Watchdog goes woke: Government committee uses the term ‘OmbudsPERSON’


Watchdog goes woke: Government committee uses the term ‘OmbudsPERSON’ because ‘chairman is no longer appropriate’

  • It is thought to be the first time the substitute for ombudsman has been used
  • Tories accuse committee chair Harriet Harman of trying to push through term
  • Committee sources insist it ‘wasn’t intended to be some grandiose gesture’ 

A House of Commons committee is today looking at setting up a human rights ‘ombudsperson’ to handle complaints made against public authorities.

It is thought to be the first time the term – a ‘woke‘ substitute for the word ‘ombudsman’ – has been used for official parliamentary business.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights Committee is this afternoon examining the case for introducing such an individual, and will take evidence from witnesses including the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The committee is chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, who Tory colleagues accused of pushing through the new term. 

‘Oh God. Ombudsper-child surely. Son is a male term,’ one MP told MailOnline. 

‘The reality of Harriet is she’s always had this stance form her early days… the right-on causes. She hasn’t really modified that.’

Sources say it wasn’t Ms Harman specifically who drove the decision to use the ‘clunky’ word, but rather a collective verdict within the committee.

The committee is chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, who Tory colleagues accused of pushing through the new term

The committee is chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, who Tory colleagues accused of pushing through the new term

The Joint Committee on Human Rights Committee is this afternoon examining the case for introducing such an individual, and will take evidence from witnesses including the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

The Joint Committee on Human Rights Committee is this afternoon examining the case for introducing such an individual, and will take evidence from witnesses including the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

A committee spokesman told MailOnline: ‘It wasn’t a chair-led decision but we decided to use it use it as a neutral term.

‘Ombudsperson hasn’t been established, but the committee has been keen to move towards more gender-neutral terms.

‘We thought it was more appropriate to use in this instance as we no longer use the term chairman, for example.

‘But it wasn’t intended to be some grandiose gesture.’

A notice published ahead of today’s meeting read: ‘Ombudspersons handle complaints made by against public authorities. 

‘They often have power to investigate, recommend corrective action and issue a report where they find there has been maladministration. 

‘They can provide redress for an individual case, identify systemic issues and provide feedback to improve services. 

‘The UK currently has ombudspersons covering a range of responsibilities including the NHS, housing, social care and financial services.

‘In this opening session, the Committee will examine how a human rights ombudsperson could fit within the existing ombuds structure and how it could improve the protection of rights in the UK. 

‘It will look at what powers they could have and also the potential advantages and disadvantages of establishing such a position.’

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