Session 5 D

Supervision for Ombuds: Growing the Profession Through Supportive, Ethical, Reflective Practice

Time: Wednesday 10:30 AM – 11:40 AM

Presenter(s): Fred Wright, Workplace Conciliator, Government of Victoria, Australia; David Miller, Professor Ombuds Emeritus, formerly with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – Learn more about these presenters by visiting the presenter page.

Level: Established 


This presentation will explore the proposition that a formal model of supervision and support for Organisational Ombudsmen (OOs) should be implemented. It will examine data from a small research project that asked experienced ombuds (and those recently retired) about how ombuds practitioners met their needs for support and guidance in the early days of the profession. Participants will explore in small groups how colleagues currently meet their needs for support and practice reflection, including barriers to meeting these needs and the personal and professional risks associated with unsupported practice.The presentation will review supervision models in established professions, such as psychology and social work, to assist in the identification of key characteristics of an ombudsmen supervision program. The presenters will submit that a mandated supervision requirement is an important and defining characteristic of a mature profession, providing not only psychological support but building ethical, reflective practice. It will be argued that supervision benefits not only OO practitioners and the organisations in which they work but, because it promotes consistency of practice, supervision also contributes to the standing of the profession.

Learning Objectives

  1. Consider the complex challenges in our contemporary environment to consistent, ethical, reflective ombuds practice.
  2. Reflect upon both the personal and professional needs critical to operating effectively in this environment.
  3. Understand how other professions support consistent professional practice through supervision.
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