The ombudsman is the internal complaint department for socially responsible organizations (governments, companies, schools,etc.). Generally, the ombudsman has access to the organization’s records and personnel, and the knowledge to understand how things work internally, in order to investigate complaints made against the organization. The ombudsman is generally independent and will consider all sides of an issue in an impartial and objective manner. The ombudsman cannot enforce solutions, but will identify options and strategies for resolution. Depending on the organization, the ombudsman may have great power to resolve complaints, or virtually none.
The word ‘ ombudsman ’ dates back to 1809when the Swedish Parliament created a new official known as the Justitie-Ombudsman, referring to public officials appointed to investigate citizens’ complaints against governmental agencies. Ombudsman loosely translates as ‘ citizen’s defender ’ or ‘ representative of thepeople ’. In Swedish the word – ‘ ombudsman’ is without gender and can indicate a person of either sex. However, it is becoming common to use the term ombudsperson in lieu of ombudsman.
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