News Archive

Here you can find all news from before 29th of May 2020:

18. May 2020

Proceedings of 15th Annual Conference of 2019

In June 2019, the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education and the University of León, Spain, held a joint conference in León, Spain.  The proceedings from the conference, “Defending and Protecting Rights within Higher Education: Stocktaking, Looking Ahead“ are now available in pdf below. The contents include:

  • Ombudswork unlimited? How to be influencers in Higher Education  – Anna-Katharina Rothwangl  and Michael Gruber
  • Like  walking on eggshells – Maximizing the student ombud’s impact on The University of Copenhagen –  Bo Gad Køhlert
  • Network of Experts on Student Support in Europe – NESSIE: The Benefits of Interaction within the  European Higher Education – Hermann Holubetz
  • Improving the University’s Capacity for Conflict: The Overlooked Field of Action of the Ombuds – Wolf Hertlein
  • Structure of staff in the Spanish public universities: Professional career (access, promotion and mobility) – M. Sánchez-Pinilla, P. Mayor-Gutiérrez, E. Olías-Ruiz
  • The development of a basic course for Ombuds in the Netherlands – Paul Herfs, Stephen Querido
  • Confronting Privilege to Achieve Equitable Fairness: An Intersectionality Approach to  Ombudsing – Natalie Sharpe
  • Is small (really always) beautiful? On different ways of complaint handling in large and not quite so large institutions – Wolfram Aigner, Anna Cybulko, Josef Leidenfrost, Felicity Mitchell
  • From the past to the future, through the present, with an Ombuds Spanish perspective – Emilio Olías Ruiz
  • Tips and Traps for New Ombuds – The Sherriff or The Lone Ranger? – Franco Parrella
  • The Recent and Rapid Development of the Ombuds for Students in Norway – A Glance at the Past and some  Reflections on what Lies Ahead – Marianne Høva Rustberggard
  • Grievances Concerning Pure Academic Matters Part 2 – Daniel More
  • Engagement with service users – Rob Behrens
  • We want more complaints! – Jean Grier
  • The Innsbruck Descriptors 2015: A Reality Check 2019 with Insights from Spain and Canada  – Marta Alonso de la Varga, Nora Farrell, Paulino César Pardo Prieto, Natalie Sharpe
  • The principles of good complaints handling and sharing good/best practice -Felicity Mitchel / Rosemary Agnew Siobhan Hohls
  • Acción proactiva ombudsman de los estudiantes – Pedro de Matos Gonçalves
  • When Ombuds offices close – Jenna Brown 
  • Students on the university front line: Why aren’t your institutions using graduate student staff to  support early resolution efforts? – Heather McGhee Peggs, Natalie Sharpe
  • Establishment of Ombuds Offices – an added value to student-oriented educational environment in Georgia – Tamta Demetradze
  • From the past to the future, through the present, with an Ombuds Spanish perspective – Marta Elena Alonso de la Varga
  • The Spanisch Model of University Ombudsman – Paulino C. Pardo Prieto

Download ENOHE Report 2019

25. February 2020

Invitation to Members: Study Group on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

21. January 2020

Call for Papers:
ENOHE-ACCUO/AOUCC Joint Conference 26-29 May 2020, Athens, Greece

Students’ Rights and Ombuds’ Values: Ensuring Democracy in Higher Education

The Conference Planning Committee of the ENOHE-ACCUO/AOUCC Joint conference in 2020 is now calling for presentations (including papers, workshops and roundtables).

In the documents below you will find more information, including a list of topics and areas of interest for the conference as well as program format requirements. Please note that the document is available in both English and French.

The deadline for proposals is 29th February 2020.

Email proposals to

Call for Papers 

Appel de propositions 

12. December 2019

Save the Date : May 26-29, 2020

We would like to invite you to save the date for the 2020 joint annual ACCUO / ENOHE conference where you will have an opportunity to learn, share, network, and develop skills and knowledge about the practice of ombudsing. It will also be a great chance to meet old colleagues and new friends.

The title for this year’s conference is:

“Students’ Rights and Ombuds’ Values: Ensuring Democracy in Higher Education”

We will soon solicit presentation proposals for the 2020 program. We encourage you to start thinking about sessions that you might like to present or co-present. To gain a sense of the depth and relevance of programming, you can still explore last year’s conference program:
If you are interested in learning more about ENOHE and / or ACCUO, exploring opportunities to contribute to the 2020 conference (as a presenter or volunteer), or if you need additional information to support you in your decision to attend the conference, please feel free to contact us.
On behalf of the 2020 conference planning committee:
Panagiotis Kavouras & Costas Charitidis, NTUA, conference hosts

Josef Leidenfrost, ENOHE President
Jean Grier, ENOHE Vice-President

Natalie Sharpe, ACCUO President

9 September 2019

ENOHE Goes Quadrilingual

León Declaration on future collaboration among ombuds networks

At the end of this year’s ENOHE annual conference in León, Spain representatives from four different ombuds networks agreed on a declaration about intensifying the cooperation between these networks.

These organizations agreed  upon identifying areas of common interests to all networks, the setting up of a public electronic forum on these topics, encouraging each other to participate in respective network activities and supporting each other in developing and safeguarding the networks:

  • CEDU, the Conferencia Estatal de Defensores, Spain
  • REDEPEES, the Rede National de Provesdores do Estudante do Ensino Superior, Portugal
  • RiIDDU, the Red Ibeoramericana de Defensorias Universitarias, Latin America
  • ACCUO, The Association of Canadian Collega and University Ombudspersons / Association des Ombudsmans des Universités et Collèges

The document is the first official document of ENOHE ever issued identically in four languages, namely in English, in Spanish, in Portuguese and in French. 

ENOHE Leon Declaration

A first joint activity in the spirit of the declaration will be next year’s ENOHE annual conference in Athens (27-29 May 2020) co-organized with ACCUO/AOUCC.


