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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ombudsman (conventional English plural: ombudsmen) is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing the broad scope of constituent interests. The word 'Ombudsman' is based on a swedish word meaning 'Agent'.

Usually appointed by the organization, but sometimes elected by the constituency, the ombudsman may, for example, investigate constituent complaints relating to the organization and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations (binding or not) or mediation. Ombudsmen sometimes identify organizational roadblocks running counter to constituent interests.

In some jurisdictions an ombudsman charged with the handling of concerns about national government is more formally referred to as the 'Parliamentary Commissioner' (e.g., the United Kingdom Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, and the Western Australian state Ombudsman). The word ombudsman and its specific meaning have been adopted in various languages, including Spanish and Czech. The post of ombudsman has been instituted by other governments and organizations such as the European Union.

An ombudsman may not be appointed by a legislature, but may instead be appointed by, or even work for, a corporation such as a utility supplier or a newspaper, for an NGO, for a professional regulatory body, or for local or municipal government.

In some countries an Inspector General may have duties similar to or overlapping with an ombudsman appointed by the legislature.

Making a complaint to an ombudsman is usually free of charge.

Sign at Georgetown University Washington DC
Sign in Banjul, The Gambia

Contents

Origins and etymology

The origin of the word is found in Old Norse umbuðsmann (accusative) and the word umbuds man, meaning representative (with the word umbud/ombud meaning proxy, that is someone who is authorized to act for someone else, a meaning it still has in the Scandinavian languages). The first preserved use is in Swedish. In the Danish Law of Jutland from 1241 the term is umbozman and means a royal civil servant in a hundred (country subdivision). From 1552, it is also used in the other Scandinavian languages such as the Icelandic "umboðsmaður", the Norwegian "ombudsmann" and the Danish "ombudsmand".

The modern use of the term began in Sweden, with the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman instituted by the Instrument of Government of 1809, to safeguard the rights of citizens by establishing a supervisory agency independent of the executive branch.

A prototype of ombudsmen may have flourished in China during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC), and in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty.[citation needed] The Roman Tribune had some similar roles, with power to veto acts that infringed upon the Plebians.

The predecessor of the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman was the Office of Supreme Ombudsman, "Högste Ombudsmannen" which was established by the Swedish King, Charles XII in 1713. Charles XII was in exile in Turkey and needed a representative in Sweden to ensure that judges and civil servants acted in accordance with the laws and with their duties. If they did not do so, the Supreme Ombudsman had the right to prosecute them for negligence. In 1719 the Swedish Office of Supreme Ombudsman office became the Chancellor of Justice[1] One inspiration to the Supreme Ombudsman may have been the Turkish Diwan-al-Mazalim which appears to go back to the second Caliph, Umar (634-644) and the concept of Qadi al-Qadat.[2] However, the current predecessor of ombudsman institutions, the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman, is based on the concept of separation of powers as developed by Montesquieu[1], which has a western origin[3] and roots in the Enlightenment. The Parliamentary Ombudsman was established in 1809 by the Swedish Riksdag, as a parallel institution to the still-present Chancellor of Justice. The Parliamentary Ombudsman is the institution that the Scandinavian countries subsequently molded into its contemporary form, and which subsequently has been adopted in many other parts of the world.

Ombudsman in politics

In general, an "ombudsman" refers to a state official appointed to provide a check on government activity in the interests of the citizen, and to oversee the investigation of complaints of improper government activity against the citizen. If the ombudsman finds a complaint to be substantiated, the problem may get rectified, or an ombudsman report is published making recommendations for change. Further redress depends on the laws of the country concerned, but this normally involves financial compensation. Ombudsmen in most countries do not have the power to initiate legal proceedings or prosecution on the grounds of a complaint. This role is sometimes referred to as a 'tribunitian' role, and has been traditionally fuflilled by elected representatives (The term refers to the ancient Roman 'tribunes of the plebians' (tribuni plebis), whose role was to intercede in the political process on behalf of common citizens). This comparison is however not appropriate since a tribuni plebis was one of the magistracies, a step higher than Quaestor, in the Roman cursus honorum or the way to honour that required, from Patrician families a Senatorial entry at a certain age, and culminating with the Consular dignity (becoming a consul) in suo anno (or in his own year, that is, to be consul at 35 and not a year earlier or a year later which was held to be deprivation of either a junior or a senior of his appropriate status at the appropriate age). Being a tribune of the plebs required coming from non patrician or plebeian families in the appropriate Tribe of Rome. One could also become a tribune of the plebs from the Ordo Equester, or the Knights (rich plebeians having the capacity to maintain a certain number of horses). Being a tribune of the plebs also carried with it judicial functions and the legislative power to veto a senatus consultatum accompanied with immunity from prosecution and violence, were held to make him part of the ruling/administrative class since tribuni plebis was also an electoral post and not an executive appointment. Therefore a tribuni plebis would not be an equivalent of an Ombudsman. The more correct parallel would be the institution of Censor, who looked into public morals, the proper maintenance of senatorial and knightly rolls and who combined the functions of Public Conscience and Keeper of the Maos Maiorum, the ancient traditions of Rome, against which the acts of every ruler, every consul, every would be Dictator or General were weighed. Interestingly, Cato, descendant of Cato the Censor, invoked the same privileges to criticize Gaius Julius Caesar.

The major advantage of an ombudsman is that he or she examines complaints from outside the offending state institution, thus avoiding the conflicts of interest inherent in self-policing. However, the ombudsman system relies heavily on the selection of an appropriate individual for the office, and on the cooperation of at least some effective official from within the apparatus of the state. Perhaps for this reason, outside Scandinavia, the introduction of ombudsmen has tended to yield mixed results.

Canada

In Canada the office of the ombudsman is present in all departments of the federal government, in many provincial and municipal governments as well as in Crown Corporations such as CBC and Canada Post.

Republic of China

In the Republic of China, the role of the Control Yuan is comparable to that of an ombudsman.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration was created in 1967, covering the activities of central government departments. A separate (National) Health Service ombudsman was subsequently created, but this has to date always been the same person and the two offices are combined. The Local Government Ombudsman (formally the Commission for Local Government Administration - there are three Commissioners) for England and Wales was created in 1973, and for Scotland in 1974; since then, a variety of other public and private sector-specific ombudsmen have been created. UK critics claim that the Ombudsmen appear independent while actually being recruited from the ranks of officials and that their function tends to entail little more than the rubber stamping of official decisions. Use of the ombudsman schemes is becoming increasingly common, although citizens are encouraged to first pursue grievances against government through their local MP, or else through another MP or the courts[citation needed].

