An ombudsman focuses on the execution of policy and at its core this means correcting mistakes in service provision. An ombudsman does not ‘do’ politics – especially not partisan politics – but from his experience with the execution of policy, he can give feedback to the policymakers. In this capacity, I see Ombudsman Metropool Amsterdam playing three distinctive roles.
1. The Cleanup crew
Everyone makes mistakes – including the government – and without drawing too much attention to it, we help the governmental organizations correct those mistakes. As long as this is an incident, this is not only done quickly, but also patiently and with understanding.
2. The teaching and reflective improver
When the execution of policy repeatedly fails to deliver proper solutions to citizens, this stops being an incidental mistake and becomes a structural one. To resolve this kind of mistake, we work as a process consultant, designing a learning process that the organization in question may utilize to develop its own improvements.
3. The transformer
With the arrival of the information society, the role and position of government changes. Based on the complaints we receive and our ability to conduct research on our own initiative, we actively contribute to this transformation. Every structural mistake we help solve as a reflector, can be seen as a building block in the larger change process.
Ultimately, by working together with all parties involved, we aim to resolve improper conduct and insufficient service by the government when necessary and prevent it wherever possible. This is how we contribute to a continuously improving government we can all believe in.