12 August 2019

European Higher Education Ombudsmen met to exchange experiences.

XV. ENOHE Annual Conference in León, Spain

Ombudsmen from Europe and overseas have met for a multi-day conference at the University of León in Spain from 25 to 28 June 2019. At the meeting during sessions and workshops the participants discussed actual challenges in higher education. The Network “European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education”, shortly named “ENOHE”, has recently been constituted as an association under Austrian law. In the first elections to the association’s office bearers, the Austrian University Ombudsman Josef Leidenfrost has been elected as the first president of the network, and the first vice-president is Jean Grier, Investigations Manager from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Every year, ENOHE-representatives of decentralized ombudsman institutions and central institutions such as the Austrian Ombudsman Office for Students at the Austrian Higher Education Ministry or the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in England and Wales, gather at conferences to exchange their experiences on current challenges and corresponding measures. This time the annual conference took place in León at the invitation of the University of León. There, the first university ombudsman in Spain had been officially set up 30 years ago – a good reason to meet there.

Represented countries were Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, USA and UK.

The general conference title was “Defending and Protecting Rights in Higher Education: Stocktaking, Looking Ahead.” More than 60 ombudspersons from across and outside Europe participated in workshops, lectures and small-group work. The conference started on 25 June with a “Training Day”, in which the participants worked through a fictional (but believable) case study designed to hone their investigative skills. 

Rector Juan Francisco Garcia Marin welcomed all participants to his university and stressed the need for university ombudspersons in a modern university world with its manifold new didactic and technological innovations. Topics that were discussed included the challenges and opportunities of digitization, the various facets of complaint management, ombudspersons’ own specific fields of work, “real cases” and their possible solutions, as well as future perspectives in the further development of university ombuds work.

The conference was perfectly prepared and organized by the former ombudswoman of the University of León, Marta Elena Alonso de la Varga and the current ombudsman of said university Paulino Cesar Pardo Prieto.

During the conference, the “León Declaration” was adopted, in which the Spanish university ombudsman network CEDU, the Portuguese network REDEPEES, the Latin American network RIDDU, the Canadian network ACCUO as well as ENOHE agreed to intensify their cooperation.

The program also included cultural events and a gala dinner for the participants and partners. Highlights also were the visits to the Mayor of León and the Governor of the Province of León.

Next year’s ENOHE-conference will take place from 27 to 29 May 2020 at the Technical University of Athens in Athens, Greece.

A conference documentation will be published in due time and made available via the ENOHE webpage.


2 July 2019

Josef Leidenfrost the First Officially Elected President of ENOHE

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education (ENOHE) held its first official General Assembly, June 27 in León, Spain, after being approved by the Austrian authorities as a formal association. As part of the General Assembly, the first official elections for the governance bodies of the association were held.

Josef Leidenfrost, the Austrian Ombudsman for Students,

was elected President for ENOHE for the term July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2023. His statement upon being elected:

“I am deeply honored to have been elected as the first official President of ENOHE. I will be happy to assist higher education institutions and their ombuds offices to develop their skills in resolving issues which arise in the course of daily life and advice those who want to set up such institutions.”

ENOHE has existed as an informal network with annual conferences ever since 2003, sometimes joint with other ombuds associations and networks. The newly elected President also states:

“ENOHE will continue to liaise with other networks in those endeavors. My motto is: There is always room for improvement.”

Jean Grier from the University of Edinburgh was elected Vice-President, Anna Cybulko from University of Warsaw was elected Treasurer and Bo Gad Køhlert from University of Copenhagen will take up the position as Secretary of ENOHE.

Nine board members were also elected: Jenna Brown (USA), Marianne Rustberggard (Norway), Felicity Mitchell (England and Wales), Doris Kiendl (Austria), Paul Herfs (Netherlands), Martine Conway (Canada), Wolf Hertlein (Germany), Emilio Olías Ruiz (Spain), and Hugues Dreysse (France).

The conference in León (Spain) was the 15th conference, perfectly hosted by Marta Elena Alonso de la Varga, the former ombudswoman, and Paulino Cesar Pardo Prieto, the current ombudsman of the University of León.

Next year´s conference will be held in Athens (Greece) in May 2020.


14 June 2019

The Executive Summary Report 2017-2018 prepared by the Ombuds Office of the University Carlos III of Madrid is now available for the ENOHE members to read.


13 June 2019

The Network of Universities from the Capitals in Europe, UNICA, have created an electronic handbook in the framework of the Academic Refuge Project. The e-handbook is now available online:

Promoting Core Higher Education Values – Perspectives from the Field

ENOHE members Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and Marianne Rustberggard, Ombud for Students at the University of Oslo, have contributed to this Erasmus+ funded project with two texts that we invite our members and others to read.


14 May 2019

Norwegian conference for ombuds in higher education.

The Norwegian Ombuds for Students gathered in Trondheim at a conference arranged by Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) the 28 and 29 March 2019. 

The conference included topics such as prevention and handling cases concerning sexual harassment, NTNU’s guidelines for notifying harassment, procedual errors on exams and other topics regulated by the Norwegian Act of universities and university colleges (UHL.). We also got a visit from The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education – NOKUT. NOKUT had a interesting lecture on its organization and authority.

Every student ombuds participated in valuable exchange of experience, and contributed in good discussions about student rights topics. 

First row from left: Katrine Klyve (OsloMet), Torill Varberg (UiT), Sindre Rødne Dueland (HVL), Mari Skogheim Møst (UiO), Hanne Seljesæther (Nord univ.)
Second row from left: Martin Gautestad Jakobsen (HIØ & NMBU), Lennart Soligard (NTNU), Sigbjørn Råsberg (NHH), Sylvi Leirvaag (UiB), Marianne H. Rustberggard (UiO)
Third row from left: Maren Anne Kvaløy (UiS), Cecilie Jurgens(USN)


13 May 2019

This new publication is the result of a joint workshop style event during the ENOHE annual Conference in Edinburgh in 2018.