United States

In the United States, the U.S. Congressman has long performed the unofficial function of an Ombudsman, at the Federal level. This informal job has become increasingly time consuming. It is subject to criticism on the grounds that it interferes with a legislator's primary duty, namely to read and be knowledgeable about a bill before casting his or her vote.[4] Nonetheless, as Morris Fiorina points out, the involvement of Congress in the ombudsman process carries one major advantage: members of the Legislative Branch exercise "control over what bureaucrats value most – higher budgets and new program authorizations."[5]

In 1979 the Taxpayer Ombudsman Office, and later in 1996 as the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, was created within the Internal Revenue Service that acts as an ombudsman for the taxpayer.[6] Also, the Advocate has a unique role with the Treasury Department as having the responsibility to submit annual reports to Congress without any prior review or comment from the IRS Commissioner, the Secretary of the Treasury, any other officer or employee of the Department of the Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget.[7]

Organizational ombudsman

Many private companies, universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies also have an ombudsman (or an ombuds office) to serve internal employees, and managers and/or other constituencies. These ombudsman roles are structured to function independently, by reporting to the CEO or board of directors, and according to International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice do not serve any other role in the organization. They are beginning to appear around the world within organizations, sometimes as an alternative to anonymous hot-lines in countries where these are considered inappropriate or are illegal.

Since the 1960s, the profession has grown in the United States, and Canada, particularly in corporations, universities and government agencies. This current model, sometimes referred to as an organizational ombudsman, works as a designated neutral party, one who is high-ranking in an organization, but who is not considered part of executive management in the sense of being able to make management decisions. Using an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) sensibility, or perhaps more apt, an appropriate dispute resolution sensibility, an organizational ombudsman can provide options to whistleblowers or employees and managers with ethics concerns; provide coaching, shuttle diplomacy, generic solutions (meaning a solution which protects the identity of one individual by applying to a class of people, rather than just for the one individual) and mediation for conflicts; track problem areas; and make recommendations for changes to policies or procedures in support of orderly systems change.

(It may be of interest that the term appropriate, as in appropriate dispute resolution, is something of a term of art. ADR is usually thought to be alternative dispute resolution, as in an alternative to formal, rights-based processes, including formal grievance procedures and the courts. It usually is thought to include mediation and arbitration. However, the word "appropriate" in this context includes rights- or rights- and power based dispute resolution. For example, appropriate dispute resolution of a work-place assault might be a formal grievance procedure or an appeal to security officers. Appropriate resolution might also include simple forgiveness. Appropriate dispute resolution thus refers to a much wider set of processes than are usually thought to be part of alternative dispute resolution.)

One particularly important function is to monitor and pick up "new things" -- that is, issues new to the organization. This is particularly important if the "new thing" is "disruptive" in the sense of requiring the organization to review and possibly improve its policies, procedures and/or structures. In recent years there have been many articles about organizational ombuds and about how they coordinate with internal conflict management systems. (See for example: http://ombuds-blog.blogspot.com/ and http://www.ombudsassociation.org/ (including the IOA publications section) and http://web.mit.edu/ombud/publications/ for many references).

An organizational ombudsman who is practicing to IOA "standards of practice" is neutral and visibly outside ordinary line and staff structures. An organizational ombudsman will practice informally (with no management decision-making power, and without accepting "notice" for the organization). An organizational ombudsman typically keeps no case records for an employer and keeps near absolute confidentiality. The only exception is where there appears to be an imminent risk of serious harm, and an ombudsman can see no responsible option other than breaking confidence—but organizational ombuds programs report that they can almost always find "other responsible options", such as helping a visitor to make an anonymous report about whatever appears to be the problem.

Legislative/Classical ombudsman

Albania

The Ombudsman of the Republic of Albania or Avokati i Popullit (People's Advocate) was anticipated for the first time in the Albanian’s Constitution approved in November 1998. The Parliament passed the Law on the People’s Advocate in February 1999. The People’s Advocate is elected by three-fifths of all members of the Assembly for a five year period, with the right of re-election.
Legal basis for The People's Advocate comes from Chapter VI of the Albanian constitution, article 60, 61, 62, 63, 134. It was passed into Law No.8454 on February 4, 1999 and subsequently amended with Law No. 8600, dated April 10, 2000 and Law No. 9398, dated May 12, 2005.
The current Ombudsman is Ph.D. Emir Dobjani. He was elected for the first time on February 16, 2000 and re-elected on February 17, 2005.
The primary functions of the Ombudsman are described in Chapter VI, article 60 of the constitution:
The People’s Advocate defends the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of individuals from unlawful or improper actions or failures to act of the organs of public administration.[3]

Armenia

The ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia since 2006 is Mr. Armen Harutyunyan. Before him was Ms. Larisa Alaverdyan. http://www.ombuds.am

  • RA Human Rights Defender

According to the 83.1 article of Constitution of RA and in the result of elections taken place in the National Assembly on February 17-th of 2006 Armen Harutyunyan obtaining more than 3/5 votes of deputies was elected Parliamentary first Human Rights Defender of RA for 6 year term.

Armen Harutyunyan was born in 1964 in Yerevan. From 1981 to 1986 studied at Law Department of the Yerevan State University and after graduating obtained the Diploma in Law (Magna Cum Laude). From 1986 to 1989 passed his post graduate study at the Institute of State and Law of Academy of USSR and obtained the degree of Candidate of Law (equivalent to PhD). From 1994 to 1997 studied Doctoral Studies at the Academy of Public Administration, adjunct to the President of Russian Federation and obtained the degree of Doctor of Law (equivalent to Senior Juris Doctor). From 1989 till now Armen Harutyunyan has been lecturing at the Law Department of Yerevan State University. From 1997 to present Armen Harutyunyan has been legal advisor at the Constitutional Court or RA. As the Representative of the President of RA on Constitutional reforms took part in Constitutional reform of 2005. From 2002 to 2006 was the rector of Public Administration Academy of the RA. From 2001 to present Armen Harutyunyan is the President of Association of European Law of RA. From 2002 to present is the Deputy Representative of European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). Armen Harutyunyan is the author of more than 60 scientific works. He is married and has two children. Armen Harutyunyan took his post on February 20-th of 2006.

Australia

The Commonwealth Ombudsman in Australia was established in 1976. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the actions and decisions of Australian Government departments and agencies, the services delivered by most private contractors for the Australian Government, and oversee complaint investigations conducted by the Australian Federal Police.

The Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about delays in processing Freedom of Information requests (FOI) and complaints about FOI charges. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force Ombudsman, Immigration Ombudsman, Postal Industry Ombudsman, Taxation Ombudsman, Law Enforcement Ombudsman and through an arrangement with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government, the ACT Ombudsman. In addition, the Ombudsman has a number of statutory oversight functions in relation to law enforcement agency use of special powers, including those under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, Surveillance Devices Act 2004 and Part 1AB of the Crimes Act 1914. The current Commonwealth Ombudsman is Professor John McMillan.

