Guiding Principles

 

Neutrality and Impartiality

  • The ombuds officer, as a designated neutral party, remains unaligned and impartial. The ombuds officer does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest or compromise the integrity of the function. The ombuds officer does not take sides, but does consider the interests and concerns of all parties in a dispute, with the goal of achieving fair outcomes. The ombuds officer does not arbitrate, adjudicate, testify, or participate in any formal grievance or complaint process. 

Confidentiality

  • The ombuds officer holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exceptions to this privilege of confidentiality is where the ombuds officer is required to disclose by law and/or there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm or danger. The ombuds office keeps no official records of visitors’ names, affiliations, or concerns. If you wish for a problem or complaint to go on record, we will refer you to the appropriate office or person. 

Informality

  • The ombuds officer, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to the concern(s) brought to his/her attention.

Flexibility

  • The ombuds officer provides an alternative to the formal grievance and/or complaint process. The office emphasizes non-adversarial problem-solving options, rather than formal, rights-based options.  While formal processes are appropriate in many situations, they emphasize pursuing outcomes through rules and regulations. Problem-solving options focus on addressing underlying issues that may have given rise to disputes, so that future disputes can be avoided.

 

 

 

 

 

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