Using Ombuds Services

Ombuds Services

Two women chatting around a table

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is a key characteristic of the Ombuds Office.  The office does not divulge a client's name or the nature of the issue being discussed without the client's consent.  With the client's permission, individuals whose help is necessary to resolve a specific problem may be contacted.  The office acts only with your permission except in the unusual situations of imminent risks of serious harm where it appears to be no responsible options except to act without permission.

 

The Role of the Ombuds

The role of the Ombuds is to help staff, students and their families in identifying and evaluating their options for resolving and managing conflicts, provide mediation support, and make referrals to other appropriate departments, offices and/or community resources.

The Ombuds:

  • Provides a completely confidential and neutral resolution service independent of the Human Resources department for all members of the WISD community.
  • May advise an individual on how to make an official complaint to the WISD Superintendent or Board of Education about a problem.
  • Can identify problem and conflict areas within the school district and recommend improvements to the district leadership.

 

What the Ombuds CAN do for you

  1. Listen and discuss questions, concerns, and complaints of clients about the functioning of the school district.
  2. Help staff develop problem solving skills and promote critical thinking so that staff is better able to act on their own behalf in resolving conflict.
  3. Assist clients in evaluating and assessing a variety of options to address their own concerns.
  4. Answer questions, help clients formulate appropriate questions and find others who can provide the correct answer.
  5. Identify problems and conflict area within the school district and recommend improvements.
  6. Make referrals for mediation, counseling, and dispute resolution services, and assist in creating a helping network for clients.
  7. Provide a safe and confidential setting where clients feel respected and where they can be candid and forthright.

 

What the Ombuds CANNOT do for you

  1. Take part in any formal grievance process, hearing, or judicial process.
  2. Make administrative or academic decisions for any other part of the school district.
  3. Assign sanctions.
  4. Give legal advice.

 

Types of Ombuds Issues

Career Management
Promotion, performance management, end of appointment, layoff, reorganization, hostile environment, overwork, compensation, benefits. 

Work Relationships
Conflict with a colleague or supervisor, difficult staff, inappropriate or disrespectful behavior, abuse of power, bullying.

Policies and Requirements
Employment guidelines, disciplinary process and decisions, grievance and complaint procedures, academic policy or procedure concerns.

Illness and Disability
Disability services, accommodation requests, disability plans, leave options, internal and outside resources.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome and inappropriate behavior, inappropriate relationships.

Other Concerns
Safety, unethical behavior, compliance.