December 28, 2016

The Ombuds Blog 2016 Annual Wrap-Up, Part III

The annual survey of notable Ombuds stories concludes today with the three top news items from 2016.  

3. IOA Rebuts Department of Education on Clery Act -- In July, the federal agency updated its guidance document for colleges and universities that comply with the law that requires crime tracking and reporting.  For the first time, the Dept of Ed characterized campus Ombuds as mandatory reporters ("Campus Security Authorities").  IOA responded promptly and aggressively, formally requesting the Department to reconsider and offering an independent legal analysis.  The Association's response was uncharacteristically robust and marked a welcome change from the past.  Unfortunately, the Department was unmoved.  A glimmer of hope persists because the guidance document is advisory only. 

2. ACUS Recommends Expansion of Ombuds in Federal Agencies -- After a year-long study that tapped some leading Ombuds, the Administrative Conference of the U.S. concluded that Ombuds (Classical and Organizational, internal and external) provided significant benefits to government agencies and the public.  ACUS recommended more Ombuds and adherence to standards promulgated by IOA and the U.S. Ombudsman Association.  

1. IOA Overhauls Membership Categories -- After years of efforts and campaigning by its Board and other leaders, the International Ombudsman Association members voted to dismantle the categories of membership that many found divisive and limiting.  Now, the Association has just three categories of membership, ensuring most dues-payers the same privileges.  At the same time, the bylaws were revised to restrict Board membership to ensure that the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice can be changed only by experienced Ombuds.  While the bylaws changes may seem arcane, it is hoped that the Association is now poised to be more welcoming and financially secure.

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

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