State Ombudsmen

The various states in Australia have (variously described) state Ombudsman offices, with similar jurisdiction as described above, except over state government authorities. There is much collaboration in an academic sense between Ombudsmen in Australia, given the highly similar nature of their roles (despite differing jurisdictions). The offices frequently work on joint projects, such as those addressing difficult client behaviour.

  • NSW Ombudsman: The first NSW Ombudsman was appointed in 1975 and the legislation became operative in May that year. Since then, there have been many changes - public authorities have merged and separated and there have been five different Ombudsman.
    • The current Ombudsman is Mr Bruce Barbour.
  • Ombudsman for the Northern Territory: The Ombudsman for the Northern Territory is independent of Government and provides a free service to the public.
    • The current Ombudsman is Ms Carolyn Richards.
  • Ombudsman South Australia: The SA Ombudsman is a completely independent official who has comprehensive power to investigate government departments and authorities and local government councils.
    • The current Ombudsman is Mr Ken MacPherson.
  • Ombudsman Victoria: The Ombudsman of Victoria is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament who investigates complaints about state government departments, most statutory authorities and local government.
    • The current Ombudsman is Mr George Brouwer.
  • Ombudsman Western Australia: Investigates complaints about Western Australian State Government agencies, statutory authorities, local governments and public universities.
    • The Ombudsman for Western Australia is Mr Chris Field.
  • Queensland Ombudsman: The Queensland Ombudsman's Office is an independent complaints investigation agency. Our role is to make sure that our public agencies (State government departments and bodies, and local councils) act fairly and make the right decisions for Queenslanders.
    • The current Ombudsman is Mr David Bevan.
  • Tasmanian Ombudsman: The Ombudsman's role is to investigate complaints about the administrative actions of government departments, councils and public authorities.
    • The current Ombudsman is Mr Simon Allston.

Industry Based Ombudsmen

On 1 July 2008, the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman, Insurance Ombudsman Service and Financial Industry Complaints Service merged to form the Financial Ombudsman Service). Other financial ombudsman schemes, such as the Credit Ombudsman did not find it viable to join the amalgamation as it could provide its members and customers with more premium services by remaining independent.

  • Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL)
  • Employee Ombudsman SA
  • Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON)
  • Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)
  • Energy Ombudsman Queensland QLD
  • Energy Industry Ombudsman SA
  • Energy Ombudsman TAS
  • Energy Ombudsman WA
  • Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - (formally BFSO, IOS & FICS)
  • Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
  • Produce and Grocery Industry Ombudsman
  • Public Transport Ombudsman VIC
  • Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
  • Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

Other complaint-handling and review agencies

In some cases, it may be more appropriate for your complaint to be investigated by the Privacy Commissioner who investigates complaints about breaches of privacy; the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission which investigates complaints about discrimination because of race, sex or disability; or one of the other avenues of Australian Government administrative review. Review bodies include the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, the Veterans' Review Board, the Immigration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal. Each of these agencies can review the merits of an agency's decision, and they also have the power to change a decision.

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)
  • Migration Review Tribunal (MRT)
  • National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC)
  • Office of the Commissioner for Complaints (for complaints about Commonwealth funded aged care services)
  • Privacy Commissioner
  • Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)
  • Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT)
  • Veteran's Review Board

Intelligence and security related complaints

Complaints about the actions/decisions of the organisations comprising the Australian intelligence community (listed below), may be lodged with the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Mr Ian Carnell Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security PO Box 6181 Kingston, ACT 2604 Australia Telephone: O2 6271 5692 Fax: O2 6271 5696 email: info@igis.gov.au

The Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is located at: 3-5 National Circuit Barton ACT 2600 Australia

  • Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)
  • Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
  • Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)
  • Defence Signals Directorate (DSD)
  • Office of National Assessments (ONA)

Azerbaijan

The ombudsman of the Republic of Azerbaijan is Elmira Suleymanova. She was elected by the Parliament to the Position of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 2 July 2002. Elmira Suleymanova was born on 17 July, 1937 in Baku, Azerbaijan. She is a graduate of the faculty of chemistry at the Baku State University. She holds a degree of Ph.D., doctor of Chemistry (1980), professor (1982).From 1980, she was one of the leaders of women’s movement in Azerbaijan. Elmira Suleymanova has received numerous awards for the defense of Human Rights.

Brazil

The Brazilian Ombudsman is called the Ouvidor, usually heading a service called Ouvidoria, and each government agency defines its own service. These organisms don't usually have the required independece to be called real Ombudsmen.

Bulgaria

The institution of the Ombudsman in Bulgaria was established by law in 1998 but the first Ombudsman was elected in April 2005. There is a national ombudsman (Граждански защитник) and regional ombudsmen (Граждански посредници).

Canada - Provincial and Territorial ombudsmen

While Canada has no single national legislative ombudsman, nine Canadian provinces and one territory have parliamentary ombudsmen (sometimes called "citizens' protector" or "citizens' representative") in the classical/legislative tradition, who oversee the provincial government and receive and investigate public complaints. They are:

Colombia

The Ombudsman's Office of Colombia (Spanish: Defensoría del Pueblo) is the National agency in charge of overseeing the protection of Civil and Human Rights within the legal framework of the state.

Croatia

Pučki pravobranitelj

Czech Republic

The Czech Ombudsman is officially known as Veřejný ochránce práv - Public Defender of Rights, but more frequently referred to simply as ombudsman.
The Czech Public Defender of Rights was established in 1999. The Public Defender of Rights is able to successfully fulfil the role of the traditional mediator between the parties involved. The offices and the officials in charge of state administration must be aware that when citizens as a party to the procedure do not feel satisfied with either their performance or with their decision, they may find themselves in a situation in which they will have to provide explanation and justification for the measures taken and the decisions issued.
The Public Defender of Rights has no direct means or mechanisms of enforcement at his/her disposal. The ombudsman requests the body of state administration responsible for malpractice or error to remedy the situation. Should the relevant body fail to provide remedy the ombudsman may eventually pass the matter onto the government. More at the official web pages of PDR.

