Procedural fairness

If it isn't an ombudsman, don't call it one

These are things that the public is entitled to expect from any office called an Ombudsman.

Language matters. An Ombudsman is not an advocate. An Ombudsman is not a regulator. If it's not an Ombudsman, don't call it one.

Six essential criteria

The importance of correct use of the name Ombudsman was strongly promoted in 2008 by then Commonwealth Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, in his paper: What's in a name? Use of the term 'Ombudsman'.
ANZOA's policy statement on what is required of an office that is called an Ombudsman sets out six essential criteria that members of the public are entitled to expect of any office described as an Ombudsman (independence, jurisdiction, powers, accessibility, procedural fairness and accountability).
Since 2010, ANZOA has campaigned widely for correct use of the name. This ongoing campaign has included letters to the heads of all Australian State and Commonwealth departments and all Members of Parliament and submissions on a number of 'ombudsman' proposals.

Public submissions made by ANZOA to consultations on proposals for ombudsman offices and external dispute resolution

Review of the Small Business and Family Enterprise 'ombudsman': An advocate, not an Ombudsman (April 2021)
Inquiry into the Education and Prevention Functions of Victoria's Integrity Agencies (August 2020)
Franchising Taskforce Issues Paper Consultation (September 2019)
Consumer Safeguards Review (August 2018)
Review of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (April 2017)
Civil Justice in NSW Consultation Paper (February 2017)
Review of financial system external dispute resolution framework (October 2016)
Inquiry into Education, Training and Communications Initiatives of Victorian Oversight Agencies (August 2016)
Australian Consumer Law Review (May 2016)
New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)'s Issues Paper – Review of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 and the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 (July 2015)
Legal & Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee: proposed Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise 'Ombudsman' (July 2015)
Australian Treasury on Exposure draft - Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bill 2015 (April 2015)
Australian Treasury's Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Discussion Paper (May 2014)
Productivity Commission (AU): Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements-Draft Report (May 2014)
Minister for Social Services (AU): Support for ongoing funding of financial counselling services (April 2014)
Productivity Commission (AU): Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements (Nov 2013)
Standards Australia: Draft AU/NZ Standard - Guidelines for complaint handling in organizations (Oct 2013)
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner: Guidelines for recognising external dispute resolution schemes under s35 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Aug 2013)
Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council: Review of Benchmarks for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution Schemes (May 2013)
Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee's Proposal for a grains 'ombudsman' (May 2012)
Economics References Committee inquiry: The impacts of supermarket price decisions on the dairy industry (August 2011)
Options paper: Resolution of Small Business (business-to-business) disputes (July 2011)
NSW Ombudsman issues paper on use of name Ombudsman by local councils (October 2010)
National Legal Profession Reform Taskforce (June 2010)
Australian Parliament Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety (June 2010)
Proposals for 'ombudsman' offices in the airline industry (Feb 2010)
Fair Work 'ombudsman' (March 2009)