of Labour and Pensions regarding the training of their internal complaints manager and staff, their internal complaints pax;ess and the need to address administrative elements of the complaints process.


The office also monitored 28 recommendations brought forward from last year, a large number of which relate to previous Own Motions Investigations (0M1). One of those was into the ability of tho National Pensions Office to effectively investigate. chargo and convict companios who aro non-compliant with legally mandated pension contributions, and the other into the ability of the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) — fomierly known as the Department of Employment Relations (DER) — to effectively and pmperly oversee, inspect and ensure health and safety at work for those involved in the instnictinn industry, as mandated under the applicable law and regulations.


The OCC said it had received proof that the DLP had substantially complied with the majority of the recommendations, but some are linked to the passage of the Pensions Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Bill and compliance was therefore delayed.

Despite already having a significant workload and a small team, the complaints commissioner has accepted responsibility for the new government regime regarding whistle:blowing. The OCC agreed in November last year to take on oversight for receiving and clearing reports from whistleblowers under the new legislation.


The OCC has begun preparations for the drafting of policy and guidelines on how to whistleblow and receive lawful protection. OCC Investigator Daniel Lee recently met with Valerie Jepson, the Integrity Commissioner of Toronto, and also Commissioner Joe Friday and other members of the Office of the Public Sector Integrity in Ottawa to find nut about their work regarding the investigation of whistleblcsving complaints.