Cyprus

The Cypriot Ombudsman is known as Commissioner for Administration , is an Independent Authority and was established οn 15 March 1991. Currently, the Ombudsman (Commissioner for Administration) is Eliana Nicolaou.[4]

Denmark

  • The Parliamentary Ombudsman (Danish: Folketingets Ombudsmand) was established in 1955 to investigate complaints brought by an individual or ex officio in all matters relating to public governance, including maladministration by central or local authorities, on a case-by-case basis and on a general scale. The ombudsman's main areas of expertise include administrative law; constitutional law; the rights of inmates in correction facilities; and access to information. The ombudsman is appointed by the Parliament of Denmark.
  • The Consumer Ombudsman (Forbrugerombudsmanden) was established in 1974 to ensure that the consumer protection and marketing rules are complied with by private undertakings. The ombudsman can ultimately institute legal proceedings before the Copenhagen Maritime and Commercial Court.
  • The highest representative of the Danish government in Greenland is called the Royal Ombudsman (Rigsombudsmanden) since 1979.

Ecuador

The officer known as Defensor del Pueblo (people's defender) performs the functions of a people's ombudsman.

Estonia

In Estonia, the Chancellor of Justice (Õiguskantsler) is an independent supervisor of the basic principles of the Constitution of Estonia and the protector of individual rights. The Chancellor of Justice is appointed to office by the Riigikogu on the proposal of the President for a seven-year term. The current Chancellor of Justice is Indrek Teder.[8]

European Union

The European Ombudsman was established by the Maastricht treaty, the treaty establishing the European Union. The current European Ombudsman, holding office since April 1, 2003, is Nikiforos Diamandouros, former national ombudsman of Greece. The European Union Ombudsman investigates claims by companies which reside or have their interests within the European Union against incidents of bad administration by bodies or institutions of the European Union.

France

In France, since 1973, there is a Government appointed Ombudsman, the "Médiateur de la République". Currently Jean-Paul Delevoye is holding the office, for a single term which will elapse in 2010.

Finland

In Finland the office of Parliamentary Ombudsman,[9] modelled after the Swedish Ombudsman, was established by the Constitution of 1919. The Ombudsman is appointed by the Parliament, and has the task of ensuring that all government departments and officials follow the law. The Parliamentary Ombudsman shares many duties with the Chancellor of Justice. The Ombudsman has wide-ranging oversight and investigative powers. She or he has access to all government facilities, documents and information systems and can order a police investigation if necessary. If the Ombudsman determines that a government official has not acted in accordance with the law she or he can advice on the proper application of the law, reprimand the official or in the extreme case order the criminal prosecution of the official. Partly because of the prosecutorial powers the Ombudsman enjoys considerable respect and her or his legal opinions are usually strictly followed. Her or his legal interpretations carry a lot of weight in the absence of a court precedent.

There are also special ombudsmen for gender equality, children's welfare, rights of ethnic minorities, data protection, and consumer protection, operating under the auspices of various ministries and other government agencies. Also, every health care provider in Finland is legally obliged to have a patients' rights ombudsman.

Georgia

The Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia is a national human rights institution. The office of public defender was established in 1997 based on the decree of Parliament of Georgia. The Public Defender shall be elected for a term of 5 years by a majority of the total members of the Parliament of Georgia. In his activities, the Public Defender shall follow the Constitution of Georgia and the present Law, as well as the universally recognized principles and rules of international law, international treaties and agreements concluded by Georgia.

The Public Defender supervises the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the territory of Georgia, elicits the facts of violation of human rights and assists in the redress of the infringed rights.

The Public Defender supervises the activities of public authorities, national or local, public officials and legal persons, evaluates all acts passed by them, gives recommendations and proposals.

The Public Defender conducts educational activities in the field of human rights.

Currently George Tugushi is elected as a Public Defender of Georgia. His mandate expires in 2014.

Greece

The Greek Ombudsman is called the Citizen's Advocate and is an Independent Authority. Currently, the Citizen's Advocate is Professor Georgios Kaminis. The Advocate is assisted by five Assistant Advocates, who coordinate the activities of the Advocate's office in the five "theme circles" (areas) in which the office has authority: i) civil rights, ii) social protection, iii) quality of life, iv) state-citizen relationships and v) children's rights.

Hong Kong

The Office of The Ombudsman, Hong Kong, known as the Commission for Administrative Complaints until 1994, is an independent statutory authority, established in 1989 under the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints Ordinance 1988, to redress grievances arising from maladministration in the public sector through independent and impartial investigations to improve the standard of public administration. Resources: Office of The Ombudsman, Hong Kong

Iceland

The post of umboðsmaður Alþingis was set up in 1987 under the terms of law number 13/1987, which deals with complaints against the government. The ombudsman's authority was expanded to local government levels in the 1997 law number 85/1997. The ombudsman is appointed by Alþingi.

India

The Government of India has designated several ombudsmen (sometimes called Chief Vigilance Officer or CVO) for the redressal of grievances and complaints from individuals in the banking, insurance and other sectors being serviced by both private and public bodies and corporations.[10] The CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) was setup on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee (1962-64).

In India, Ombudsman is called as Lokpal or Lokayukta. An Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was set up on 5 January 1966 under the Chairmanship of Shri Morarji Desai. It recommended a two-tier machinery: Lokpal at the Centre (Parliamentary commissioner as in New Zealand) and one Lokayukta each at the State level for redressal of people's grievances. However, the jurisdiction of the Lokpal is not extended for judiciary like in New Zealand. The central Government introduced the first Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in 1968 and lastly in 2005, which has so far not been enacted.

Lokayukta institution has come into existence in different years, in different States in India. Orissa is the first state to present a bill on establishment of Lokayukta in 1970, however, Maharashtra is the first state to have established the institution in 1972. There after, this institution was established in different States in different years namely: Maharashtra (1972), Bihar (1974), Uttar Pradesh (1977), Madhya Pradesh (1981), Andhra Pradesh (1983), Himachal Pradesh (1983), Karnataka (1984), Assam (1986), Gujarat (1988), Delhi (1995), Punjab (1996), Kerala (1998), Chhattishgarh (2002), Uttaranchal (2002) and West Bengal (2003) and Haryana (2004). The structure of the Lokayukta is not uniform across all the states. Some states have UpaLokayukta under Lokayukta and in some states, the Lokayukta doesn't have sou moto powers of instigating an enquiry.

Kerala State has an Ombudsman for Local Self Government institutions like Panchayaths, Municipalities and Corporations. He or she can enquire/investigate into allegations of action, inaction, corruption and mal administration. A Retd. Judge of the High Court is appointed by the Governor for a term of 3 years. The appointment is made under the provisions of the Kerala Panchayath Raj Act.

In the State of Rajasthan, the Lokayukta institution was established in the year 1973 after the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act, 1973 was passed by the State Legislature and received assent of the President on 26.3.1973.

Ireland

The Office of Ombudsman was set up under the terms of the Ombudsman Act, 1980. The Ombudsman is appointed by the President of Ireland upon the nomination of both Houses of the Oireachtas, and is a civil servant of the State. The Ombudsman deals with complaints against Departments of State, local authorities, health boards and An Post.