This paper includes information from that conference panel and expands upon the discussion. In this piece, the authors reflect on higher education in four countries, compare doctoral student attrition rates and complaints, and consider whether and how ombuds can play a role in reducing the attrition rates among PhD students.

ENOHE is thanking the authors, Paul Herfs (Utrecht University the Netherlands), Jenna Brown (University of Denver, United States of America), Nora Farrell (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada), Ursula Meiser (University of Stuttgart, Germany) for their energy and extra working hours they dedicated to produce this occasional paper.

Download full text here


15 April 2019

ENOHE Internship in Israel:

Enhancing mutual understanding, learing from each other.

From left to right: Josef Leidenfrost, Michael Gruber, Anna-Katharina Rothwangl, Daniel More
From left to right: Josef Leidenfrost, Michael Gruber, Anna-Katharina Rothwangl, Daniel More

Within the framework of bilateral ENOHE internships among ENOHE partners, an Austrian delegation conducted a three-day visit in late March with the  ombudsman and very active ENOHE member Daniel “Dani” More, the ombudsman of the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. The main objectives were to increase mutual understanding of the respective functions within the organizational frameworks and learn from each other with regard to interventional mechanisms in daily work.

The study visit, expertly prepared by Daniel More, included a series of meetings with administrators and specialists as well as bilateral meetings between the two ombudsmen on daily work. On the Austrian side, in addition to two members of the office of the ombudsman regard to interventional mechanisms in daily work at the ministry, a representative of the legal department of the ministry also participated in the study visit.

The bilateral meetings with university representatives included several heads of faculty administrations, the chairman of the student union at UTA, the university controller, a specialist for students with learning disabilities, the commissioner for the prevention of sexual harassment and the vice rector.

The University of Tel Aviv is currently the largest (public) university in Israel, founded in 1956 with eleven  faculties operational and a student population of about 28,000 encompassing undergraduate as well as masters and Ph.D. students.  Due to compulsory military service for young men (of three years) and for young women (of two years) and a quite common gap year after that, the average age of entering higher education is 23 or 24 years.

The percentage of international students is about 4 % or 1.200 individuals from abroad, mostly from North America, Europe and Asia (principally India and China). Due to this – plus the diversity of Israel´s quite young society of students coming from first to third generation immigrants,  Arab and Ethiopian minorities and  ultra-orthodox Jewish groups – catering for the largest group of the university members, i.e., the students, is challenging.

Such diversity means a very varied and multicultural clientele which requires special considerations.


9 April 2019

Information from the President of ENOHE Ombudsman Josef Leidenfrost

Parlamentskorrespondenz No. 264 from 14.03.2019

Science Committee of the Austrian Parliament discusses suggestions put forward by the Austrian Student Ombudsman

Vienna– The yearly report of the Student Ombudsman that was discussed today by the Science Committee provides insights into students’ issues. The Minister of Science Heinz Faßmann and members of parliament paid tribute to the Ombudsman’s work. The report also contained a series of recommendations to the legislature.  There was a broad consensus, for example, on the reciprocal recognition by Austrian universities of academic achievements. The general tenor was that a practical solution has to be found for the problems that repeatedly arise in this connection.

Before the start of the debate on the annual report for the 2017/18 academic year (III-239 d.B.), the Minister of Science Heinz Faßmann thanked the Ombudsman Josef Leidenfrost and his staff for their commitment to student issues. The Ombudsman’s office not only helps solve specific problems such as those that can arise during the application process, while studying or when dealing with various authorities, it has also formulated a series of suggestions for lawmakers and institutions of higher education again. In the 2017/18 academic year, the Ombudsman dealt with a total of 473 student issues. This is the first time in recent years that the number of issues brought to the Ombudsman’s attention has declined.

Besides extensive information and publication activities, the Ombudsman also delivers opinions on legislation concerning the higher education sector, the Ombudsman Josef Leidenfrost told MPs. The recommendations made by the Ombudsman on the basis of the issues brought to his attention in recent years are currently being evaluated to establish which legal amendments have a realistic chance of implementation.

The SPÖ MP Katharina Kucharowits drew attention to the new tasks given to the Student Ombudsman by the most recent amendment to the Student Hall of Residence Act. In cases where residents are not permitted to elect representatives, the Student Ombudsman has now been assigned the role of mediator. The Ombudsman will however require the necessary resources for this. Minister Faßmann replied that he is currently holding talks with Dr Leidenfrost on this matter. Leidenfrost added that personnel resources are rather tight at present. Moreover, it is not yet possible to gauge how many additional tasks will be assigned to the Ombudsman. Contact has been made with the operators of halls in order to gain an initial overview.

Kucharowits also drew attention to recommendations made by the Ombudsman regarding social grants and also wanted to know whether universities of applied sciences and private universities are complying with his wish for publication of their education contracts. In this connection, Ombudsman Leidenfrost stated that a political decision is required in the matter of financial aid and grants. He said his office has a fundamental interest in developments in this area. Faßmann pointed out that a number of changes have recently been made in the area of financial aid for students. Financial aid has been significantly increased and the circle of recipients broadened. As far as the publication of the education contracts is concerned, he will discuss them with the Austrian Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. The Minister said he will take up the suggestion of a “second chance” for social grants and continue to inform the members of parliament.

The ÖVP MP Nico Marchetti and SPÖ MP Philip Kucher agreed it is high time to resolve problems that repeatedly arise in connection with the reciprocal recognition of academic achievements at Austrian universities. Katharina Kucharowits (SPÖ) concurred with this demand. Stephanie Krisper (NEOS) said the recommendation to introduce a uniform nostrification procedure for medicine and dentistry is another recommendation that lawmakers ought to pick up. Sabine Schatz (SPÖ) said information about the number of applicants for a course should be broadened to enable applicants to better assess their chances of getting a place on their chosen course.

