James McRitchie, the publisher of the corporate governance site CorpGov.net, has reviewed Charles Howard's book, "The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations-A Legal Guide." McRitchie's interest was piqued by the recent panel discussions about Governance Ombuds hosted by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.
McRitchie's review concludes with this paragraph:
After reading the book I can say I’m still amazed more companies haven’t added ombuds functions. Setting up such an office and operating it so that confidentiality, independence and neutrality are protected is no easy task but there appears to be much more upside than downside, if done right. The flawed cases referenced where confidentiality was denied appear to be deeply flawed. However, I wouldn’t undertake such a task without Howard’s book and I would also want to join the International Ombudsman Association to discuss the idea with several who have set up and operated such offices. While it isn’t an “idiot’s guide” or step-by-step approach, the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to that possibility at this stage of development. Charles Howard’s essential guide for organizational ombudsman will undoubtedly facilitate growth of this important function that could help develop a culture of trust, candor and accountability.