Ombudsman offices exist in approximately 120 countries. The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial person with authority and responsibility to receive, investigate or informally address complaints and when appropriate, make findings and recommendations and publish reports.
An Ombudsman works for the resolution of particular issues and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for the improvement of the general administration of the entities over which it has jurisdiction.
The term “Ombudsman” should only be used if six key criteria are met. Those criteria are: independence of the Ombudsman from those whom the Ombudsman has the power to investigate; accessibility; fairness, public accountability, effectiveness; and impartiality.
These standards were developed to provide advice and guidance on the structure and operation of Ombudsman schemes so that Ombudsman may better fulfill their functions and so that individuals who avail themselves of their aid may do so with greater confidence in the integrity of the process.