Last July, the first comprehensive summer school for ombudspersons was held, following the example set by countries such as Canada and England, where a special training course for and about ombuds work already exists.
The aim of this in-depth summer school was to highlight all the different aspects of the work an ombudsperson carries out. Attention was paid to different sectors (e.g. education, health care, government, and labour) and to different tools (advice, mediation, research, and own-initiative research) that are at the disposal of an ombudsperson. The methods used were a mix of knowledge transfer, skills training, and an introduction and deepening of the role, values, and effectiveness of the ombudsperson. All in all it was a symbiosis of knowledge, competence and attitude.
Presenters at this summer school for Ombudspesons included – among others – former National Ombudsman in the Netherlands Alex Brenninkmeijer, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies Marc Hertogh, Gerrard Boot, justice at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal or Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK.
The summer school was brought to a close by the present National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen. He drew attention to the importance of making contact with citizens and reducing the distance between citizen and government. “Give a voice particularly to those people who aren't always heard. The signals of the ombudspersons in the direction of government institutions are important learning moments.”
To read the full article about the 2018 summer school for the Ombudsperson please see the PDF file further down below.
Source: Dr. Paul Herfs, Ombudsman for Staff and Faculty, Utrecht University