There are other ombudsmen established in the Republic. The first Pensions Ombudsman, Paul Kenny, was appointed in 2003. Emily Logan became Ireland’s first Ombudsman for Children in March 2004. The Financial Services Ombudsman incorporated the older offices of the Insurance Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Credit Institutions in 2005. Also established in 2005 was the Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, the first holder being Paulyn Marrinan Quinn, formerly an Insurance Ombudsman. An Act of 2005 created a three-person tribunal, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission,to investigate complaints about the country's police force. All these offices are statutory and their holders are public servants. A (non-statutory) Press Ombudsman began work in January 2008 and legislation has been published to establish a Legal Services Ombudsman. The Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill of 2008 will provide for the statutory protection of the title of Ombudsman.

Israel

The State Comptroller of Israel also serves, by law, as Ombudsman. She or he discharges this function by way of a special unit in the Office of the State Comptroller, known as the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman investigates complaints against bodies that are statutorily subject to audit by the State Comptroller, including government ministries, local authorities, state enterprises and institutions and government companies, as well as their employees.

Italy

In Italy there is no ombudsman at the national level however many units of sub-national government (regions, provinces and communes) have their own ombudsman, known as difensore civico, who are elected by regional, provincial or communal councils.

Japan

Although Japan does not have a national level ombudsman, individual regions have established ones. Kawasaki became the first city to do so.

Latvia

Since 2007, the Latvian ombudsman is a personalized institution literally called Rights' Defender (Tiesībsargs). Previously, similar functions were carried by National Human Rights Office (1995—2006).

Lithuania

In Lithuania, the position of ombudsman is not very popular or powerful at the national level, however, there are controllers of the Parliament ("Seimo kontrolierius*) working in the Seimas.

Macedonia

Since 1997 Macedonia has an Ombudsman Institution named "Naroden pravobranitel for protection of citizens rights". The ombudsman is appointed by the Parliament and performs her or his work under the Constitution and the Law of the Ombudsman.

Netherlands

The idea of ombudsman was introduced in the Netherlands by VARA-presenter Tom Pauka, after a holiday in Sweden in 1969. A television program was started with the name De Ombudsman. Today the Constitution of the Netherlands determines that there is a National Ombudsman, a state institution.

New Zealand

The post of Ombudsman was established in New Zealand in 1962, to investigate complaints against government departments. In 1975 the post was expanded, with a Chief Ombudsman and several (number unspecified) of other ombudsmen. New Zealand also has three industry ombudsmen - the Banking Ombudsman, the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman, and the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner who is an ombudsman in all but name. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has a high-level position of power in New Zealand. According to the US-American Slanguage dictionary, it is either a brave or foolish agency who tries to flout an ombudsman's rulings.

Norway

  • The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud in Norway (Likestillings- og diskrimineringsombudet) was established in 1978 as the Gender Equality Ombud (Likestillingsombudet), the first of its kind in the world. In 2006, the Ombud was reorganised to include discrimination in general. The Ombud's task is to enforce the Norwegian Gender Equality Act and the act relating to prohibition of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, skin colour, language, religious and ethical orientation (Discrimination Act). The Ombud shall also enforce the anti-discrimination regulations in the Working Environment Act. The mandate of the Ombud also includes to actively promote equality for discriminated groups, and to develop new knowledge through documentation and monitoring.
  • The Parliamentary Ombudsman for Public Administration (Sivilombudsmannen) investigates complaints from citizens or may take up issues on its own initiative: complaints from citizens concerning injustice or maladministration from central government or local authorities.
  • Ombudsman for Children in Norway (Barneombudet) has statutory rights to protect children and their rights. Since 1981, the Ombudsman for Children in Norway has worked continuously to improve national and international legislation affecting children's welfare. Norway was the first country in the world to establish an ombudsman for children.
  • Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman (Forbrukerombudet) [11] shall, in the interests of consumers, seek to prevent market abuses in conflict with the provisions stipulated in or pursuant to The Norwegian Marketing Control Act. The Consumer Ombudsman shall, acting on his own initiative or on the basis of communications from others, urge all businesspersons to conduct their activities in accordance with the provisions of the Marketing Control Act. The Consumer Ombudsman shall also ensure that the terms and conditions are not used in any way that may harm consumers and shall contribute to this end through negotiations with businesspersons or their organisations. The Consumer Ombudsman has received attention internationally since it ruled that the iTunes music store's contract terms violates Norwegian consumer and marketing law.[12]
  • Local and regional authorities often have ombudsmen. Examples of this are ombudsmen for health and social affairs, ombudsmen for the elderly and ombudsmen for school students and apprentices at the upper secondary level. [13]

Pakistan

In Pakistan, the establishment of the institution of Ombudsman was advocated on several occasions. It was, however, Article 276 of the Interim Constitution of 1972, which for the first time provided for the appointment of a Federal Ombudsman as well as Provincial Ombudsmen. Subsequently, the Constitution of 1973 included the Federal Ombudsman at item 13 of the Federal Legislative List in the Fourth Schedule. The Institution of Ombudsman was, however, actually brought into being through the Establishment of the Office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (President’s Order No. 1 of 1983), which is now a part of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by virtue of Article 270-A. It started functioning on 8 August, 1983.

The Ombudsman in Pakistan is called "Wafaqi Mohtasib", (English: "Federal Ombudsman") with its headquarters in Islamabad and Regional Offices in Lahore, Sukkur, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Karachi. The official website of Ombudsman in Pakistan is http://www.mohtasib.gov.pk

Peru

The Peruvian Ombudsman is called "Defensor del Pueblo".

Philippines

The Office of the Ombudsman of the Philippines is empowered by the Constitution of the Philippines to safeguard the government and government-related institutions and corporations from corruption and dispense justice in the case of such offenses.

Poland

The Polish Ombudsman is called the Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich.

Portugal

The Portuguese Ombudsman is called the Provedor de Justiça (Justice Provider), and its role is defined in article 23 of the Constitution of Portugal:

1. Citizens may submit complaints against actions or omissions by the public authorities to the Ombudsman, who shall assess them without the power to take decisions and shall send the competent bodies such recommendations as may be necessary in order to prevent or make good any injustices.

2. The Ombudsman’s work shall be independent of any acts of grace or legal remedies provided for in this Constitution or the law.

3. The Ombudsman’s office shall be an independent body and the Assembly of the Republic shall appoint the Ombudsman for such time as the law may determine.

4. The bodies and agents of the Public Administration shall cooperate with the Ombudsman in the fulfilment of his mission.

Besides the traditional roles, there are two toll-free lines: one for children and one for senior citizens.

Romania

The Romanian Ombudsman is known as Avocatul Poporului, meaning People's Advocate.

