An ombudsman is a government official appointed to hear and investigate the grievances and complaints of the citizens against the acts of government officials, public and private organizations. Although they have a lot of power to investigate, ombudsmen have very few punitive powers. Ombudsmen also identify issues within a system leading to poor service and violation of people’s rights.
An Organizational Ombudsman has a certain degree of independence to investigate the issues that arise by taking a neutral stand and maintaining the confidentiality of those seeking services. They have 2 primary duties:
Assist individuals and groups in an organization in identifying and resolving conflicts
Identify issues within the system leading to poor service and violation of people’s rights and bring it to the notice of the organization.
Ombudsmen facilitate the surfacing of issues and refer them to formal resolution channels but they do not participate in the problem resolution process.
An effective ombudsman should possess good listening and communication skills, conflict resolution skills, problem solving and analytical skills and the ability to remain non-judgmental.