News today that we have an escalation in lawsuits against the government and the government wants to know why.
Traditionally people appeal to their MPs when they have a problem. If their MPs have no access to solutions they quickly run out of options. And MPs are increasingly without access to information and solutions.
I do not suggest that we return to that type of process because MPs are political and the party of a person's MP should not completely colour their relationship with the a sitting government especially when it comes to more administrative services that are intended to be offered evenly across the country. Some people may have greater access if their MP is the party in government or based on the political bias of that MP.
So instead the government might do well to have a parallel administrative ombudsperson office. This might save a great deal of money in avoiding lawsuits. It would be a last point of access for people and resolve more issues creating better government.
This would free MPs to do the policy work they need to do. For example, MPs offices have for a long time spent substantial amounts of their time on immigration services because that under-funded department does not even answer its phones much of the time. The mismatch between expectations of the department and resources has led to much of that work being shunted to MPs. Contact with MPs ought to be more related to policy changes than people appealing for help because the administration of government is beyond their reach.
This ombudsperson office could be a staff person assigned to each MP but not paid by or working for that office. They would work for the government rather than a party and be able to share best practices, solutions and non-personal information. They would take referrals from the MPs and direct from the public for administrative issues leaving MPs to deal with the policy and political issues their offices are designed for.