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Terms of Reference

Role of the Independent Staff Ombudsman (ISO)

The Independent Staff Ombudsman is a designated neutral person who provides confidential and informal assistance in resolving University-related concerns, complaints or conflicts.

Current Independent Staff Ombudsman

  • Tom Cotter
  • Mary McNulty
  • Ger Fitzgerald


All inquiries to the ISO will remain confidential except in cases of serious threat to life or property. The ISO does not report the names of those who use the service to anyone without their permission.

  • the ISO will work in confidence to resolve problems.
  • the ISO will not disclose any information provided in confidence, except where there is a serious threat to life or property.
  • the ISO will protect the identity of individuals and their concerns. The ISO will not disclose having met or talked with a party or parties, without permission of the party or parties.
  • the ISO will take specific action related to an individual's concerns only with the individual's express permission and only to the extent permitted.
  • if the ISO pursues an issue systemically, the ISO will do so without revealing the identity of the complainant or the situation that could be associated with a particular individual(s).
  • the ISO will not violate institutional standards of privacy or confidentiality in the pursuit or provision of information.
  • the ISO carefully prepares data and/or reports on an anonymous basis to preserve confidentiality.

Appointment of the Independent Staff Ombudsman

The post of Independent Staff Ombudsman is a part-time one, tenable for a period of two years and renewable once only. Subject to prior notice to the unions, and in order to facilitate an annual rotation of at least one Independent Staff Ombudsman from 1st January, 2021 onwards, any Independent Staff Ombudsman appointed prior to 1st January 2021 may, with the approval of the President, be appointed for a three year period.

The holder will ordinarily be a senior member of University staff, or recently retired member of staff, who is familiar with the workings of the University and who will report directly to the President. The holder of the post shall be jointly agreed between management and unions.

The Independent Staff Ombudsman does not have the authority to take disciplinary action, overturn decisions or over-ride regulations.

The Independent Staff Ombudsman has a specific role under the University’s Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity Policy

Staff Ombudsman

Ombudsman Foirne Neamhspleách

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