A conversation with the ombudsman is confidential: there is a duty of confidentiality. The ombudsman will discuss with you the ways in which the problem might be solved. This could be achieved by:
- making inquiries
- offering advice
- dealing with the matter officially and issuing official advice
The ombudsman provides information about relevant regulations, procedures and what your rights, obligations and options are. The ombudsman also assists in problem analysis. If the problem can be resolved by another body, then the ombudsman will refer you to the body in question, for example the confidential counsellors.
The ombudsman will, with your permission, contact the individual or body in question. Only those who are directly involved are informed about the nature of the problem or complaint. Everyday experience in other universities has shown that most complaints/problems can be resolved through mediation.
In the event that mediation is no longer possible or has not yielded results, a formal investigation can be initiated. You can request this from the ombudsman. In that case, the complaint will always be put in writing.
The ombudsman has a number of powers during the investigation. For example, it can request information from third parties, engage experts and examine the situation on the spot.
In all cases, the ombudsman hears the parties involved. Facts and circumstances are then stated as accurately as possible. After hearing both sides of the argument, areas of common ground are identified. The ombudsman then issues a public verdict.
The complaint is declared either valid, partially valid, or invalid. This verdict may be accompanied by a recommendation to those involved, to the Faculty Board, or the Executive Board. Verdicts are incorporated into the annual report, however, the identities of those involved are not revealed.