Radboud University aims to offer a safe (working) environment to students, members of staff and visitors. An ombudsofficer contributes to social safety and an organisation’s capacity for learning; for this reason the university has had its own ombudsofficer since 1 January 2022: Nancy Viellevoye.
Question, report or complaint
Any employee may approach the ombudsofficer regarding a question, report or complaint, of whatever nature, about the behaviour of another employee or part of the organisation. This contact is confidential and may also occur anonymously. The ombudsofficer will in the first instance strive for an informal solution to the problem with the aim of avoiding a formal (complaints) procedure, by means of consultation, providing information, onward referral where necessary or mediation.
Dealing with a complaint by the ombudsofficer will lead to an investigation, a report and a decision in accordance with the Ombudsofficer Regulations. The ombudsofficer cannot make binding rulings.
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- can make recommendations, refer, mediate, investigate and take decisions;
- a meeting is confidential and may be conducted anonymously.
- if a consultation does not provide a solution, then mediation by the ombudsperson between the parties involved is an option.
- is independent, impartial and has the authority to conduct investigations;
- the ombudsperson has a role in identifying problems and may conduct an investigation on their own initiative into possible structural problems in (staff) policy and/or its implementation, whether or not in response to reports.
- is not authorised to act in a matter that is before the courts or on which a court ruling has been handed down.
- Is not authorised to investigate a complaint where a formal complaints procedure has been otherwise arranged.
Difference between the ombudsofficer and confidential advisers
The most important difference: a confidential adviser focuses on the individual reporter, whereas the ombud role by contrast takes a broader view and makes recommendations on underlying improvements that go beyond the individual report. The ombudsofficer is impartial and can therefore play a mediating role between a reporter and the organisation. By contrast, a confidential advisor takes the part of the person making the report and in tackling the problems.
It does not matter where you make your first report: the confidential advisor and the ombudsofficer will in consultation refer to or call in each other where necessary. These roles are complementary.