More than 10 years after the first adoption of the Declaration of Best Practices for University of California Ombuds Offices, UC Ombuds recently joined together to renew their commitment to a common set of standards and best practices in the ombuds profession. Revised and endorsed in April 2017, this Declaration is the result of collaboration and input from representatives of all the current UC Ombuds Offices, including UC Berkeley; UC Davis; UC Irvine; UC Los Angeles; UC Merced; UC Riverside; UC San Diego; UC San Francisco; and UC Santa Barbara.
All UC Ombuds Offices abide by the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The UC Declaration of Best Practices further defines and clarifies these standards, including confidentiality, informality, independence, and neutrality. The intent of the Declaration is:
(1) to articulate the common set of professional practices, principles and standards shared by all the UC Ombuds;
(2) to educate the University community about the role of the Ombuds Office;
(3) to proactively encourage all Ombuds Offices to operate in a manner consistent with professional standards, codes
of ethics, and best practices; and
(4) to encourage the campus community to use the term “Ombuds” to refer only to those offices within the UC System
which subscribe to the longstanding professional tenets. . . .
Most notably, the Declaration of Best Practices reaffirms UC Ombuds commitment to confidentiality. Not only will Ombuds Offices object to disclosing confidential information, but by using Ombuds Offices, visitors agree that communications with the Ombuds are confidential and that they will not be called as witnesses in legal or formal proceedings. With this standard of confidentiality, Ombuds Offices provide a safe place where individuals can speak freely about their concerns.
Since the original version of this document was approved in November 2006, two new ombuds offices have opened, including UC San Francisco in 2011 and UC Merced in 2012. UC Santa Cruz closed its office in 2012. In addition, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are no longer managed under the UC system.
For more information, about the UC Declaration of Best Practices click here or contact the Staff Ombuds Office at (510) 642-7823.