Statement of Ethical Principles
(Approved by the Membership at the Annual General Meeting, June 2014 )
The purpose of this document is to confirm the key principles and values to which Ombuds/man/person (Ombuds) should adhere and to provide ethical guidance to FCO members who occupy an Ombuds role or work in an Ombuds Office.
In the exercise of their role, Ombuds shall promote and abide by the values of justice, fairness, equity, respect, empathy, honesty, rigour and transparency.The Ombuds shall hold him/herself to the highest standards in the areas of independence, impartiality, fairness, confidentiality and credibility.
The Ombuds should be clearly and visibly independent in purpose, administration and decision-making, from the institution / organization/ government administration about which it has the mandate to receive complaints.
An Ombuds should serve only in this one capacity within the institution / organization/ government administration and should not have any decision making role therein. Information regarding the Ombuds’ mandate, sources of funding, method of appointment and reporting rules shall be publicly-available.
The Ombuds reviews all information in an objective manner and without bias. He/she remains impartial and unaligned, in fact and perception and acts only to identify and address fairness concerns.
An Ombuds shall not engage in any activity which could possibly lead to a possible conflict of interest. If any such situation arises, the Ombuds shall immediately declare it and refrain from intervening in any way with regard to the situation or file.
The Ombuds’ conduct is rooted in the principles of fairness and natural justice and he/she shall act accordingly. The Ombuds considers fairness to be a factor of process, interpersonal relations and outcome. He/she pursues resolution of conflict using the approach that is appropriate to the circumstances, taking into account the relevant law and regulations, the general principles of good administration and good practice, professional standards and any relevant Code of conduct that may apply.
The Ombuds shall hold in confidence all private communications, documents and other information received in the course of his/her interventions subject, however, to the needs of the investigation/intervention and the requirements of the law. The extent and limits of his/her confidentiality duty shall be clearly explained.
The Ombuds shall take all reasonable steps to safeguard such confidentiality. He/She shall vigorously resist attempts to compel disclosure of such information, in any judicial or administrative hearing or inquiry.
The Ombuds shall act in good faith. His/Her behaviour and mode of operation shall be such as to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of the Ombuds’ process. The Ombuds shall act so as to be recognized and respected by other members of the Ombuds community including the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and by the constituents who are served. The Ombuds reports on its activities and on how the resolution of disputes is undertaken in whatever forum is appropriate given the circumstances, so as to promote transparency and accountability.