Back to RAI Home page
  Ombuds Office
What is an Ombuds?
An ombud is a neutral intervenor who can take on a variety of roles, using different processes. On short notice, they can counsel, coach, investigate, advise on, and mediate disputes according to the needs of the situation. Alternative dispute resolution expertise ensures that they first diagnose a conflict before arriving at a prognosis namely what process could assist in resolving a particular issue.

The Ombuds can also be the "ADR" champion within an organization, ensuring that new skills such as interest-based negotiation take root. In this type of mandate, they have a broader role of assisting in effective conflict management.

How does the Ombuds work?
An Ombuds is mandated by an organization to address an identified range of disputes, such as customer-manufacturer, hospital-patients, environmental complaints, or medicine and ethics. While some organizations choose to train employees to fill this office, there are some advantages to appointing an external Ombuds.
The main advantage is that the office preserves some autonomy and some distance towards the situation.
The external may also be more neutral, and able to draw from work experience in other organizations.

To be effective, the Ombuds must be easily accessed by users, and available on short notice.

Who can benefit from an Ombuds?
Organizations that have regular differences arising in certain sectors, or who are in transition can benefit from the regular interventions of an Ombuds. There are savings in not having the Ombuds full-time, since there are periods that will require little intervention. The long-term relation, however, is beneficial in building trust and legitimacy with someone external.

When you select a neutral from Resolution Alliance Inc. to fill the office of Ombuds, you gain from a network of experienced neutrals working closely together, able to provide addititional long-term support for your organization and its health.