December 23, 2016

The Ombuds Blog 2016 Annual Wrap-Up, Part II

This is the next installment of the year's most important Organizational Ombuds news.  The Ombuds Blog's sixth annual survey will conclude next Wednesday, December 28. 

Here are numbers four through six:

6. Court Rulings Nibble at Core Tenets -- Two different court rulings questioned two of the fundamental ethical principles for Ombuds.  A Florida state appellate court, considering a wrongful termination suit brought by the former long-term care Ombudsman, held that the state had no duty to respect the independence of the program.  A German district court ruled that a corporate Ombudsman could not protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers in a criminal investigation.  Although both cases involved other types of Ombuds, the ethical tenets at issue are claimed by Organizational Ombuds.  Time will only tell if these court rulings are a harbinger.

5. Experts Call for Sports Ombuds -- More industry watchers are advocating for Ombuds programs to serve competitive athletes.  One expert said that the continued problem of sexual assault involving collegiate athletes should be addressed in part by an Ombuds program like the U.S. Olympic Committee's.  A subcommittee of the NCAA called for an Ombuds to be available to parties involved in a misconduct investigation.  The Sports Dispute Center of Canada surveyed stakeholders nationally about the Ombuds concept.  Another expert called for Ombuds to be adopted by international sporting organizations.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Fencing Officials Commission quietly created an Ombuds program for referees.

4. Coalition of Federal Ombuds Wields its Influence -- Although largely retrained by regulations that prohibit lobbying by federal employees, COFO became a leading voice on the issue of Ombuds.  In May, the organization gave advice to the National Archives on the disposition of the National Security Administration's Ombuds documents.  In July, COFO sent a letter to the Department of Education regarding the categorization of university Ombuds as mandatory reporters under the Clery Act.  Also, COFO members provided input to the Administrative Conference of the U.S. for its recommendation on federal Ombuds

Related post: The Ombuds Blog Annual Wrap-Up 2016 Preview; The Ombuds Blog 2016 Annual Wrap-Up, Part I.

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