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Ombudsman

 

An ombudsperson is independent from the executive and the judiciary and is funded by the legislative body. The office of the ombudsperson can take various forms. It can be a general-purpose or specialized agency that receives and investigates citizen complaints against bureaucratic actions, an agency charged with protecting citizen’s human rights, or an agency to protect other rights and interests (e.g. environmental protection). The powers of the ombudsperson also vary. Some can receive complaints and conduct some initial investigation while others can only mediate or recommend solutions. Some ombudspersons also have standing as complainants related to judicial actions. Under some models, the ombudsperson plays an important role in legal and judicial reform. This page presents resources on Ombudsperson offices from throughout the world.


UNDP Guide for Ombudsman Institutions – How to handle complaints 

This guide, published by UNDP in 2006, aims to share knowledge about best practices developed by Ombudsman institutions around the world for receiving complaints. The guide provides personnel of Ombudsman institutions with accessible guidelines on how to communicate and interact with individuals and groups that contact the Ombudsman institution to make complaints or seek information, and generally on how to handle complaints. It does not suggest the type of advice that should be given, as this will vary according to national legislation and the mandate of the Ombudsman institution, but contains best practices on policies regarding receipt of complaints, procedures to be followed when receiving complaints, personnel policies, confidentiality, bias, service equity, physical access to an office, and protection of complainants and witnesses against retribution.

UNDP Guide for Ombudsman Institutions - How to handle investigations

This guide, published by UNDP in 2006, is to share knowledge about best practices developed by Ombudsman institutions around the world. It aims to provide personnel of Ombudsman institutions with accessible guidelines on the rules and approaches for examining complaints and most importantly, for conducting investigations. More specifically, the guide contains best practices on policies regarding the receipt of complaints, decisions to investigate or not, how they are investigated and how the results of those investigations are presented to the complainant, the subject of the investigation, the public and the media. At the same time, it does not consider the specific types of complaints or complainants, specific subjects, media relations other than concerning investigations, alternative dispute resolutions or evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of an Ombudsman institution.

Resources

International Ombudsman Institute

The International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.), established in 1978, is a worldwide organization of ombudsman offices. The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada and its Faculty of Law provides office space, a library and administrative support for the I.O.I. Secretariat. This site in English, French, and Spanish, includes a history of the concept and links to its member organizations in Africa, Australasia and the Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

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Europe

European Ombudsman

Comprehensive site that provides information on the European Ombudsman’s process of complaint, decisions, legal basis, reports, resources, useful links, and press releases. Available in 11 languages.

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OmbudsNet

This site is an integrated information and communication system for ombudsman offices in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains information about the ombudsman offices and human rights doctrine, legislation and jurisprudence. In English and Spanish.

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Financial Ombudsman Service

United Kingdom Provides assistance to United Kingdom citizens on a wide range of financial activities including banking, health, insurance, and investments

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Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

This Australian non government organization is not a consumer advocate, but rather a free service to help consumers and telecommunications companies resolve disputes. The TIO was established at the direction of the Federal Government in 1993 to resolve disputes between telecommunications companies, including Internet service providers (ISPs), and residential and small business customers. Independent of telecommunications companies, consumer groups, and the government, the TIO has the authority to make Binding Decisions (up to the value of $10,000) which are legally binding upon the telecommunications company, and Recommendations (up to the value of $50,000).

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Argentina

Official site for Argentina’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Spanish and English.

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Australia

Official site for Australia’s Commonwealth Ombudsman. Full text available in English. Summary information provided in 25 other languages.

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Belgium

Official site for the Federal Ombudsman of Belgium. Available in French, German, and English (non-French pages partially under construction).

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Canada

Ombudsman of British Columbia

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Costa Rica

Official site for Costa Rica’s Public Defender. In Spanish.

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Czech Republic

Official site for the Czech Republic’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Czech.

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Denmark

Official site for Denmark’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Danish.

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Finland

The official site of Finland’s Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. In Finnish, English, and French.

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France

Official site for France’s Office of the Ombudsman. In French.

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Gibraltar

Official site for Gibraltar’s Office of the Ombudsman

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Hong Kong

Official site for Hong Kong’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Chinese and English.

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Ireland

Official site for Ireland’s Office of the Ombudsman

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Malta

Official site of Malta’s Office of the Ombudsman.

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Mexico

Official site for Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights. In Spanish.

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The Netherlands

Official site for the Netherlands’ Office of the Ombudsman. In Dutch.

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New Zealand

Official site for New Zealand’s Office of the Ombudsman

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Norway

Official site for Norway’s Parliamentary Ombudsman. Partially under construction. In Norwegian and English.

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Portugal

Official site for Portugal’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Portuguese.

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Romania

Official site of Romania’s Office of the Ombudsman. Partially under construction. In Romanian and English.

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Republic of China/Taiwan/Chinese Taipei

Official site for the Control Yuan. In Chinese and English.

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Slovenia

Official site for Slovenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman. In Slovenian, English, Italian, and Hungarian.

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Spain

Official site for Spain’s Office of the Ombudsman. In Spanish.

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Sweden

Official site for Sweden’s Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. In Swedish and English.

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Uganda

Official site for Uganda’s Inspector General of Government

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United Kingdom

Office site for the UK’s Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. In English, French, and German.

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