HC Deb 16 July 1969 vol 787 c584
6. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now consider introducing legislation to establish an Ombudsman for local government affairs in Scotland.

Mr. Buchan

I would ask my hon. Friend to await the statement promised by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his Answer on 24th June, 1969.—[Vol. 785, c. 1209–10.]

Mr. Maclennan

In view of the negative replies which my hon. Friend has received from local authorities to his inquiries about their having set up complaints offices, does not he agree that in any case it is quite unsatisfactory that members of the public with grievances should have to rely on local authority officials who in many cases are bound to have to act as judges in their own causes?

Mr. Buchan

We fully discussed this point in the House earlier. I reiterated that I thought that this would be a very useful development. I still exhort local councils to carry this through. As to my hon. Friend's other point, we should await developments.

Mrs. Ewing

Can the hon. Member say whether any delay in making use of this excellent proposal is merely out of a consideration of cost, or is there any other reason?

Mr. Buchan

The main problem is one of principle. We are examining this and other aspects of local government, and we shall be examining even more aspects of local government when the Wheatley Report comes out.