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The World Bank's Ombuds Services

OUR ROLE

The World Bank Group's Ombuds Services office has three major functions:

  1. To help staff and managers resolve workplace problems
  2. To alert management to trends and issues that should be addressed to improve the working environment and make recommendations for change
  3. To administer the Respectful Workplace Advisors (RWA) Program

About Us

How Do We Work?How Can We Help?What to Expect?

Key Characteristics

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Confidential

Under Staff Rule 9.02 and the office’s professional standards, communications with Ombuds Services are private and confidential. An Ombudsman does not divulge any information that might reveal a staff member’s identity, unless authorized by the visitor (except if there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm).

Independent

Ombuds Services is not part the formal organziational structure, but has access to any part of the Bank in performing his/her work. It is a safe place for staff to discuss any conflict, concerns or disputes outside formal communication channels, without fear of retaliation.

Impartial

An Ombudsman does not serve as an advocate for a particular point of view or for any of the parties involved. The office strives for a fair solution to the issue and for the observation of due process.

Informal

We keep no formal records for the Bank. Contacting Ombuds Services is not the same as reporting an issue to the organization and does not place the WBG “on notice”.

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What We Can Do

  • Hold confidential discussions to listen to your concerns or inquiry
  • Analyze the facts of a given situation
  • Complete an impartial review of the matter
  • Help identify and evaluate your options
  • Help decide which option makes the most sense for you
  • Coach you on how to deal with the problem directly
  • Facilitate resolutions to disputes
  • Assist in achieving outcomes consistent with fairness and respectful treatment
  • If requested by staff, an Ombudsman may become actively involved in trying to resolve problems and may speak with anyone in the organization in order to do so
  • Provide information on policies and procedures
  • Help you raise issues you are reluctant to raise within regular channels
  • Explain other available resources and refer you to other units in the Bank that may help
  • Provide information and advice about the Bank Group’s formal grievance system
  • Alert management to systemic trends and issues
  • Make recommendations for a change in policy or practice

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What to expect in your consultation(s)?

The Ombudsman will start by listening to your concerns and then can help you evaluate your situation, organize your thoughts, assess your feelings, and decide on what is important and relevant to your specific circumstance.

Together, you will explore options to address your concerns. Through these conversations, many individuals find ways to proceed without needing direct intervention. The Ombudsman can intervene directly, but will do so only with your expressed permission.

The Ombudsman’s confidentiality and neutrality mandates are absolute and non-negotiable. The Ombudsman cannot be compelled by you or any official in the Bank to testify about concerns brought to his or her attention.

What to expect from the Ombudsman?

  • Strict confidentiality
  • Impartial advice
  • Help working through your options
  • Direct informal intervention if requested
  • Information on policies and procedures
  • References to other resources

What should you be prepared to do?

  • Concisely explain pertinent facts/information about the issue(s) you are facing
  • Describe any actions that have been taken to try to resolve the issue(s)
  • Define your expectations and/or desired outcome
  • Answer questions or provide additional information if requested to help the Ombudsman further understand the issue(s) (You are not required to share any information that you are not comfortable with, but providing as much information as possible may make your consultation more helpful)

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