In many countries around the world there is an ombudsman who deals with complaints from the public regarding decisions, actions or omissions of public administration. Although the specific role may vary the holder of this office is usually elected by parliament or appointed by the head of state or government by or after consultation with parliament. The role of the ombudsman is to protect the people against violation of rights, abuse of powers, error, negligence, unfair decisions and maladministration and to improve public administration while making the government’s actions more open and its administration more accountable to the public.
The International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), established in 1978, is the only global organisation for the cooperation of more than 150 Ombudsman institutions. In addition to its periodic conferences the IOI fosters regional and international information exchange. The International Ombudsman Institute is organised in regional chapters in Africa, Asia, Australasia & Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, and North America. The organisation has three working languages, English, French and Spanish.