Minister Faßmann said he recognises the need for a solution with regard to the reciprocal recognition of degree programmes. He suggests that programme heads should be given certain parameters defining what is to be understood by “equivalence” of academic achievements. This can be done within the scope of the next amendment to the Universities Act but there is still a need for discussion. He said he will also gladly take up the matter of standardising nostrifications. The figures demanded by Schatz are already available for study programmes with admission restrictions and he doubts that collecting the figures for all of the more than one thousand courses in Austria is either practical or sensible.


25 March 2019

The annual report from the Austrian Student Ombudsman si now available. Submitted to the Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Research and to the Austrian Parliament.

The Austrian Student Ombudsman, Dr. Josef Leidenfrost, is also the president of ENOHE.

The German version you can read at the webpage of the Austrian Student Ombudsman.


11 October 2018

Dear fellow ENOHE members!

Today is a special day. Or rather, it is about to become a special day. Today is the first Ombuds Day. It is a day designated to “raising awareness of the ombuds profession, the different types of ombuds, the roles we play, and the services we provide”.

We at ENOHE, the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education,  welcome this initiative from the International Ombuds Association and the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee. The idea of an Ombuds Day fits well with the impressive levels of dedication that I personally see when I look at our ENOHE network and its colleagues.

ENOHE has now existed for 15 years, and an idea of formalizing our network was launched for the first time in 2008. At our annual Business Meeting in Edinburgh this June, a set of proposed statutes was adopted unanimously. Although we have not yet been officially approved, we have taken the most important steps towards formalizing our organization.

Once again I express my gratitude to all colleagues who made the joint conference with ACCUO in Edinburgh possible and a success. What an exciting arena of professional and social networking.

I hope to see all of you at our next conference in León in Spain 26 – 28 June 2019.

Thank you all for contributing to the ENOHE family as well as the ombuds profession.

Happy Ombuds Day to you all,

Dr. Josef Leidenfrost, MA (Mediation)
Austrian Student Ombudsman
President of ENOHE


31 August 2018

Conference Report from Edinburgh 6 – 8 June

The ENOHE report from Edinburgh is out (pdf.): Resolving Conflicts on Campus: Strategies for Enhanced Policies and Effective Operations. It was the 14th Annual ENOHE conference, and the 2nd joint conference with our sister organization in Canada: Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (ACCUO).

The conference planning committee through several electronic meetings, with participants from within nine time zones across the Channel, the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, prepared a rich and diverse program. The report is from three full days of engaging presentations and keynotes to inspire best practices in our work as ombuds in higher education. In the report you will find the presenters and their presentations.


27 July 2018

Photo: Dame Suzi Leather, the new chair of the ENOHE Executive Committee, centre, and her predecessor in that position, Robert Behrens, right, and ENOHE president Josef Leidenfrost, left.

New ENOHE Executive Committee Chair: Dame Suzi Leather 

During the Business Meeting of the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education at this year’s ENOHE annual conference in Edinburgh, Dame Suzi Leather has been elected as the new Chair of the Executive Committee of ENOHE. She had been proposed for that position by the respective body during its preceding meeting.

Suzi Leather will follow Rob Behrens, the long-time Independent Adjudicator and current British Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman who had announced not to seek re-election as Executive Chair earlier this year.

Since 2016 Dame Suzi Leather is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE), the higher education adjudication body for England and Wales. In her capacity she oversees the work of 70 employees at said institution. The Board which she chairs is responsible for the strategic direction, performance and effectiveness of the OIA, sets the level of subscriptions paid by higher education providers and approves the rules and procedures for the operation of the OIA Scheme. The Chair and Board are not involved in the adjudication of cases.

Suzi Leather has already extensive experience in the position of a Chairwoman inside British organisations, having been the Chair in the Charity Commission, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the School Food Trust, the School Meals Review Panel and the Council of Food Policy Advisers. Leather was the founding Deputy Chair of the UK Food Standards Agency and has also served on the Council and Ethics Committee of Exeter University.

Suzi Leather was educated at St Mary’s, Calne, Tavistock School, and Exeter University where she received a BA degree with honours in Politics in 1977, followed by a BPhil degree in social work. She then took an MA degree in European politics in 1978 from Leicester University. 1979–84 she was a senior research officer for Consumers in Europe. In 1984–86 she was a trainee probation officer.

On her nomination and election Suzi Leather said in a first statement:

I am delighted to be working with such an open and inclusive international community of people. I especially value our rich discussions with everyone eager to learn best practice from each other yet respectful of the different contexts in which we all carry out our vital ombuds work in higher education.


11 April 2018

Take a look at the Summary of the Annual Report of the Austrian Student Ombudsman 2016/17,
submitted to the Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Research and to the Austrian
Parliament. The Austrian Student Ombudsman, Dr. Josef Leidenfrost, is also the president of ENOHE.

The summary contains statistics (cases by gender, type of institution, and by topics), and also a summery of proposals made to lawmakers, governing bodies, institutions and other stakeholders. A total of 506 individuals contacted the Ombudsman from the 1st of September 2016 and to the 30th of September 2017.

The summary is in English, but you can also find the full German version on the website of the Austrian Student Ombudsman.


8 February 2018

The Conference Planning Committee of ENOHE & ACCUO Conference 2018 has the pleasure in calling for proposals for presentations. This including papers, workshops and participants at roundtables, to ensure that the Conference is as inclusive as possible.

Take a look at the CALL FOR PAPERS document.

The deadline for suggested proposals is Monday 5 March 2018, but earlier submissions are very welcome. Please send your proposals to


3 January 2018


Joint ENOHE & ACCOU Conference in Edinburgh 6th – 8th June 2018.

