Ombudsman For Children Act, 2002

Function to examine and investigate complaints against schools and voluntary hospitals.

9.—(1) Subject to this Act, the Ombudsman for Children may investigate any action taken (being an action taken in the performance of administrative functions) by or on behalf of—

(a) a school in connection with the performance of its functions under section 9 of the Act of 1998,

(b) a voluntary hospital within the meaning of the Act of 1999 in connection with the provision by it of services (within the meaning of that Act) in accordance with an arrangement made by it under section 10 of that Act with the Eastern Regional Health Authority or an Area Health Board, or

(c) a voluntary hospital specified in Schedule 2 in connection with the provision by it of services under the Health Acts, 1947 to 2001, for persons eligible for such services in accordance with an arrangement made by it under section 26 of the Health Act, 1970 , with the health board within whose functional area it is situated,

where, upon having carried out a preliminary examination of the matter, it appears to the Ombudsman for Children that—

(i) the action has or may have adversely affected a child, and

(ii) the action was or may have been—

(I) taken without proper authority,

(II) taken on irrelevant grounds,

(III) the result of negligence or carelessness,

(IV) based on erroneous or incomplete information,

(V) improperly discriminatory,

(VI) based on an undesirable administrative practice, or

(VII) otherwise contrary to fair or sound administration.

(2) The Ombudsman for Children may investigate an action under subsection (1)(a) only where the procedures prescribed pursuant to section 28 of the Act of 1998 have been resorted to and exhausted in relation to the action.

(3) The references to a voluntary hospital in paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (1) do not include references to—

(a) persons when acting on behalf of the voluntary hospital concerned and (in the opinion of the Ombudsman for Children) solely in the exercise of clinical judgement in connection with the diagnosis of illness or the care or treatment of a patient, whether formed by the person taking the action or by any other person, or

(b) the voluntary hospital concerned when acting on the advice of persons acting as aforesaid, being actions of the voluntary hospital that, in the opinion of the Ombudsman for Children, were taken solely on such advice.

(4) In this section “an Area Health Board” means the Northern Area Health Board, the East Coast Area Health Board or the South-Western Area Health Board.