Judge Leona Theron, a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal and Chairperson of the Long-term Ombudsman Council, made mention in the 2015 annual report of an independent review of the office of the Ombud.
Dr E de la Rey was appointed to conduct a performance audit which entailed an in-depth investigation and a qualitative assessment of key aspects of the office’s business. Dr De la Rey used an international standard as the yardstick against which the performance of the office was measured.
“I am pleased to say that the office passed the performance audit with flying colours and I congratulate it on this achievement which is encapsulated in the last two paragraphs of the report, where Dr De la Rey said: “During the investigation I was struck by the respect the office enjoys, by the culture of professionalism and respect, by the helpfulness and teamwork. There is an enviable enthusiasm for the work they do, despite limited career paths. There is openness in the management style, but at the same time strict discipline; there is respect and dedication. There is also a continued willingness to adjust and to implement possible improvements.”
“The office of the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance (OLTI) complies with and exceeds international standards and expectations for a financial ombud scheme and continues to serve as a benchmark for other financial ombud schemes.”
Judge Theron also points out that the Financial Sector Regulation Bill, 2015, if implemented in its current form, will have a profound effect on the Council, the office and the three other statutorily recognised voluntary financial ombudsman schemes.
One trusts that an annual independent performance audit will be maintained to ensure the achievement of the same high standards set by the OLTI under the new Ombud dispensation for all industry watchdogs