Mission of Statement

The Ombudsman Institution is going to host the “2nd İstanbul International Ombudsman Conference”, which is going to be organised in İstanbul Hilton Bomonti Hotel on 18-19 November 2019. The conference will be held under the project titled “Technical Assistance for Empowerment of the Role of Ombudsman in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights”. The main theme of the Conference to be held this year, has been determined as “Principles of Good Administration & Ombudsman”.

These principles, which include a wide range of norms from transparency to equality, from accountability to non-discrimination, from fairness to the protection of personal data and responsiveness are the guides over the course of each day to resolve the citizens’ complaints relevant to public services. Ombudsmen strongly promote these principles with a view to increasing the quality of public services. This conference will serve as a platform where the conceptual framework, the theoretical background and practical implications about the principles in question will be discussed.

This annual meeting will target to bring together many national and international ombudsmen, academicians, organisations and other relevant participants all around the world. In this sense, the Conference will provide a unique opportunity to exchange experience, learn international best practices regarding the role of ombudsman and consolidate cooperation with a view to protecting and strengthening the human rights by gathering the Ombudsmen of the East and West. The Ombudsman Institution of Turkey has continued its operations for five years as a mechanism for seeking legal remedies based on fairness, principles of good administration and the understanding of responsibility towards public by advocating for individuals, settling their problems with the administration amicably and guiding the administration with its decisions.

 

The Concept of Good Administration

The concept of good administration has a large area of use falling within the scope of many disciplines such as public administration, political science, business administration and law and adopted by the public, private and civil society sectors with its difference aspects. The administration concept was started to be used as “governance” for the first time in the report of “World Bank” published in 1989; thereafter, OECD, the UN and EU have started to use it as such in their literatures, as well. The concept of good administration means compliance with specific procedures, principles and norms in order to carry out a certain activity. Even though the activity carried out differs depending on its field, principles of good administration such as impartiality, integrity and equality apply to all administrative activities horizontally. Good administration offers remedies against its antonym, bad administration.

Public administration aims at ensuring that the public institutions act in accordance with the laws, deliver the best quality of services to the citizen, make use of resources effectively in the public interest and respect the justice on any ground. As it is the public authorities that exercise the legal powers of the State on behalf of the State, many bad administration cases may occur such as neglect and abuse of duty. The institution of Ombudsman comes into the stage, in this regard, as an auditing mechanism which performs its duties based on the principle of “impartiality”, in response to the bad administrative practices such as acting biased, injustice and bureaucracy.

The Ombudsman Institutions assume especially the role of the advocacy of “principles of good administration”. The principles of good administration have come to the fore in different ways starting from the early days when people first began to organise. However, especially with the spread of modern States of Law, the system of values has been started to be expressed more clearly under the name of good administration. It can be stated that the intellectual and historical foundations of the good administration are as old as the emergence of the concepts of power and administration. A report prepared by the Venice Commission states that the “good administration was expressed by Aristotle as the administration exercised by a moral and just ruler.” 

The principles of good administration are, in fact, a guiding tool for the administrations. It lays out a standard for a more open and transparent relationship based on trust. 

The principles of the good administration were first regulated as a “Right to Good Administration” under the Article 41 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, known as the European Union Constitution. The Article 41 lays out the following: “Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union.” This right includes:

  • the right of every person to be heard, before any individual measure which would affect him or her adversely is taken;
  • the right of every person to have access to his or her file, while respecting the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy;
  • the obligation of the administration to give reasons for its decisions.

In addition, it sets out that “Every person has the right to have the Community make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States” and “Every person may write to the institutions of the Union in one of the languages of the Treaties and must have an answer in the same language.”

With this Conference, the following items are aimed:

  • to contribute to the human rights, which is the basis for development of democracy. This contribution will, in time, transform into an autonomous structure through the resolution, within the framework of equality and fairness, of the cases that may shake confidence between the State and individuals;
  • To create an opportunity for exchange of experience and knowledge based on human rights within the scope of Good Administration and Ombudsman and to ensure the exchange of views between the experts and participants coming from different countries;
  • To discuss the development and applicability of the principles of good administration;
  • To pave the way for sharing of the methods applied in different countries while contributing to the effective and efficient operation of the public administration;
  • To evaluate the principles of good administration on both local and national levels;
  • To evaluate the bureaucratic structure between the theory and practice;
  • Identification of the problems, solutions and future implications of this process are the subjects to which this Conference plans to contribute.