Contract, External, Full or Part-time
The words Ombudsman, Ombudsperson and Ombuds are used interchangeably.
Ombuds are also able to see trends in an organization that might need to be brought to senior management for organizational change. Ombudsmen do not make the final decisions about in incedent. Rather they listen and guide people to get the information they need or to talk to the right person. Our Ombudsmen provide services to any size business, school/school district, university, medical facility, and non-profit organization.
We also provide conflict resolution systems design for those companies interested in integrating their different risk management systems.
History and Development of Ombudsmen
From the origins of the first Ombudsman in Sweden in the early 1700s, the evolution of the role has expanded, changed and adapted as Ombudsmen were used in the public and private sectors throughout the world. Today the terms Ombudsman, Ombudsperson and Ombuds are used interchangeably.
Ombuds have come to be classified into two broad groups: Classical and Organizational with variatons on the continuum between the two. While every organization is unique, there appears to be a growing interest in having Organizational Ombudsmen rather than Classical Ombudsmen in companies, colleges and universities. Government agencies often keep an element of the Classical Ombudsman approach.
Classical Ombudsmen become involved in formal investigations and hence are places of "Notice" (of record with the organization) about a issue coming to the entity's attention.
Organizational Ombuds, on the other end, do not get involved in formal investigations and maintain a strict adherence to conficentiality, neutrality independence and informality. They are not offices of "notice," where once an issue is discovered, the organization has the responsibility to take some kind of action. An Organizational Ombuds will never identify who visits with them, though will report statistics on the number and kind of concerns addressed.
Ombuds are neutral, advocates for fair process, not advocates for the organization or the employees. By serving in this role, they are able to provide information and guidance to employees, often resulting in increased employee morale, less turnover and less time spent with formal compaints or legal action. Ombuds are also uniquely positioned to be able to spot departmental or organizational trends that the entity may want to improve. Their work can have a significant impact on reducing unecessary lawsuits and saving an organization legal costs.
Organizational Ombuds are asked to adhere to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. See www.ombudsassociation.org.
Why does my organization need an Ombudsman?
· To provide an important benefit to your employees that can result in less
turnover, better morale, beater teamwork, and overall, a happier, more
productive workforce, that generally leads to more business
· To learn where organizational improvements and efficiencies can be made
· To reduce the cost and time spent on unnecessary lawsuits, freeing up legal
counsel to handle other matters
· To relieve Human Resources from the conflict of handling confidential
information while maintaining employee records
· To strengthen risk management
The four basic tenents of an Organizational Ombudsman:
· Confidentiality only statistical records kept; nothing identifying
individual visitors; follow IOA* Standards and Ethics
· Impartiality advocates for fair process, not advocates for
individuals or the organzation
· Independence not affiliated with any department, management or
· Informality not a person or office of "Notice"
What is a Contract Ombudsman?
A Contract, or External Ombudsman provides the same services as internal ombuds, and they have the flexibility to provide additional services as well. Some government agencies, business and other organizations would rather have an external Ombudsman as an added demonstration of independence to the employees, suppliers and clients they serve. Other organizations cannot afford a full-time Ombudsman and find that contracting with us for one of our Ombuds meets their need for this important service.
Can you Help Existing Ombuds Offices?
Our services provide existing Ombuds Offices with added flexibility. We can provide continuity of services during an extended absence of an internal Ombudsman. We can also take on important assessments, surveys or other organizational change issues without overburdening the exisitng ombuds office or conflicting with their Standards of Practice. In the event of a crisis, Ombudsmen like to know they have an experienced cadre of fellow Ombudsmen they enlist for extra help.
Please contact us to discuss what we can do for your organization.