This document was adopted by the Board on 14th July 2022.
The role of Ombudsman is carried out by either one or up to an equal team of two. One Ombudsman will take the lead in each complaint process.
This role is an annual appointment by the Board. At the end of their term of office, role holders are eligible to be appointed again immediately. If necessary, the Board can ask for recommendations for the role or approach individual candidates directly. The Board will inform Freegle Central of the result of annual appointments.
An Ombudsman can cease to hold office before the end of their term, as described in the Named Role Holder Ending Term of Office Procedure.
The purpose of this role is to act as final arbiter in the Complaints Procedure. This can be with the help of the Advisory Panel in exceptional circumstances.
- Respond to and resolve all complaints referred to the Ombudsman email address, in compliance with the Complaints Procedure.
- Ensure that the Advisory Panel procedures are implemented if needed, including organising and maintaining a pool of potential panellists who will be available should a Panel need to be convened, who will work within the remit for the Panel.
- Communicate appropriately with the Board, Members and Central.
- Produce an annual anonymised report for the AGM of complaints received and their resolution.
- Maintain confidentiality of all parts of the complaint process.
Ombudsmen will use the Ombudsman mailbox as the prime place of communication between themselves, referrals and complainants.
They should ensure that they keep up to date with messages posted on Central and ensure the Ombudsman mailbox is checked regularly so they are aware of current topics, concerns and communications.
If an Ombudsman is aware that they will be away from the Internet for a period of 4 days or more, they should take all reasonable steps to advise the other Ombudsman and info@ mailbox and whether they are available for urgent communications by other means (e.g. telephone).
Prolonged absence without prior notification will be dealt with under section 3 of the Named Role Ending Term of Office Procedures document. Any communication with members or volunteers, whether on Central or Working Groups or via email, should be clear if this is in the name of the Ombudsman.