Resolving conflicts on campus: strategies for enhanced policies and effective operations. More information on call for papers will soon be published.


26 June 2017

New study published by ENOHE chair, Rob Behrens:

by Rob Behrens

In this study of higher education ombudsmen, Rob Behrens reviews the lived  experience of ombudsmen in 18 countries. Having had unique access to ENOHE archives and drawing on a network-wide survey, he has produced the comprehensive account of European practitioners.

Higher education ombudsmen operate from a wide variety of institutional contexts, from singleton operations within individual universities to national ombudsman schemes. They are bound by a strong adherence to the principles of independence, impartiality, confidentiality and informality, and by a broad consensus including giving advice to (mainly) students, disseminating information and being agents of change.

Where higher education ombudsmen disagree is over the interpretation of operational principles. Many use adjudication to resolve disputes, whereas many others reject adjudication and rely on the soft power of mediation to enable disputants to resolve their own conflicts. Additionally, there is strong disagreement about whether campus ombudsmen, operating from within universities can ever be properly independent from the universities they have oversight of.

Behrens analyses the ways in which ombudsmen assert their independence and discovers ombudsmen as robust, assertive and properly distant from university authorities or government structures. However, he reports on a small number of ombudsmen whose mandates have been insufficient to prevent interference and obstruction. He argues that higher educational ombudsmen need to develop the professional nature of their activity to ensure commonality of qualifications, competency, and continuing professional development.

ENOHE President, Dr Josef Leidenfrost, Austrian Student Ombudsman, commented:

This is a landmark study which highlights the strength and flexibility
 of higher education ombudsmen across the European Higher
Education Area and beyond.”

Rob Behrens added:

It is important to understand the different ways in which Ombudsmen operate in different countries and university systems so that we can learn from each other and, ultimately, improve the services we provide. I hope my study will spark a constructive debate about these differences in operations.

Read the full monograph here. 


3 May 2017

The final program for the forthcoming 13th ENOHE Conference is ready.

Take a look at the program – be inspired and send in your registration today!

Please note that last day for registration is 9th of June.

For more information please check out practical details and the registration form.

Hope to see many of you in Strasbourg!


3 May 2017

Rob Behrens, chair of ENOHE, started in April 2017 as the new Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK.

Rob has considerable experience of investigating allegations of public service failure and, as a result, bringing redress to service users. His previous roles include Complaints Commissioner at the Bar Standards Board and Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (Office of the Independent Adjudicator) in England and Wales.

Rob transformed the Office of the Independent Adjudicator into an outstanding ombudsman service by focusing on promoting best practice and providing a more efficient and effective service to complainants.

Following this he became Visiting Professor at the University College London Institute for Education and also Chair of the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education. Rob was made a CBE for ‘services to higher education’ in the New Year’s Honours List, December 2015.

Working in partnership with staff, the Chief Executive and the Board, Rob will lead the modernisation and continuous improvement of the organisation as demand for the service increases. This includes preparing for Ombudsman reform, which aims to create a single, more accessible and modern Public Service Ombudsman (PSO), making it easier for people to have their complaints about public services resolved. A Draft Bill for the new Public Service Ombudsman has been published by Government.

Commenting on his new role as Ombudsman, Rob Behrens said:

It’s an honour to be able to lead such a dedicated workforce at a time of vital transformation. The public sector faces significant challenges over the next few years which is why an independent and impartial ombudsman service is more important than ever.

I will listen carefully to complainants, organisations we investigate and our staff to understand how we can improve the quality of our complaint handling and speed up the time it takes for people to get answers.

I will continue PHSO’s practice of sharing findings from our investigations to help drive improvements in government departments and the NHS in England so they can provide the best possible service to the public.

The CEO of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Amanda Campbell, added:

Rob has a strong track record of complaint handling which will be invaluable to the organisation. He is a great advocate for an independent service that makes impartial final decisions on complaints about public services. We are delighted to have someone of his calibre and expertise joining us.

Bernard Jenkin, MP and Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in parliament, said:

Rob Behrens brings an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the role of the Ombudsman to this position. His past experience at the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in Higher Education will stand him in good stead as he takes on the diverse and complex post of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. I look forward to working with the new Ombudsman to continue to drive change to public services.

The Health and Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committees endorsed the appointment of Rob Behrens to be the new Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman following their pre-scrutiny hearing in parliament on 18 January 2017. The House of Commons approved the appointment on 24 January 2017.


8 April 2017

The registration for the 13th ENOHE conference is now open.  

Please use this form to register already today, and send the form to

In preparation for the forthcoming conference in Strasbourg, you will find all the practical information here!

More information on the programme itself will be available here at the website in mid-April!

Hope to see many of you in Strasbourg!


23 February 2017

New article by ENOHE-member Dr. Paul Herfs:


By Dr. Paul Herfs

dr. Paul Herfs

In the spring of 2016 the ombudsman at Utrecht University in the Netherlands made a study trip to Canada. He made a comparison between ombudsing at universities in Canada and the Netherlands. His research found out that ombudsing in Higher Education in Canada is far ahead with regard to ombudsing at Dutch universities.

Paul Herfs visited ombudspersons at 12 Canadian universities all through the country. He started in Montréal, in central Canada and ended his trip in Victoria on Vancouver Island at the western edge of the country some 3700 kilometers away. The aim of the study trip was to gather best practices at the offices of Canadian ombudspersons.

Read the article published in the Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds.


16 February 2017

The Conference Planning Committee of ENOHE 2017 has the pleasure in calling for proposals for presentations. This including papers, workshops and participants at roundtables, to ensure that the Conference is as inclusive as possible.

Take a look at the CALL FOR PAPERS document.