Russia

Russian ombudsman position is called Commissioner for Human Rights.

Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights is appointed for a certain term by the Parliament. The ombudsman cannot be dismissed before the end of his term, and is not subordinate to any body of power, including the President or the Government. Russia’s 83 administrative regions has the right to elect a local ombudsman whose authority is limited to that region. Less than half have done so.[14][15]

This chair is currently held by Vladimir Lukin.

Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka has designated several ombudsmen for the redress of grievances and complaints from individuals in the banking, insurance and other sectors being serviced by both private and public bodies and corporations.

South Africa

Spain

The Spanish laws translate "ombudsman" as defensor del pueblo ("Defender of the People"). The Spanish Defensor can start processes at the Constitutional Court. There is a general Defensor del Pueblo for issues with the Spanish administration, and regional ones for the autonomous communities of Spain, for instance:

Sweden

Governmental ombudsmen:

  • Swedish Ombudsman for Equal Opportunities, or Jämställdhetsombudsmannen (JämO). Monitors issues relating to gender equality and since 1st of March 2002, equal treatment of students at universities.
  • Swedish Ombudsman for Children, or Barnombudsmannen. Observes matters affecting the rights and interests of children and young people.
  • Swedish Disability Ombudsman, or Handikappombudsmannen. Monitors issues relating to the rights and interests of persons with disabilities.
  • Swedish Ombudsman against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation, (HomO), or Ombudsmannen mot diskriminering på grund av sexuell läggning
  • Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination, or Ombudsmannen mot etnisk diskriminering

Further, the Director-General of the Swedish Consumer Agency is also designated Consumer Ombudsman, and the Chancellor of Justice is an ombudsman of sorts.

Thailand

The Ombudsmen of Thailand or Ombudsmen for the National Assembly (Thai: ผู้ตรวจการแผ่นดินของรัฐสภา; RTGS: Phu Truat Kan Phaen Din Khong Ratthasapha) was first created in the 1997 Constitution of Thailand or the 'People's' Constitution. The idea for such an office first appeared in the 1974 Constitution, however it was not until 1997 that the idea was entrenched. Currently there are 3 ombudsmen who were appointed by the King of Thailand at the advice of the Senate of Thailand. The Ombudsmen take investigate complaints by the general public against public officials and agencies, they have the power to prosecute but not enforcement.

The Ombudsmen are appointed to a six years non renewable term. The three Ombudsmen are:

  • Poontrap Piya-anand (Thai: พูลทรัพย์ ปิยะอนันต์)
  • General Threedej Meepeir (Thai: พล.อ.ธีรเดช มีเพียร)
  • Pramoj Chomongkol (Thai: ปราโมทย์ โชติมงคล)

Ukraine

Office of ombudsman in Ukraine was instituted in 1998. Since then it is held by Nina Karpachova, who was reelected for the office three times. The last re-election date was 8 February 2007. Ukrainian's ombudsman official site: http://ombudsman.kiev.ua/

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom a post of Ombudsman is attached to the Westminster Parliament with additional posts at the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and other government institutions.

About UK Ombudsman Services

The primary UK Ombudsman is known as the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, also known as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (PCA), which looks into complaints "that government departments, their agencies and some other public bodies in the UK - and the NHS in England - have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service." The UK Ombudsman will usually investigate complaints where there has been evidence of "maladministration" having occurred which has resulted in an "unremedied injustice". Complaints to the Ombudsman are subject to a "time bar" - this means that the Ombudsman may determine a complaint to be out of jurisdiction if too much time has passed between the event or course of events being complained about and the complaint being received by the Ombudsman.

List of all Ombudsman Services in the United Kingdom

Shortcomings

The impartiality of some UK Ombudsman services has been questioned. In particular the Local Government Ombudsman - all three current Local Ombudsmen previously served as Chief Executives in Local Government and the Local Government Association played a part in their appointment - have been accused of bias and of merely acting as a rubber stamp. [5]

United States

Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) http://www.dhs.gov/cisombudsman provides recommendations for resolving individual and employer problems with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 § 452, The Office of the CIS Ombudsman (CISOMB) is not a part of USCIS, it is an independent DHS office which reports directly to the DHS Deputy Secretary.

The DHS CIS Ombudsman:

(1) Assists individuals and employers in resolving problems with USCIS;

(2) Identifies areas in which individuals and employers have problems in dealing with USCIS; and

(3) Proposes changes to mitigate identified problems.

By June 30 of each calendar year the Ombudsman submits an annual report to the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary without any prior comment or amendment from any administrative agency official including: the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Ombudsman’s annual reports focus on identifying systemic issues that cause delay in granting immigration benefits as well as pervasive and serious problems faced by individuals and employers in their interactions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The First Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman was Prakash Khatri, who served from July 2003 to February 2008. During his tenure, he delivered four annual reports to Congress which included over 70 recommendations for improvements to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The reports can be accessed at www.dhs.gov/cisombudsman. The 2007 report can be located at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/CISOMB_Annual_Report_2007.pdf Earlier reports can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/gc_1183996985695.shtm .

United States Navy

The U.S. Navy implemented an ombudsman program in 1970, under the direction of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Through the Navy Ombudsman Program, communication between the spouses of active duty personnel and the command is kept open, thereby improving the quality of life for everyone involved. The Navy command ombudsman is a volunteer position, with no special favors bestowed upon them.

The purpose of this program is to ensure the dependents of active duty personnel have a channel of resources for their needs and quality of life. A command ombudsman can guide you to the help you may need, before, during or after a deployment. The Navy Ombudsman undergoes almost constant training, and is bound by confidentiality in most cases, the exception being any hint of child abuse. An ombudsman meets with department heads aboard a naval installation to find out the latest news, and pass it on, including news on ship deployments, cutting down on potentially harmful gossip.

King County (Seattle), WA

The King County Ombudsman's Office was created by the voters of King County, WA, in the Home Rule Charter of 1968, and operates as an independent office within the legislative branch of King County government. The Office investigates complaints regarding the administrative conduct of King County agencies, and alleged violations of county codes dealing with employee ethics, whistleblower protection, and lobbyist disclosure. The King County Ombudsman is appointed to a renewable five-year term by the King County Council and is removable mid-term only for cause.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Department of Ombudsman was created via the approval of an ordinance in 1993 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. This department was the first of its kind in the state of California and the first nationally involved in law enforcement oversight.[16]

New York City

The New York City Public Advocate has an Ombudsman team that investigates and responds to telephone and written complaints/queries regarding city agency services, providing information and referrals.

