Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Planning encroachment case delays

Investigation | 14 April 2022
Department of Planning

The complainant in this matter alleged unreasonable delay and unfairness by the failure of the Planning Department to act concerning a complaint of encroachment in respect of a property over which he held power of attorney.

There were two issues of maladministration that were investigated. One was in relation to the inordinate delay the Planning Department took to address the complaint regarding the encroachment. The second was the refusal by the Planning Department to give the reasons for the ruling by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in relation to the encroachment complaint. In both respects, the Ombudsman found there was maladministration by the Planning Department.

In summary, a process that realistically should have taken no more than six months lasted more than two years. We acknowledge there were setbacks which the department could not control; the Covid-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020 and the departure of both of its compliance officers during 2021. However, this does not compensate for the inordinate delay of over two years for a relatively straightforward encroachment matter.

Recommendations made in this matter included:

  • Planning’s records management system (OPS) be augmented or another solution be found to provide more robust reminders and enhanced reporting systems that would avoid similar delays
  • increased vigilance of managers in overseeing cases and tracking their progress to avoid mismanagement of complaints
  • compliance officers receive additional training in the conduct of investigations/complaints and in the use of the OPS
  • staffing levels of compliance officers be reviewed to determine if they are adequate for the number of complaints received
  • complainants be provided with adequate reasons in any adverse decisions in accordance with section 19 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order.

On 5 September 2022, our office received confirmation that all the above recommendations had been actioned by the Department of Planning.