The deadline for suggested proposals is Monday 20 March 2017 but earlier submissions are very welcome. Please send your proposals to


15 February 2017


13th ENOHE Annual Conference 2017

Wednesday June 28 – Friday June 30 2017

Strasbourg, France

Photo: colourbox

Higher Education Ombudsmen as Beacons

-Towards a fair and transparent European Higher Education Area

Main Topics to be dealt with:

–              Current Challenges for Higher Education Ombudsmen

–              “Ombudspersons” and Diversity on Campus

–              Are Students Customers, Consumers or Co-learners? The Impact of Labelling

–              Ombudsmen and Agenda Setting in Higher Education

–              Ombudsmen as a Profession: Innovative Approaches

–              Professional Development thru Crowd Intelligence

Co-Hosts: European ParliamentEuropean Ombudsman, European Ombudsman Institute


23 December 2016

Network meeting for the Scandinavian Network in Oslo 13th to 14th of October 2016


The annual network meeting for Scandinavian ombudsmen was held in Oslo on October 13th to 14th 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Ombud for Students at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences.

The focus of the meeting was to share common challenges, concerns and victories, to learn from each other and share experiences.

20 participants from 13 universities and 3 countries participated this year. This was a new record.

The program was a mix of introduction speakers and group discussions. This gave us the opportunity to learn something new, get inspired and share our experiences and questions with each other.

Some of the discussion topics in the program were:

–              Whistle blowing cases

–              Challenges for international students

–              Challenges for students with special needs

–              How to get the most out of social media

–              How and why write reports

–              The situation of students’ mental health in Norway

We also got to hear a mind boggling story of a former student who told us about her experiences when everything went wrong during an internship and how it affected her both professionally, financially and personally.

We ended the meeting by discussing the network’s future and agreed that we wanted to continue the tradition of annual meetings. The next meeting will be held in Stockholm on the 12th to 13th of October 2017.

Thank you to all participants and speakers for two eventful and inspiring days in Oslo. We are already looking forward to next year!


15 November 2016

ENOHE 2015 Conference Report – Now available

The 2015 Conference report “Thirty Years of Solitude? University Ombudsmen’s Pioneering Past, Confident Present, Challenging Future” is now available to download and view.

Thank you to Jean Grier, Jim Wohl and Josef Leidenfrost who edited this years edition.

Download the 2015 ENOHE Conference Report here (pdf)


02 November 2016

Bratislava/Vienna: ENOHE meets ENRIO, and vice versa

During its Joint Meeting in Bratislava (Slovakia) and Vienna (Austria) on Oct 20 and 21, the Slovak Research and Development Agency and the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity,  welcomed  ENRIO, the European Network of Research Integrity Offices, ENERI, the European Network of Ethics and Research Integrity, and ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education.

The main aim of the two days conference in the Slovak and Austrian capitals is the exchange of most recent results on the discussion of recommendations on academic integrity and the steering group meeting of the pan-European platform on ethics, transparency and integrity in education.

With representatives from 23 European countries, this meeting was an important event in the networking of respective agencies and authorities for safeguarding good scientific practice in the European research and higher education spaces as they are developing right now. Among the partner institutions of ENRIO also ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education, has been invited to participate. Most recent and upcoming events within the ENOHE net are included in the report at the link below.

Among the future activities there is also the possibility of a joint undertaking during 2017 as far as ENOHE’s annual conference in Strasbourg, France is concerned. Also joint training and professionalization programs for the network’s respective memberships are envisaged. Germany’s member organization, the DFG ombudsman for good scientific practice, had actually hosted ENOHE’s annual conference in 2009 in Hamburg.

A joint publication has also been produced, The Curriculum “Good Scientific Practice”, edited by Gerlinde Sponholz and Josef Leidenfrost.

Curriculum – “Good Scientific Practice”– ENOHE Occasional Paper 8


19 October 2016

Spanish Ombudsmen: CEDU holds Annual Meeting 2016 in Cordoba

CEDU, the Spanish national network of higher education ombudsmen and ombudswomen, holds its 19th annual conference in Cordoba from 19-21 October 2016.

The main topics to be dealt with during the 3 day conference are “The contribution of university ombudsmen to better transparency and good governance within universities”, the juridical and psychosocial dimension of mediation through ombudsmen offices and the compatibility of work and family at universities. 69 of the 78 Spanish private and public universities have installed ombuds offices, 61 of them are members of the network.

Besides their annual meetings the Spanish network also holds midterm executive meetings. Its internationally active members are also participating in ENOHE’s executive committee (electronic) reunions and annual conferences. Spain has hosted two ENOHE annual conferences since 2003, both were held in Madrid, in 2004 and in 2011. The Spanish network is currently engaging in getting ombudsmen and ombuds networks from Mexico, Central and Latin American countries integrated into its activities and hence reaching out for future cooperation and intensified networking.


23 August 2016

ENOHE Webinar – 29 September 2016

14:00 (British Summer Time)

The ENOHE Webinar 2016 is an opportunity to discuss and explore ideas with colleagues from across the ENOHE network.

Download the 2016 Webinar Programme


Please register your interest here to join the live webinar discussion. Confirmation of your place will be sent nearer the time. You will be sent updates about the webinar using the details you provide.


23 August 2016

Annual Meeting for BeVeOm

The annual meeting for BeVeOm will take place at the University of Cologne on 26/27th September.

More information can be found on the BeVeOm website.


9 August 2016

‘Better an ombudsman today than a legal case tomorrow’

A View from the Netherlands


Translation from:

By: Marie Boglari; Office of the Ombudsman; University of Ottawa – Canada.


The university ombudsman still remains a quasi-unknown position in higher education institutions » – this is how Paul Herfs and Sytske Teppema, two university ombudsmen in the Netherlands, start their published study. In the Netherlands only ten universities have ombudsman offices (in different forms), and they do not all deal with the students’ problems, some only deal with the professors’ and the administrative personnel’s complaints.

