Office of the Ombudsperson


University Ombudsman

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Safe Disclosure - A comprehensive Issue Management System

A comprehensive issue management system addresses governance and ethics challenges. Formal channels – such as the HR function, compliance policies, the legal department and line management – and an informal ombuds office both have important roles in ensuring that actual and potential malfeasance and other unethical behaviour are surfaced and addressed early and in implementing preventative changes[1].

Often an employee does not know where or how to take an issue forward. Ombuds have in-depth knowledge of organization-wide policies, procedures and issue resolution resources. Ombuds interactively provide neutral guidance in order to help employees take issues forward constructively. Ombuds help employees understand the extent and depth of issues and identify the most appropriate resolution resources[2].

An ombuds office is informal. Employees often are unwilling to take issues forward until they are comfortable with formal processes and potential outcomes. They want an off-the-record discussion with a seasoned professional about resolution procedures and implications prior to deciding on an action – formal or otherwise. Conversations with the ombuds do not constitute formal notice to the company.[3]

[1] Ethics, HR and the Importance of Ombuds Programs, Human Resources Institute Issue No. 288 January 2005, page 4.
[2] Ibid, page 6.
[3] Ibid, page 6.