April 19, 2019

San Diego Collaborative Arts Project Embeds Ombuds for Stakeholders

The nonprofit supporting the San Diego Burning Man community has an Organizational Ombuds program as part of a conflict resolution protocol. The SDCAP protocol incorporates Ombuds as a resource for all types of conflict:

III. Conflict Resolution Protocols
Conflict With Another Member Of Your Team: When a team member or a group of team members finds it difficult to work with another member, and have been unable to resolve the problem directly with the individual or within the group (see section II. C. above), a third-party, such as the Volunteer Coordinator, Team Leader, the Ombuds, or some other neutral party may be asked to help facilitate a discussion. This may mean the third-party simply encourages or helps arrange a meeting. Or, this could mean that the individuals wish to involve the third-party as a mediator in their meeting.
Conflict With Your Team Leader: If you are having a conflict with your team leader and the methods for resolving conflict prescribed in this document (see section II. 3. above) are not working then consider involving the leader of your department (or Ombuds for more serious conflicts). Use your best discretion when making this decision. The more serious the conflict, the more important it will be to get a more senior leader or the Ombuds involved. If the person with whom you are in conflict happens to be your team leader then follow the guidelines in the preceding two paragraphs, but use a Board member as the third-party mediator.
Conflicts Between People in Leadership Roles: Conflicts between people in leadership roles should be handled the same as other conflicts within teams (see III. 1. above). In this case the third-party should be the Ombuds.
Conflict With A Board Member: If you are having a conflict with an SDCAP Board Member then you should approach one of the other members of the SDCAP Board or the Ombuds for consultation on the matter for support or to resolve the problem. All members of the SDCAP Board are committed to the fair treatment of volunteers and staff and hold high expectations for one another. Please note that the entire SDCAP Board will address all issues brought to any individual SDCAP Board member.
Conflict Resolution Advocate: Another option is involving SDCAP’s Ombuds, who is our conflict resolution advocate. Please note that the Ombuds should only be used for actual conflict resolution, and not for gossip, venting or any other reason (see section II. 5. & 6. above). Please also note that matters of grave importance that relate to board activities or SDCAP sponsored activities cannot be kept confidential and must be communicated to the SDCAP Board (see section IV. below). [Emphasis added.]
For the past few year, Julie Denenberg, a research scientist at UC San Diego, has served as the SDCAD Ombuds. (SDCAP Ombuds; SDCAP Conflict Resolution Protocol.)

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