The OCP Group Ombudsman Office adopts and applies the standards of the International Ombudsman Association (IAO). Its intervention and all activities it carries as part of its mission are in compliance with standards of practice and ethics as defined and accepted within the Ombudsman’s profession:
The Ombudsman and its office are independent of the any other administrative entity of the organization. In the organization, the Ombudsman assumes no other function likely to compromise his independence. The Ombudsman exercises his power on discretionary basis when deciding if he or she must act and how to do so with regard to the claims or concerns of one given party or several ones. The Ombudsman can also take action upon his own initiative in a situation entailing direct observation. The Ombudsman has full access to all information, all departments and all individuals in the organization, within the limits authorized by the law. The Ombudsman is authorized to select independently the support staff of the Ombudsman Office and to manage relevant budget and operations.
Neutrality & Impartiality
The Ombudsman is neutral, impartial and independent. The Ombudsman shall show strict impartiality, fairness and objectivity when interacting with relevant parties and examining their claims and/or concerns; The Ombudsman shall look for fair and equitable treatment for all, and shall never in any way represents the interests of one particular party over the other within the organization. The Ombudsman is a neutral person reporting to the highest level within the organization and acts in full independence with respect to the organizational and hierarchy structures. The Ombudsman shall never be, in any way structurally connected or affiliated to any compliance, legal or administrative supervision function that may exist within the organization. The Ombudsman shall never take on any additional roles in the organization likely to compromise his neutrality. The Ombudsman must not be part of any formal or informal association likely to create actual or perceived conflict of interest with regard to its capacity as an Ombudsman. The Ombudsman must hold no personal interest or potential procured advantage in the outcome of a dispute, nor must he incur a loss or personal prejudice out of the agreed settlement of issues before him. The Ombudsman is responsible for looking into the claims and legitimate interests of all the relevant parties concerned by the matter brought to his attention. The Ombudsman helps to develop a range of appropriate options in response to the issues brought before him, and provides assistance to facilitate discussion and negotiation between the parties in order to identify the best option.
The Ombudsman is obligated to strict confidentiality with regard to all gathered information, communications and exchanges with individuals and parties seeking his assistance, and takes all the reasonable measures to ensure and safeguard such confidentiality including:
The Ombudsman shall not uncover and in no way shall he be forced to reveal the identity of anyone who communicates with his Office. He or she shall not reveal any information shared under the seal of confidentiality that could allow identification of the requesting party unless the express authorization granted by the latter. The Ombudsman may not take any action with regard to any given issue brought before him unless the related individual or party has given its express permission to do so, and only within the limits set thereby, even then at the sole discretion of the Ombudsman and only such action does not compromise the strict confidentiality of the requesting party’s identity. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is a situation where imminent risk of serious harm is determined and no other reasonable option could be considered. The Ombudsman is solely responsible for determining such imminent risk.
The communications between the Ombudsman and third parties (conducted as part of the Ombudsman’s functions) are deemed to be made in privilege only to the Ombudsman and to his office, and not to any of the concerned parties by the issue or claim at hands. Such privilege cannot be waived by any other third party.
The Ombudsman shall not be seized to testify in formal procedure inside the organization with regard to its exchanges with individuals or third parties in his capacity of an Ombudsman and/or any related confidential communication, and must resist testifying in any formal procedure outside the organization if asked or required to do so. Nevertheless, the Ombudsman can disclose general information on non-confidential aspects of its activities (such as the profession practices and operating policies, systemic trends and general feedback on processed issues,…), but only in such a way as to protect the identity of individuals and requesting parties.
The Ombudsman shall not keep any files and/or records that could allow the organization to identify any individual or third party approaching the Ombudsman Office. The Ombudsman shall guard all relevant information (such notes, phone records, meetings’ schedules, minutes…) in a secure location out of the sight of other members of the organization, in particular the executive management. He or she shall implement a strict documents’ management and destruction policy.
All reports and/or data sheets prepared by the Ombudsman shall be in such a manner it does not compromise any aspect of its confidentiality obligations as described above. Communications to the Ombudsman are not to be considered as a formal notice to the organization. The Ombudsman shall not act as a representative of the organization and cannot, in any way, accept formal notification on behalf of the organization, and shall not serve in any position or role created within the organization for receiving formal notifications. However, the Ombudsman can provide guidance or refer requesting parties to the appropriate services authorized to receive such formal notifications.
The Ombudsman and its Office shall operate on an informal approach based on engaging informally with third parties by listening, gathering and processing information, identifying reasonable solutions, and building consensus around fair solutions to all concerned parties.