In continuation of the outreach in the provinces, the Ombudsman, Melron Nicol-Wilson, on  Tuesday 7th November 2017, held a town hall meeting, at the Makeni City Council Hall, to sensitise members of the public about the functions of the Office of the Ombudsman and to get feedbacks on the work of the Office.

 The participants asked several questions, ranging from how independent and impartial is the Ombudsman; what distinguishes the Office of the Ombudsman from other complaints handling agencies, like the   Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Independent Police Complaints Board; to what extent would the Ombudsman intervene in resolving some of the burning concerns they highlighted during the meeting.

The key concerns raised by the participants were: the slow nature of the Ombudsman in resolving           complaints lodged with his office; the delay by the government and the National Social Security and   Insurance Trust (NASSIT) in paying retirement benefits to retirees; the delay by the Sierra Leone   Police in supplying the one bag of rice to each personnel; the unavailability of skills training facilities in the correctional centres and the poor conditions of service for public sector workers.

In response, the Ombudsman promised to take the concerns of the people in Makeni to the appropriate authorities, and assured them that, he is a different Ombudsman that would resolve their complaints    impartially and in time. The Ombudsman informed the participants about the number of reforms he has initiated within the six months he has spent in office, to enhance efficiency. These reforms, as he put it, includes the conclusion of 300 out of the 312 backlog cases he inherited from his predecessor, the development of a strategic plan, the recruitment of four  
additional complaints handling staff and a Complaints Handling Manual that guides staff on how to resolve complaints.