Stanford University
Office of the Ombuds


Ethics and Standards

Code of Ethics    Standards of Practice

International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) is dedicated to excellence in the practice of Ombuds work. The IOA Code of Ethics provides a common set of professional ethical principles to which members adhere in their organizational Ombuds practice.

Based on the traditions and values of Ombuds practice, the Code of Ethics reflects a commitment
to promote ethical conduct in the performance of the Ombuds role and to maintain the integrity of
the Ombuds profession.

The Ombuds shall be truthful and act with integrity, shall foster respect for all members of the
organizations they serve, and shall promote procedural fairness in the content and administration
of those organizations’ practices, processes, and policies.

Ethical Principles

  • Independence
    The Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.

  • Neutrality and Impartiality
    The Ombuds, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.

  • Confidentiality
    The Ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

  • Informality
    The Ombuds, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

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