How the Ombudsman Can Help

What can the Ombudsman do?

The people who visit the Ombudsman’s office may do so for many reasons. They may be looking for a particular result or want to discuss the situation before deciding on a course of action. The Ombudsman’s office seeks to empower those who contact the office to resolve issues on their own if possible. Depending on the situation, the Ombudsman’s office may utilize different methods/techniques to help the visitor2.

Common methods and techniques used:

  • Listening and helping the visitor to identify the underlying causes;
  • Act as a neutral sounding board;
  • Providing information and exploring options available to visitors;
  • Facilitating discussions between parties to resolve issues, as requested and as appropriate;
  • Collecting data on emerging trends and patterns while safeguarding anonymity;
  • Utilize data to bring systemic and organizational concerns to the attention of the School Board and the Division Superintendent.

Actions the Ombudsman cannot take:

  • Be an advocate for the visitor or PWCS;
  • Conduct formal investigations;
  • Enforce laws or regulations;
  • Provide legal advice or representation;
  • Serve as official notice to the organization;
  • Make or change policy or administrative decisions.

2 The term “visitor” is generally accepted to describe those who engage the services of the Ombudsman.