State Long Term Care Ombudsmen

Every state has a long term care ombudsman, and many states have supplemental programs developed to protect long term care residents' rights. [6]

State level ombudsmen

The job description for state offices of ombudsmen invariably involves the trouble-shooting function of investigating citizen complaints concerning specific acts by government agencies. For example, in Nebraska the ombudsman's duties are as follows:

To receive complaints from the public and from persons working in government; to investigate; and where appropriate to negotiate remedial action with the agencies involved. A secondary duty is to answer questions and assist people with problems relating to government.[17]

Since 1967 at least five state legislatures have established and continued to employ a full-time ombudsman, i.e. Hawaii, Nebraska, Alaska, Iowa and Arizona. Many other states have ombudsmen appointed by, and located within the office of, the governor.

Other states have ombudsmen specific to particular issues. New York State has, for example, a longterm care ombudsman whose duties include assistance to residents of nursing homes. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management employs an ombudsman "charged with authority to undertake independent, and in certain cases confidential, fact-finding in response to external or internal complaints or questions about the Department's performance." The office is currently held by Thomas Getz.[18]

Fictional ombudsmen

In the science fiction television series Babylon 5, the arbiters aboard space station Babylon 5 who preside over cases stemming from public complaints are referred to as ombuds (this is both the singular and plural designation), the gender-neutral title for an ombudsman. Just as with their modern European counterparts, the ombuds only preside over public cases, including robbery, assault, and murder, and do not interpret law as a regular judiciary does.

John Perry, the protagonist of The Last Colony, written by John Scalzi starts off the novel as an ombudsman for a newly-settled human colony.

The webcomic PvP ran a story arc starting at the beginning of March 2009 parodying the comic series and movie Watchmen called The Ombudsmen.

The Fox News parody show, Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, meets three times per episode with "TV's Andy Levy, Ombudsman".

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Riksdagens Ombudsmän - JO: Historik
  2. ^ Pickl, V. (1987), "Islamic Roots of Ombudsman Systems", The Ombudsman Journal 
  3. ^ Aristotle's Political Theory
  4. ^ Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 35 (3 September 1977): 1855.
  5. ^ Morris P. Fiorina, "The Case of the Vanishing Marginals: The Bureaucracy Did It," American Political Science Review 71 (March 1977): 179-80.
  6. ^ Taxation - Report of the National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, American Bar Association, February 27, 2008
  7. ^ Pub.L. 104-168, 110 Stat. 1452, enacted July 30, 1996, §101(a)
  8. ^ ÕIGUSKANTSLERI SEADUS (Estonian)
  9. ^ Finnish Parliamentary Ombudsman
  10. ^ [cvc.nic.in/vscvc/guideanx7.pdf "LIST OF AGENCIES IN GOVERNMENT OF INDIA FIGHTING CORRUPTION"] (pdf). Central Vigilance Commission, Government of India. cvc.nic.in/vscvc/guideanx7.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  11. ^ www.forbrukerombudet.no
  12. ^ iTunes violates Norwegian law
  13. ^ [1][2]
  14. ^ Institute of the Commissioner for Human Rights (in Russian)
  15. ^ St. Petersburg Times: Controversial Ombudsman Mikhailov Dismissed (October 23, 2009)
  16. ^ Los Angeles Department of Ombudsman
  17. ^ Kent M. Weeks, Ombudsmen Around the World: A Comparative Chart, 2d. ed. (Berkeley: University of California, Institute of Governmental Studies, 1978), p. 162.
  18. ^ RI DEM/Office of the Ombudsman Home Page

External links

Classical/Legislative ombudsmen

Albanian Government Ombudsman

  • www.avokatipopullit.gov.al 'Every knock to the official door should be a reminder ring in order that none of us forgets that human rights are the rights belonging to every human being, regardless the age, sex, race, religion, the financial position or the occupation' - Ombudsman Ph.D. Emir Dobjani.

Australian government ombudsmen

  • ombudsman.gov.au — 'Commonwealth Ombudsman Australia: Assisting the Australian community by resolving complaints and fostering good government administration'
  • omb-hscc.nt.gov.au — Ombudsman for the Northern Territory
  • ombudsman.vic.gov.au — Ombudsman Victoria
  • ombo.nsw.gov.au — New South Wales Ombudsman
  • ombudsman.sa.gov.au — The Ombudsman South Australia Office: '[to provide] free, impartial, informal and timely resolution of complaints to promote fairness, openness and good public administration in South Australia'
  • ombudsman.tas.gov.au — Tasmanian Ombudsman: investigates complaints regarding public authority administrative action and contravention of state privacy legislation, conducts Freedom of Information reviews in respect of government agencies and can accept public interest disclosures (ie. whistleblowing complaints) and other miscellaneous functions (eg. auditing of police telephone interception warrants).

Azerbaijan government ombudsman

Brazilian government ombudsmen

Canadian government ombudsmen

  • GNB.ca - 'The New Brunswick Ombudsman's Office': one central mission: to ensure that all New Brunswick citizens are treated with administrative fairness by government and its agencies.
  • HOA.gov.nl.ca - 'Newfoundland and Labrador Citizens' Representative'
  • Gov.ns.ca - 'Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman: If you feel you have been treated unfairly by a provincial or municipal government body, or you have a complaint about a Nova Scotia government service...'
  • Ombudsman.bc.ca - 'Ombudsman British Columbia: Promoting Fairness for British Columbians'
  • Ombudsman.mb.ca - 'Ombudsman Manitoba'
  • Ombudsman.on.ca - 'Ombudsman Ontario - Ontario's Watchdog. Mission: to support the need for accountability, transparency and oversight in the provision of government services'
  • ProtecteurduCitoyen.qc.ca - 'Le Protecteur du Citoyen' / 'The Québec's Ombudsman' (English language link)
  • Ombudsman.yk.ca - 'Office of the Yukon Ombudsman and Information & Privacy Commissioner'
  • Ombudsman.sk.ca - 'Ombudsman Saskatchewan'
  • Ombudsman.ab.ca - 'Alberta Ombudsman'
  • [7] - 'Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces'
  • [8] - Veterans Ombudsman

Chilean ombudsman

Czech government ombudsman

European Parliament ombudsman

Irish ombudsmen

Israeli ombudsman

New Zealand government ombudsmen

Philippine government ombudsman

Portuguese government ombudsmen

Swedish government ombudsmen

  • JO - Justitieombudsmannen (Parliamentary Ombudsmen: The Ombudsmen of Justice)
  • BO - Barnombudsmannen (Ombudsman for Children)
  • DO - Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (Ethnic Discrimination Ombudsman)
  • HomO - Ombudsmannen mot diskriminering på grund av sexuell läggning (Ombudsman against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation)
  • JämO - Jämställdhetsombudsmannen (Equal Opportunities Ombudsman)
  • Konsumentverket/KO - Konsumentverket/Konsumentombudsmannen (The Swedish Consumer Agency/Consumer Ombudsman)'
  • JK - Justitiekanslern (The Chancellor of Justice)

