Watchdogs need teeth

February 14, 1997

I was interested to read that the National Audit Office has called for the establishment of an ombudsman for higher education (THES, January 31).

As a Manchester resident, I regularly see half page announcements in the local press, published by the local government ombudsman, to draw attention to the fact that the city council has failed to act on its recommendations. Many of the findings which are so arrogantly ignored, impinge directly on people's lives in housing and educational matters and yet the ombudsman has no powers to require the council to put matters right.

Would higher education institutions be similarly able to cock a snook at the proposed new ombudsman or dare we hope that such a body would actually be given some teeth?

J. Foster West Didsbury, Manchester

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