“Provision of adequate funding by the State should, at a minimum, include the following:
- the allocation of funds for premises that are accessible to the wider community, including for persons with disabilities. In certain circumstances, in order to promote independence and accessibility, this may require that offices are not co-located with other government agencies. Where possible, accessibility should be further enhanced by establishing a permanent regional presence;
- salaries and benefits awarded to staff comparable to those of civil servants performing similar tasks in other independent institutions of the State;
- remuneration of members of its decision-making body (where appropriate);
- the establishment of a well-functioning communications system including telephone and internet; and
- the allocation of a sufficient amount of resources for mandated activities. Where an NHRI has been designated with additional responsibilities by the State, additional financial resources should be provided to enable it to assume the responsibilities of discharging these functions.
The SCA encourages the Ombudsman to advocate for the funding necessary to effectively carry out the full breadth of its mandate.
The SCA further notes that the Ombudsman reports that the Ministry of Finance has the authority to revise the Ombudsman’s budget proposal in line with the rules governing public finances. If the Government fails to reach an agreement with the Ombudsman on the proposed budget, it is the proposal of the Government that is forwarded to the National Assembly for adoption, while the draft budget prepared by the Ombudsman is included only in the explanation of the budget.
The SCA notes that, the Ombudsman reported that a lack of agreement between the Ombudsman and the Government on the draft budget has never happened in practice.
The SCA notes that the classification of an NHRI as an independent State agency has important implications for the regulation of certain practices, including reporting, recruitment, funding and accounting. Where a State has developed uniform rules or regulations to ensure State agencies are properly accountable for the use of public funds, the application of such rules or regulations on an NHRI is not considered inappropriate provided they do not compromise the NHRI’s ability to perform its role independently and effectively.”