Definition of ombudsman
1 : a person who investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints : an individual usually affiliated with an organization or business who serves as an advocate for patients, consumers, employees, etc. The insurance company's ombudsman was able to resolve the problem. Become a certified volunteer ombudsman, a trained advocate for residents of nursing and rest homes. — classified advertisement in The Montague (Massachusetts) Reporter At their best, some HMOs offer special programs for Medicare members, screening them for illnesses after they join, directing them to preventive services, keeping track of the drugs they take, and making ombudsmen available to coordinate care and answer questions. — Consumer Reports About 30 newspapers now also have ombudsmen—men and women who write regular columns criticizing (and responding to reader's complaints about) their own newspapers.— David Shaw After insisting for years that citizen oversight of the Sacramento County sheriff was unnecessary and undoable, the department's top brass has shifted to calling it inevitable. But what form the new watchdog might take—a commission, an ombudsman, a squad of civil rights lawyers—is hard to predict.— Dorothy Korber and Christina Jewett Bee
2 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials Since 1962 the public has been able to have grievances about the conduct of government organisations investigated by a small department of ombudsmen headed by a Parliamentary Commissioner. This is a Scandinavian innovation which has been adapted to New Zealand's needs. — About New Zealand President Marcos has managed to evade, for the moment, the problem of what to do about the … findings on the murder of the opposition leader Benigno Aquino. To the disgust of the opposition and much of the press, he has turned the entire matter over to the Philippines' ombudsman. — The Economist
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