The Dutch ombudsman duties and responsibilities are otherwise similar to those elsewhere : they fulfill the role of an independent mediator and they help in finding peaceful resolutions of conflicts. The authors themselves have been successful in this, for example they have helped a PhD-student to find a new thesis supervisor  quickly, while the previous supervisor refused to continue working with the PhD-student shortly before the completion of the thesis. In another case the professors got a serious problem with their colleague leading the program, who was endangering the functioning of the field/department. The ombudsman intervened and succeeded in mediating between the parties and helped finding a solution acceptable to all parties. Besides this, the ombudsman’s mediation role is also proven useful during the professors’ contract negotiation, when the ombudsman helped to keep the negotiations in a reasonable timeframe, while keeping an eye on both parties’ interests.

According to the authors, there are two reasons why there is a greater need than ever for ombudsmen. First, because before the global financial crisis, the tradition in the Netherlands was that the Human Resources departments kept in mind the interests of the employers, but also of the employees, and in case of conflict they looked for compromises and solutions. Today, however, the tendency is that HR departments represent only the interests of the employer, against the employees. Second, only 10-15% of the Netherlands’ higher education personnel are union members; therefore it is not common to ask for help from a union in case of problems.

Herfs and Teppema also consider that it would be beneficial for the universities to employ an ombudsman, not only from a moral standpoint but for financial reasons, too. In 2007 a study was published in the Netherlands, which was based on 56 university and ministry conflicts, and searched an answer to the following question: How much does it cost the employer to solve one case? They came to the conclusion that one conflict can represent more than 231.000 euro in expenses for the employer, but it is true that they included in this the HR and legal department’s employers costs, too, the worker’s dismissal and compensation, the costs linked to the employee’s replacement,  and the potential legal and judicial case fees.

Therefore, the ombudsman can spare huge amounts of money and time for the university, if he does not allow a case to escalate into a legal/judicial case. Moreover, it is also important to note that a legal case is never good for the university’s reputation, and it is always better if the parties can find a solution to their problem by themselves. This is why the authors argue that it can be beneficial for all universities and their personnel to have a university ombudsman.


9 June 2016

AR16 thumb

OIA Annual Report 2015

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, has published it’s OIA Annual Report for 2015. The report details:

*The changes in OIA membership following new legislation, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, that extended its remit to cover students at more than 500 additional higher education providers.

*These include further education colleges and sixth form colleges for their higher education students, alternative providers and providers of School Centred Initial Teacher Training.

*The OIA’s record of complaint handling over the year.Examples of the complaints student make to the OIA, and the recommendations the OIA makes when it finds complaints Justified or Partly Justified.

*Changes in the regulatory and legislative environment and what these mean for complaints handling in higher education.

You can download a copy of the report and the press release from the OIA website


09 May 2016


Expression of Interest – ENOHE Secretariat

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) in the UK has been running the secretariat for The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education (ENOHE) since 2014. This was agreed as a two-year arrangement at the ENOHE Conference in Oxford in 2013 , and was extended for a further year at the ENOHE Conference in Innsbruck 2015.

ENOHE now needs to identify another organisation to take on the secretariat from the end of the calendar year 2016 .This pivotal role within ENOHE provides crucial support to the Steering Group and its work. The secretariat provides low-key administrative support through the processing of memberships, organising and facilitating Executive ZOOM Meetings, and coordinating the ENOHE annual European conference. The secretariat is also responsible for the ENOHE website and social media presence.

There is scope for the organisation hosting the secretariat to develop the role further, in partnership with the Executive committee.

If you are interested in taking over the secretariat and would like to know more information on what it involves, please email


15 April 2016

OIA Welcome Judy Clements & Rob Behrens

Judy Clements OBE

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator has extended a warm welcome to Judy Clements, who started her first day on Monday 11 April 2016.

The outgoing Independent Adjudicator, Rob Behrens will continue to collaborate with ENOHE as a Special Adviser and will still be an integral part of the steering group.


15 April 2016

University of Oslo 2015 Annual Report

The University of Oslo’s Studentombudet, Marianne Høva Rustberggard, has published her Annual Report for 2015.

Annual Report 2015 – English (pdf)
Annual Report 2015 – Norsk (pdf)


21 January 2016

Austrian Student Ombudsman Annual Report 2014/15

The Annual Report of the Austrian Student Ombudsman for the Academic Year 2014/15, has been submitted to the Federal Minister for Science, Research, and Economy and to the Austrian Parliament.

The report is published only in German but a summary can be found below.

Full Annual Report 2014/2015 (German) (pdf)

Annual Report Summary in English (pdf)


30 December 2015

Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive recognised in New Year’s Honours

Rob Behrens, the student ombudsman for higher education in England and Wales, has been appointed a CBE in the New Year’s Honours announced today, 30 December. The honour is for services to higher education.

Rob Behrens has been the student ombudsman for higher education in England and Wales since 2008. He has led the development of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) in reviewing more than 15,000 student complaints and in working with higher education providers and students’ unions to promote early resolution and good practice in complaints handling.

Rob Behrens said: ‘The development of the OIA as the independent student ombudsman service for higher education has been an important feature of higher education in the last decade. I am delighted that my contribution to this collective endeavour has been recognised, and see it as a positive reflection on the work of the organisation.’


05 November 2015

Judy Clements OBE

OIA announce next Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive

The OIA Board has announced the successor to Rob Behrens, who will leave the OIA in April, when his term of office expires. His replacement will be Judy Clements OBE. Judy is currently the Adjudicator for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Valuation Office Agency and the Insolvency Service.

You can read more on the appointment by reading the press release on the OIA website.


20 October 2015

scandinavian ombuds

Scandinavian ombuds conference in Lund, Sweden

On 24 and 25 September this year, the third assembly of ombudspersons in higher education in Scandinavia was arranged. This year’s host was ombud for students Petra Holst of the Lund University Student Association. For the first time, the assembly was arranged as a conference. We were 19 participants in total, which was more than twice as many as last year: two from Denmark, four from Norway and thirteen from Sweden.

