Dealing with Department Officials

In an industry as compact as the Maritime one, it is not possible for situation is not arise where tension and confrontation replaced the ordinary day-to-day smooth running relationships.

It is invariable that the individual rather than the public or civil servant will feel most aggrieved.

The most important thing that anyone can do in such circumstances is to try and identify that a situation is brewing as quickly as possible.

It is true to say that in the heat of a given moment long-standing relations can be tested to the extreme. If this tension can be identified early then an awful lot of expense and trouble can be avoided.

Bringing a third party at an early stage is often a very good way to ensure that matters remain resolvable quickly and cheaply.

Clearly it is not always possible to head off trouble at the pass. In such circumstances it is of exceptional help for the individual to keep a log of what has happened and what is happening. The more contemporaneous the log is kept, then the better assistance this document can give you. There is no formal document which need to be bought or kept. A simple note on a piece of paper, signed and dated, will suffice.

Ensure that, at all times, you keep any such notes in a safe place for retrieval later on.

It is noteworthy that there are serious and real responsibilities on employees of all Government Departments, the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, the Sea Fishing Licensing Authority and the Marine Survey Office are obliged to comply with the Ombudsman’s guide to Standards of Best Practice for Public Servants.

This guide, the current edition is dated thousand and three, is a very simple document which sets out the standards with which public servants must act.

Its opening statement is that:

‘ Public bodies should strive for high standards of administration in their dealings with people. And public servants should ensure that people are dealt with properly, fairy, openly and impartially.’

It goes on to specify what dealing with people properly means and what dealing with people fairly means.

In relation to dealing with people properly to document states that one example means dealing with people:

‘ Courteously, by not adapting an adversarial approach as a matter of course where there may be a fear of litigation and by being prepared to explain why an adverse decision has been given.’

In relation to dealing with people fairly the document states:

‘ Avoiding penalties which are out of proportion to what is necessary to ensure compliance with the rules’

Any behaviour that falls below the standards effectively is complain-able behaviour. While all Departments have systems of complaints, the complaint systems are usually visible on the Department’s website, sometimes it can be of great assistance to bring in a third party who can deal with the matter in a cool, calm and unemotional manner.

If you have any questions, queries, or you need any assistance with any difficulties you may be facing, please not hesitate to contact Conways Solicitors.