Ukrainian government ombudsman

United Kingdom government ombudsmen

  • Financial-Ombudsman.org.uk - 'The Financial Ombudsman Service: provides consumers and small businesses with a free, independent service for resolving disputes with Banks, Insurance and other financial organisations (includes private medical insurance)'
  • IHOS.org.uk - 'Housing Ombudsman Service': An independent service dealing with complaints against landlords & agents, and other housing disputes'
  • LGO.org.uk - 'Commissioner for Local Administration in England: Local Government Ombudsmen's Home Page'
  • Scrap LGO - 'Petition to scrap LGO'
  • NI-Ombudsman.org.uk - Northern Ireland Ombudsman's Office
  • OLSO.org - 'Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman'
  • Ombudsman.org.uk - 'Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman: Making complaints a positive experience (includes NHS)
  • Ombudsmanwatch.org 'Local Government Ombudsman complaints body'
  • Ombudsman-Wales.org - 'Public Services Ombudsman for Wales'
  • Pensions-Ombudsman.org.uk - 'The Pensions Ombudsman: investigates and decides complaints and disputes about private, civil service and other public sector pensions and pension schemes '
  • OTelO.org.uk - 'Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman: We are an Ombudsman Service for public communication providers and their customers'
  • ScottishOmbudsman.org.uk - 'Scottish Public Services Ombudsman'

United States government ombudsmen

  • http://www.dhs.gov/cisombudsman - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) provides recommendations for resolving individual and employer problems with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • pubadvocate.nyc.gov Although carrying a different official title, the New York Public Advocate is the ombudsman for residents of New York City
  • Ombudmhmr.state.mn.us - 'State of Minnesota Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities'
  • Ombudsman.hawaii.gov - 'State of Hawaii Office of the Ombudsman: independently and impartially investigates complaints against state and county agencies and employees'
  • http://www.legis.state.ia.us/Ombudsman/ - 'Office of Citizens' Aide Ombudsman, Des Moines, Iowa'
  • azleg.state.az.us/ombudsman/default.htm - 'Arizona's Ombudsman Citizen's Aide'
  • http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/LEGISLATURE/ombud/home.htm - 'State of Alaska Ombudsman'
  • http://www.tn.gov/tccy/ombuds.shtml - The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth's (TCCY) Ombudsman Program was established in 1996. The juvenile justice program serves children who are in the foster care system, Child Protective Services (CPS) cases and kinship care or relative caregiver placement. TCCY has statutory authority to review children in state custody and make recommendations for improvement.
  • http://www.fda.gov/oc/ombudsman/homepage.htm - The goal of FDA's Ombudsman is to help ensure that the agency fulfills its regulatory responsibilities well. In the short term, the Office is dedicated to facilitating problem resolution. In the long term, the Office looks at issues systematically in order to make the process work better. Thus it welcomes more general complaints, comments, and suggestions about FDA's regulatory processes.

Non-governmental (organizational) ombudsman services

Australia

  • Credit Ombudsman Service Limited - COSL: The Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL) is the external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme for the non bank financial services industry, approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  • Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman - TIO:The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is a free and independent alternative dispute resolution scheme for small business and residential consumers in Australia who have a complaint about their telephone or Internet service.

Established in 1993 by the Australian Federal Government, the TIO is independent of industry, the government and consumer organisations. The TIO is authorised to investigate complaints about the provision or supply of telephone or Internet services. (information was supplied by the official website of the TIO)

  • Trent Stamp's Take - Commentary on the Red Cross selection for Ombudsman
  • OEA.co.uk - 'Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme: A free, fair and independent service for buyers and sellers of residential property in the UK'
  • National Public Radio - In October 2007, journalist, author, media critic and educator Alicia C. Shepard began a two-year appointment as Ombudsman for NPR.

Ombudsman associations

  • AOA - Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA) - "To promote the concepts of Ombudsmanship and to encourage its development in Asia"
  • ANZOA - Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA)
  • BIOA - British and Irish Ombudsman Association (BIOA)
  • CFO - Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (CFO) - Promoting and Assisting Ombudsman in the United States Government
  • ENOHE - European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education (ENOHE), Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • EOI - European Ombudsman Institute (EOI)
  • IOA - International Ombudsman Association (IOA)
  • IOI - International Ombudsman Institute (IOI)
  • ONO - Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO)
  • USOA - United States Ombudsman Association (USOA) - Promoting and supporting fairness, accountability, and equity in government through the public sector ombudsman
  • AOA - Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA) - "To promote the concepts of Ombudsmanship and to encourage its development in Asia"

Ombudsman directories

  • UAlberta.ca - International Ombudsman Institute (international directory of ombudsmen)
  • Ombuds Blog includes lists of organizational ombuds offices in corporations, academic, governmental, and other organizations

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to ombudsman article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

WOTD - 25 November 2007    

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Etymology

From Swedish ombudsman < Old Norse umboðsmaðr

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
ombudsman

Plural
ombudsmen

ombudsman (plural ombudsmen)

  1. An appointed official whose duty is to investigate complaints, generally on behalf of individuals such as consumers or taxpayers, against institutions such as companies and government departments.
  2. A designated internal mediator in an organization whose duty is to assist members with conflict resolution and other problems and to serve as independent consultant to recommend changes to policies or procedures to improve organization effectiveness and efficiency.

Derived terms

Translations


Czech

Noun

ombudsman m.

  1. ombudsman

French

Etymology

From Swedish ombudsman

Noun

ombudsman m. and f. (plural: ombudsmans; feminine: ombudsman or ombudswoman; plural: ombudsmans or ombudswomans)

  1. An appointed official within an organization whose duty is to investigate complaints against that organization by its customers, taxpayers, and sometimes employees, and often to act as a consultant to improve services and processes.

Usage notes

  • In Quebec, the office in government services is called protecteur du citoyen. A similar office in France is that of the médiateur, though its precise functions differ.

Swedish

Etymology

The origin of the word is found in Old Norse and the word "umbuds man", meaning representative. The first preserved use in Swedish is from 1552. It is also used in the other Scandinavian languages such as the Icelandic umboðsmaður, the Norwegian ombudsmann and the Danish ombudsmand.

Pronunciation

  • IPA: [ˈɔmːˌbʉːdsˈman]

Noun

ombudsman (def. ombudsmannen, pl. ombudsmän, pl. def. ombudsmännen)

  1. ombudsman

Turkish

Pronunciation

  • IPA: [ɔm.bʋds.mɑn]

Noun

ombudsman (definite accusative ombudsmanı, plural ombudsmanlar)

  1. ombudsman

Declension








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