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How We Can Help

When should a staff member contact the ISO?

When a staff member has a conflict with another party and needs help in facilitating resolution recourse in the first instance should be to the direct supervisor of that personor the local HR representative In the event that this is not possible or is not successful, the staff member may refer the matter to the ISO for further assistance;

  • to discuss a sensitive issue in confidence;
  • when a staff member is unsure which policies, procedures, or regulations apply;
  • when a staff member feels a policy, procedure, or regulation has been unfairly applied to him/her;
  • when a staff member has a complaint about an office or service of the University;
  • when a staff member doesn’t know who to talk to, where to turn or what options are available.

In what ways can the Independent Staff Ombudsman help?

It is anticipated that, in general, staff members will have raised issues with their line manager or local HR representative in advance of bringing them to the Staff Ombudsman. The model of local provision of HR resources must be nurtured and cherished and the ISO must reflect the University’s determination to have local resolution by ensuring that this local channel has been utilized effectively for any staff related issue in the first instance.

In relation to staff issues brought to the attention of the ISO the ISO may offer assistance with the informal resolution of such issues which may include the provision of mediation services – internal or external.

  • The ISO provides a safe and confidential environment to discuss concerns or complaints outside formal channels.
  • The ISO is available to all members of the University staff. A Student Advisor and Ombudsman is available to students.
  • The ISO is independent of the University's formal administrative structure and all other departments on campus. This independence ensures that University-related concerns can be discussed in an impartial and strictly confidential environment.
  • The ISO cannot impose solutions, but can identify options and strategies for resolution.
  • The ISO may:
    • listen to, and help to analyze the problem or complaint;
    • identify and explain relevant University policies and procedures;
    • help to define and evaluate options;
    • assist with the resolution of staff conflict issues as informally and locally aspossible;
    • help to resolve the problem informally and expeditiously;
    • initiate discussions with other involved parties (with permission);
    • make referrals to other campus and University resources;
    • recommend changes in University policies or procedures that may be outdated, ineffectual or arbitrary and;
    • offer, source/provide mediation services if agreed with both parties to a dispute.

What a Independent Staff Ombudsman does not do

  • The ISO does not replace or duplicate the primacy of management. All staff related issues are first and foremost the responsibility of the line supervisor supported by the local HR representative.
  • The ISO does not replace or duplicate the service of the Human Resources function. Staff must utlilise, where possible, the services and support provided by the local HR representative.
  • The ISO does not act as an advocate in a dispute. The ISO is neutral and impartial.
  • The ISO does not represent individuals in appeals either on campus or off campus.
  • The ISO does not provide legal representation or give legal advice.
  • The ISO does not get involved in non-University related problems or complaints.
  • The ISO does not overturn binding decisions, but can examine procedural fairness.

The ISO’s Office is not an office of record. Speaking with the ISO is not "notice to the University" of problems or policy violations. Often persons will seek advice from the ISO privately, before deciding what actions to take in response to a problem. If the staff member wants the University to "be on notice," that is, formally to know about a particular problem and formally respond, the ISO can help to identify what office should be contacted.

The ISO does not keep formal written records but can help a staff member to determine how to keep his/her own records, if the staff member so wishes.

Staff Ombudsman

Ombudsman Foirne Neamhspleách

Ground floor, 6 Bloomfield Terrace, Western Road, Room 2, UCC.