Determinants of Effective Handling of Public Complaints in Public Sector in Kenya: A Case of Office of Ombudsman
Itubo, Lilian Salome Ikatanyut
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Since the inception of the Office of Ombudsman in 2011 through an Act of Parliament in Kenya, handling of public complaints in the public sector has not been satisfactory. The increase in public complaints by citizens characterized by various maladministration and widespread impunity in the way public officials handle public complaints has led to majority of citizens to be discouraged in seeking solutions for their complaints. Public complaints has increased over the years against government agencies and officials, despite the existence of the office of Ombudsman in Kenya. This study, therefore, sought to determine effective complaint handling in the public sector in Kenya with the focus on office of Ombudsman. The study sought to examine the level of public awareness regarding the existence of the office of Ombudsman, investigate the accessibility of the Ombudsman’s Office, investigate whether complaint-handling procedure contributes to effective handling of public complaints and examine the impediments to effective handling of public complaints by the office of Ombudsman. The theory of justice and Equity theory was used to guide the study. Descriptive research was employed together with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The study targeted all 81 staff at the Headquarter office of Ombudsman in Nairobi, and therefore, a census was conducted. Questionnaires and interviews were the primary data collection instruments. Descriptive statistics was used to analyse the using Statistical Package of Social Science (SPSS) while the presentation of the data was done using frequency tables, percentages and pie charts. The study found that the Office of the Ombudsman was sufficiently accessible to the clients, the procedure of handling the complaints was simple to understand and not complicated and that the public were aware of the activities, mandate, and programmes of the Office of the Ombudsman. The study recommends that the Office of the Ombudsman needs to enhance public awareness of the activities and programmes, enhance inclusivity of services on offer within the offices and enhance provision of feedback to the clients. This will enhance confidence and trust from the potential clients.