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BLAENAU Gwent County Borough Council’s managing director, Michelle Morris will become the new Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Ms Morris was appointed to the role back in January and is set to become the Ombudsman from Friday, April 1.

She is the first female to hold the post since the office since it was established in 2005.

Originally from Pembrokeshire, Ms Morris held senior roles at a number of councils in Wales before moving to work in Scotland.

There she was deputy chief executive and monitoring officer of The Highland Council, before returning to Wales to take over the top job at Blaenau Gwent in 2017.

Ms Morris said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the unique and important position.

“I look forward to continuing the good work of the office and to ensuring that our services are accessible to those who have complaints, that we work with public authorities across Wales to ensure the standards of public services continue to improve, and that the conduct of councillors, who represent us all, is sustained at the highest level.”

At a Blaenau Gwent council meeting earlier this month, in a confidential session councillors discussed appointing a successor to Ms Morris.

A spokesman for Blaenau Gwent council said: “Damien McCann was recently appointed as interim chief executive to replace Michelle Morris.”

Mr McCann was the authority’s corporate director of social services.

Ms Morris succeeds the previous Ombudsman, Nick Bennett, who held the office between August 2014 and March this year.

Hailing from Ynys Môn, Mr Bennett was the Liberal Democrat candidate on the island in both the 2001 General Election and 2003 Welsh Assembly election,  and finished fourth both times.

He is also a former chief executive of Community Housing Cymru.

The Ombudsman has legal powers to look into complaints about public services and independent care providers in Wales.

Ms Morris’ office will also investigate complaints that local government councillors have breached their authority’s code of conduct.

The Ombudsman is independent of all government bodies and the service is impartial.

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