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How to improve the necessary ombudsman skills: the Dutch experience.

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Presentation on theme: "How to improve the necessary ombudsman skills: the Dutch experience."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to improve the necessary ombudsman skills: the Dutch experience

2 2 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Areas of authority Initiating an investigation into a grievance and ruling on the grievance. The ombudsman may decide whether to initiate an investigation. Personally investigating matters and inspecting documents. Employees are required to provide information to the ombudsman. Impartial and independent position in the organization (the ombudsman is not a member of any department. The position is an autonomous unit within the university hierarchy, and the ombudsman reports on all activities in a publicly accessible annual report.) Issuing recommendations that must be followed unless in conflict with general policy. Windows menu Mac menu

3 3 PRECONDITIONS AND COMPETENCIES * Irreproachable conduct and no ancillary activities in the organization thoroughly aware of the regulations that apply in higher education and within the organization. Mediation qualities. Provision of information about the ombudsman’s duties. Adequate scope of the post. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Ability to objectify the problem. Accurate record keeping

4 4 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam WHAT SKILLS DOES AN OMBUDSMAN NEED TO PERFORM HIS DUTIES PROPERLY? Distinguishing between grievance, appeal and objection. Recognizing a grievance through insight into psychological factors. Being conscious of impartiality. Interview technique, e.g. asking questions. Being clear and making straightforward agreements with the complainant. Establishing facts and presenting findings with no value judgement. Being able to indicate whether or not an action was improper. Being conscious of obligation of confidentiality.

5 5 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam HABITUAL COMPLAINERS Emotional Dominant Manipulative Verbally aggressive Paranoid In all these cases: Ensure that the interview is structured and set clear boundaries. Be clear and honest. Remain in control and avoid emotional responses. Take nothing personally.

6 6 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam HOW CAN YOU ENSURE SUCCESS? Use your creativity to find an appropriate solution to the problem. Consult with colleagues. Get the parties involved to think about a solution. Urge the organization to set matters straight. Be persistent. Have no fear of authority. Keep parties apprised of progress


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