In light of the public health situation, Parliament Buildings is closed to the public.

No public tours, events or visitor activities will take place, until further notice. 

Assembly business continues, check the business diary for information on Plenary and Committee meetings.

Committee Welcomes Ombudsman’s Appointment

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 08 March 2016

Reference: COFMDFM 03/15/16

The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister has welcomed the Assembly’s nomination today of Marie Anderson for appointment to the new office of Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman or ‘NIPSO’.

Photo caption:  Committee Chair, Mike Nesbitt MLA and Deputy Chair, Chris Lyttle MLA congratulate Marie Anderson on her appointment to the new office of Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Committee Chairperson, Mike Nesbitt MLA, said: “Marie Anderson is the first NIPSO appointed under the legislation brought through the Assembly by the Committee. This will be an exciting challenge for Mrs Anderson as she works to merge and reform the existing structures into one office with new powers and responsibilities. We wish her well in her new role and look forward to working with her in the future.

The Committee would also wish to put on record its thanks to the outgoing Ombudsman, Dr Tom Frawley, for his work and for his significant contribution to the development of the new legislation.”


Notes to Editor:

  • The Public Services Ombudsperson Bill was introduced to the Assembly on 20 April      2015 and received Royal Assent on 19 February 2016.
  • Mrs Marie Anderson will be the first Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman and will take up this post on 1 April 2016.
  • The new Act merges and reforms the current offices of Assembly Ombudsman and      Commissioner for Complaints in a single new office of Public Services Ombudsman and will come into operation on 1 April 2016.
  • Further information on the changes the new Act will introduce can be found in the Explanatory Memorandum which accompanied the Bill. Click on the following links for more information on the development of the Committee’s policy, the Bill’s passage through the Assembly, and the work of the Ad Hoc Committee formed to scrutinise the Bill.

Marie Anderson – Biographical profile:

  • Marie Anderson is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast, and qualified as a solicitor in 1985.  After qualifying she worked in private practice for several years in the area of civil litigation.  Thereafter, she joined the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and worked as Legal Assistant and Senior Legal Assistant, over a period totaling 17 years.  The focus of her work was public, information and human rights law.
  • Marie became the first Assistant Information Commissioner for Northern Ireland in April 2003 and was responsible for setting up the first ever regional office of the Information Commission in Belfast in September 2003.  She held this post for 5 years with responsibility for regulating data protection and freedom of information matters in Northern Ireland.  During that time Marie was responsible for the investigation of highly sensitive information cases, and for establishing precedent in cases relating to privacy, the law of confidentiality and commercially sensitive information. 
  • Marie has been Deputy Northern Ireland Ombudsman since May 2009 and leads the     Ombudsman investigations examining complaints of maladministration and alleged breaches of the Local Government Code of Conduct for Councilors.  In 2012 Marie took up the chairmanship of the Ombudsman Association Legal Interest Group which comprises 26 lawyers from across the UK and ROI.


Committee Chairperson: Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA

Deputy Chairperson: Mr Chris Lyttle MLA

Members:       Mr Andy Allen MLA

                        Mr Alex Attwood MLA

                        Ms Megan Fearon MLA

                        Mr Paul Frew MLA

                        Mr Chris Hazzard MLA

                        Mr Gordon Lyons MLA

                        Mr Alex Maskey MLA          

                        Mr David McIlveen MLA

                        Mr Stephen Moutray MLA


Find MLAs

Find your MLAs

Locate MLAs


News and Media Centre

Visit the News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Follow the Assembly on our social media channels

Keep up-to-date with the Assembly

Find out more