Generally an ombudsman working within a governmental agency,publiccorporation or academic situation is available to all members of theorganization. The ombudsman provides an opportunity for informaldiscussion of problems outside formal channels. The ombudsman is theorganization’s conflict resolution and conflict preventionspecialist. The ombudsman listens, discusses, answers questions,provides information, and identifies options and strategies forresolving a situation.
The word ‘ ombudsman ’ dates back to 1809when the Swedish Parliament created a new official known as theJustitie-Ombudsman, referring to public officials appointed toinvestigate citizens’ complaints against governmentalagencies. Ombudsman loosely translates as ‘ citizen’sdefender ’ or ‘ representative of thepeople ’. In Swedish the word – ‘ ombudsman’is without gender and can indicate a person of either sex. However, itis becoming common to use the term ombudsperson in lieu of ombudsman.
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