I posted earlier this month about an historic event – the first ever Ombuds Day! And, as the day approaches, it has me thinking about the different types of ombuds. So, here’s a description of the three main ombuds structures based in part on material provided by the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee – Classical / Organizational / Advocate
The Classical Ombuds receives and investigates complaints and concerns regarding governmental policies and processes. The authority and mandate is typically provided by statutory language. These Ombuds may be elected by constituents or appointed by a legislature or organization to monitor citizens’ treatment under the law. Classical Ombuds generally have authority to conduct investigations and make recommendations for appropriate redress or policy change.
The Organizational Ombuds serves as a designated neutral within a specific organization and provides conflict engagement / resolution and problem-solving services to members of the organization. Some may also serve external clients or customers. There are Organizational Ombuds in all types of entities including corporate, academic, governmental, non-governmental and non-profit.
The Organizational Ombuds provides confidential, informal, independent and impartial assistance to individuals and sometimes groups through dispute engagement and problem-solving methods such as conflict coaching, mediation, facilitation and shuttle diplomacy. The Organizational Ombuds may also report trends, systemic problems and organizational issues to high-level leaders and executives in a confidential manner. The ombuds does not represent nor advocate for individuals, groups or entities. The Organizational Ombuds does not play a role in formal processes, does not investigate problems brought to the office’s attention or represent any side in a dispute.
The NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds Office and Student Ombuds Services are organizational ombuds offices.
An Advocate Ombuds may be located in either the public or private sector. This type of ombuds evaluates claims objectively and is authorized or required to advocate on behalf of individuals or groups found to be aggrieved. Advocate Ombuds are often found in organizations such as long-term care facilities or agencies, and organizations that work with juvenile offenders.
Ombuds Day – October 11, 2018
Now that you know a bit more about the ombuds role, you are invited to celebrate your ombuds next month! Here at NC State the ombuds’ are holding open house meetings across campus. Here’s a link to the NC State Ombuds Day Celebration! Hope to see you on the 11th!