“The SCA has noted that the enabling legislation does not specifically empower the Ombudsman to recruit its own staff. Rather, in accordance with section 7(1) of the Act, the Office of the Ombudsman is staffed by Public Service Officers that have been made available.

The SCA continues to stress that NHRIs should be legislatively empowered to determine the staffing structure, the skills required to fulfil the Institution’s mandate, set other appropriate criteria such as diversity, and select their staff in accordance with national law.

The SCA highlights that this requirement should not be seen to limit the capacity of an NHRI to hire a public servant with the requisite skills and experience, and indeed acknowledges that there may be certain positions within an NHRI where such skills are particularly relevant. However, the recruitment process for such positions should always be open to all, clear, transparent, merit-based and at the sole discretion of the NHRI. Such a process promotes the independence and effectiveness of, and public confidence in, the NHRI.

The SCA encourages the Ombudsman to advocate for changes to its enabling law to allow it to recruit its own staff.”