September 26, 2018

U.S. Department of Labor to Create Ombuds Program for Federal Contractors

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will implement an Ombud Service to resolve concerns faced by government contractors. According to Department of Labor Directive 2018-09 issued last week, the new program will "facilitate the fair and equitable resolution of specific types of concerns raised by OFCCP external stakeholders in coordination with regional and district offices." This is also intended to increase the agency's transparency and communication with stakeholders.

The directive does not specify any particular established standards, but does outline some details of the OFCCP Ombuds' role:
The Ombud Service should require the Ombud to:
  • Listen to external stakeholder concerns about OFCCP matters and suggestions for improvements;
  • Promote and facilitate resolution of OFCCP matters at the district and region office level;
  • Work with OFCCP district and regional offices as a liaison to resolve certain issues after stakeholders have exhausted district and regional office channels;
  • Refer stakeholders to the OFCCP Help Desk for routine compliance and technical assistance inquiries;
  • Accept and review matters referred directly by the national office; and
  • Have the discretion to reject a referral in appropriate circumstances.
The Ombud Service will not:
  • Advocate for either side of a dispute;
  • Give legal advice, analysis, opinions, or conclusions;
  • Conduct compliance evaluations, complaint investigations or participate in conciliation agreement negotiations;
  • Have any role in conduct or discipline issues regarding OFCCP staff. 
The new Ombuds will report to the OFCCP Deputy Director and will be responsible to setting up the program. A search is expected to begin shortly. (Directive.)

Related posts: CoFO Continues Work on Thorny Issues Facing Government OmbudsCOFO Collaborating With Federal Agencies Creating New Ombuds ProgramsACUS Finalizes Recommendation on Use of Ombuds in Federal AgenciesUpdated Website is Great Resource for U.S. Government Ombuds.

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