Next Installment: What does an Ombudsman Programs Offer an Organization?

In this post we continue our discussion about ombudsman programs.  Today’s posting focuses on:

What Does an Ombudsman Program Offer?

An ombudsman program in your organization can potentially provide a highly confidential way for employees or members, and potentially, clients, citizens, and customers, to seek answers to questions, express concerns, or seek informal resolution of an issue. Regardless of the particular model, an ombudsman program typically provides a neutral, informal, and flexible avenue to address a wide range of concerns with a variety of tools and approaches. It provides a non-escalating, off-the-record resource to work with the user to give them timely answers to  questions and to explore the options, approaches, and alternatives available to help resolve matters without resorting to more formal channels.  Users of the program remain in control of their options and can confidentially explore their concerns. After consultation with the ombudsman, they can choose their own approach. Invariably, an ombudsman program does not replace other more formal mechanisms for resolving concerns, but supplements them. In many settings, the ombudsman will often suggest other services as the appropriate resource to help address the particular concern.

Bruce MacAllister, J.D.
Senior Principal, BES
March 2011

About Bruce MacAllister

Bruce MacAllister is the founder and Executive Director of Business Excellence Solutions. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology and a Juris Doctorate degree. He has over thirty years of experience working with people in conflict, and training and coaching people through conflict situations. He works nationally and internationally with a wide variety of clients, including national departments, research and development organizations, institutions of higher education, non-profits, and individual businesspeople. He has been an ombudsman, executive level manager, project and program manager, trainer, and attorney. Click the "About Us" page to see his full biography. (
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