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Three Basic Types of Ombuds

Traditional ombuds (the gender-neutral and simpler term used for “ombudspersons”) operate in the public sector, and many are public employees. They typically address issues raised by members of the general public (or within their organization), usually concerning the actions or policies of a branch of government or of public officials.

Organizational ombuds are found in both public and private sectors. They typically address the concerns presented by members, employees, or contractors of a particular organization or entity concerning its policies or practices.

Advocate ombuds are also found in both public and private sectors, and also evaluate claims or complaints objectively. However, they typically are authorized or even required to advocate on behalf of individuals or groups found to be aggrieved. Importantly, and unique from other ombuds, an advocate ombud may have additional vested powers to represent an aggrieved party and litigate a problem on behalf of that party.

Inside Three Basic Types of Ombuds