Today the ombudsman works as a representative institution which investigate complains made by individuals towards government or industry actions. The ombudsman adresses these complains and try to resolve them by using medation or recommendations as the most common approach. And while this instance might seem a very modern thing, both the function of the ombudsman as well as the word itself has a long history.
While the modern ombudsman of today was first introduced by the Swedish Government in 1809, when the Parliamentary Ombudsman was established, it´s precursor is far older and similar systems dates back to the 7th century and the second caliph, Umar (634–644).
The word itfself has its roots in Old Norse umboðsmaðr, loosely translated to ”representative”. Scandinavian languages still uses the word ombud about someone, official or private indivudual, who has legal permission to act for or represent someone else. In Iceland the term umboðsmaður is used, a term very similar to its Old Norse origin. Both it’s representive function as well as the actual word Ombudsman has then later been adobted by other languages such as English, Dutch and German. In Spain Defensor del Pueblo is used, which would literally translate to ”Defender of the People/Village”.
The role of the ombudsman and the word itself we can see has been around for a long time. It seems as societies always have been looking for a way to make sure individuals could not be too easily run over by authorative figures or more powerful institutions. So it should not be a surprise that the United Kingdom now introduces the New Homes Ombudsman as a way to protect residents and help them have their voices heard.
Do you want to learn more about how the systematic changes in the UK might affact you? We are here to answer all you questions.