Belmopan, April 10, 2018
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation undertakes its mandate as a protector of the rights of children, women, men, and families seriously. It therefore regards all complaints of wrongdoing against members of staff with great concern. As pertains the complaint referenced in the media, the Ministry confirms receipt of an initial client complaint letter sent to the Director of the Department of Human Services and has in fact been conducting an investigation into the accusations, including several failed attempts to contact the complainant for follow-up. The Chief Executive Officer has not received the follow-up letter from the complainant’s attorney as shown in the media.
The Ministry informs the public that it follows the disciplinary process required by the Ministry of Public Service, which is imperative in the event that disciplinary actions need to be taken against the named officer. Upon receipt of any formal complaint by clients or family members of clients, the respective Department conducts an investigation which includes looking into the facts and history of the case, requiring the staff against whom the allegation has been made to provide written response to the allegations, as well as seeking clarification from the person making the complaint. At the end of the investigation, the parties involved are informed of the results and recommended actions are implemented.
As a Ministry, we continue to strive to abide by the principles and values of Social Justice, Equality, Equity, Family Preservation, Non-Discrimination, Participation, Respect and Appreciation for the people being served. We endeavour to hold our staff accountable to these principles and regularly conduct training, supervision and support for officers. In addition, we engage in frequent revisions and upgrades to our case management systems in an effort to ensure best practice in our services to clients and the public. One of the many services provided by the Ministry on a walk-in and case management basis is public assistance for rent, food, education, among others. In 2017, some 1229 vulnerable families benefitted from the public assistance program.
The Ministry of Human Development also takes this opportunity to remind the public that a national complaints mechanism exists outside the Ministry. The Office of the Ombudsman has the mandate to investigate complaints of wrongdoing, corruption, abuse, injustice or injury by any authority. As such, complaints can be made directly to our Ministry and/or respective departments, or alternatively to the Ombudsman Office.