Types of Ombuds

The UConn Ombuds is an Organizational Ombuds

An Organizational Ombuds is an individual who serves as a designated neutral within a specific organization and provides conflict resolution and problem-solving services to members of the organization (internal ombuds) and/or for clients or customers of the organization (external ombuds). There are Organizational Ombuds in all sectors (corporate, academic, governmental, non-governmental, and non-profit). Some may serve both internal and external constituencies.

An Organizational Ombuds provides confidential, informal, independent and impartial assistance to individuals through dispute resolution and problem-solving methods such as conflict coaching, mediation, facilitation, and shuttle diplomacy. The Organizational Ombuds responds to concerns and disputes brought forward by visitors to the office and may report trends, systemic problems, and organizational issues to high-level leaders and executives in a confidential manner. They do not advocate for individuals, groups or entities, but rather for the principles of fairness and equity. The Organizational Ombuds does not play a role in formal processes, investigate problems brought to the office’s attention, or represent any side in a dispute.

Students walking down Fairfield Way in front of the Homer Babbidge Library and the Information Technologies Engineering Building.

Are there other kinds of Ombuds?


Classical Ombuds

These Ombuds receive and investigate complaints and concerns regarding governmental policies and processes.  The authority and mandate of Classical Ombuds are typically provided by statutory language. These Ombuds may be elected by constituents or appointed by a legislature or organization to monitor citizens’ treatment under the law.  Classical Ombuds generally have authority to conduct investigations and make recommendations for appropriate redress or policy change.

Advocate Ombuds

An Advocate Ombuds may be located in either the public or private sector. They evaluate claims objectively but are authorized or required to advocate on behalf of individuals or groups found to be aggrieved. Advocate Ombuds are often found in organizations such as long-term care facilities or agencies, and organizations that work with juvenile offenders.

Hybrid Ombuds

Hybrid Ombuds are usually established by policy or terms of reference by both private and public sector organizations. They primarily use informal methods to resolve complaints but also have the power to investigate and the authority to publish annual and special reports.

Executive Ombuds

An Executive Ombuds may be located in either the public or private sector and receives complaints concerning actions and failures to act of the organization, its officials, employees and contractors. An Executive Ombuds may either work to hold the organization or one of its programs accountable or work with the organization’s officials to improve the performance of a program.

Legislative Ombuds

A Legislative Ombuds is a part of the legislative branch of a government entity and addresses issues raised by the general public or internally, usually concerning the actions or policies of government entities, individuals or contractors with respect to holding agencies accountable to the public.

Media Ombuds

The Media, or News, Ombuds is familiar to many people. The News Ombuds’ primary objective is to promote transparency within their news organization. This Ombuds can receive and investigate complaints about news reporting on behalf of members of the public and then recommend the most suitable course of action to resolve issues raised in the complaints. The News Ombuds is an independent officer acting in the best interests of news consumers. They explain the roles and obligations of journalism to the public and act as a mediator between the expectations of the public and the responsibilities of journalists. (For more information, see http://newsombudsmen.org/.)