Lund University was founded in 1666 and has approximately 46 000 students and 7500 staff, spread around Lund, Malmö and Helsingborg. The conference was held in the beautiful city of Lund, to which the large body of students lends a unique character.

Ombud for students Petra Holst gave a welcoming address, and the head and deputy head of the Lund University Student Association provided us with an introduction to the organization of the local system for student co-determination. This was followed by parallel workshops addressing a range of different topics: ombuds’ offices that encounter opposition, how the ombud for students can maintain their impartiality, where should the line be drawn to separate the student ombudsperson’s activities from student politics and how the ombud scheme can be promoted, as well as discussions of specific cases. All participants were provided with information on the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education (ENOHE).

Since its inception, we have referred to the network as ‘Nordic’. At the conference in Lund, we agreed that ‘Scandinavian’ would be a more suitable name, since the network includes no ombuds from Finland and Iceland. The conference languages are Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. It was also decided to establish a separate website.

The ombud for students at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Anita Tøien Johansen, will host next year’s conference, which will be held in Oslo on 13 and 14 October 2016.

In conclusion, host Petra Holst wishes to thank all participants for an extremely rewarding conference: ‘It was incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to join my Scandinavian colleagues for this event, and I look forward to continuing our discussions through our social networks.’

Petra Holst
Lunds Universitets Studentkårer (LUS)


22 September 2015

Dear Colleague,

You should l have received an email and a questionnaire asking you to help ENOHE and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales (OIA) in a key piece of research about the diversity of practice among campus ombudsmen.

First responses have been excellent. We are very grateful for these. However, our research will be even more valuable if more colleagues are able to return the questionnaire.

As a result, if you have not already done so, please complete the questionnaire attached in the link below by Friday 2 October 2015. This will assist us enormously in our efforts to understand and map the strength and diversity of ombudsmen in higher education.

If you are aware of ombudsman colleagues who may not be part of the ENOHE network, we would be most grateful if you could please forward the questionnaire to them.

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

With best wishes for the new academic year, and many thanks,

Rob Behrens
Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive
Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education


01 September 2015

The OIA have today welcomed around 500 new members to the scheme following the legislation from the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You can read more about it in the Press Release on the OIA website.

There has been coverage from the press as well which you can find below.

BBC – ‘Student complaints scheme extended’
National Union of Students – ‘Interview with Rob Behrens’


29 June 2015

Here is an overview of the ENOHE 2015 Conference held in Innsbruck in May.  A full report will follow next year.


23 June 2015

A motion was passed on 30 May at the final plenary of the ENOHE Conference in Innsbruck – to read please click here


22 June 2015

Ombudsperson for students – University of Stavanger (UiS)

Ombudsman Stavanger

Since the 1st of January 2015, the University of Stavanger (UiS) has had its own Ombudsperson for students. To learn more, please click here.


14 May 2015

ENOHE 14 report 1

ENOHE publishes the report of the ENOHE 2014 conference.

To read the report, please click here


12 March 2015

public-trust-and-the-ombudsman-10th-anniversary-series 1

Independent Adjudicator publishes his paper “Public Trust and the Ombudsman”

To read the paper, please click here


5 January 2015

Cover Titelblatt TB 2013 2014 (4)

Austrian Student Ombudsman submits his Annual Report 2013/14 to the Minister of Science, Research and Economy and to the Austrian Parliament

To read the press release, please click here


18 December 2014

Lobbying of decision-makers in Higher Education in Europe to get ombudsmen included in the Yerevan closing document in May 2015 has been continuing.  There has been positive feedback from those approached so far and members are encouraged to continue to drive this forward in their own countries.  In order to assist members in this, a standard letter is currently being drafted and will be forwarded to them shortly.  A list of those approached so far can be found on the Documents page (you will need to be a member to see this: please click here to join).


9 December 2014

The UK Government amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, giving higher education students at alternative providers and studying in further education colleges the same rights as other students to complain to the OIA, was adopted unopposed in the House of Lords on 24 November 2014. Work now begins to prepare the ground for around 300 new member institutions (with a total of more 100,000 eligible students) to join the OIA from 1 September 2015.


5 December 2014

EAIE Spotlight Seminar in Berlin 1-2 December 2014

EAIE Spotlight Berlin picture - with caption (2)

ENOHE presenting the figure of the ombudsman to university guidance and counselling people (Josef Leidenfrost)

For more information please click here: EAIE Seminar Berlin


27 November 2014

Congratulations to ENOHE members Paul Herfs and Sytske Teppema (The Netherlands) whose article, “The Merits of a Staff Ombudsman in Higher Education: A plea for the widespread introduction of a Staff Ombudsman in the higher education system in the Netherlands”,  has been published in The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds.

Link to article


17 November 2014


ENOHE Annual Conference 2015

Thursday May 28 – Saturday May 30 2015

Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria

30 Years of Solitude? European University Ombudsmen‘s Pioneering Past, Confident Present, Challenging Future”

Co-organizers: European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education (ENOHE), European Ombudsman Institute (EOI) Innsbruck and Austrian Student Ombudsman Vienna

For more details, please click here    Save the date! 141114


23 October 2014

Free Webinar

Two members of ENOHE, Jenna Brown (USA) and Jim Wohl (USA) will be talking about professional development in a free webinar on 23 October 2014.

Peer Case Consultation: An Approach to Professional Development

Dispute resolution practitioners of all kinds can stay in professional shape through on-going peer case consultation. We invite you to learn about our experience in peer case consultation and consider ways in which you, too, can advance your professional skills. In the webinar, we review the rationale for peer case consultation and distinguish it from other approaches to professional development and case review. We consider different approaches to peer case consultation and the factors that make peer case consultation work.

For information and to register:


10 October 2014

OIA publishes public interest cases

The OIA is allowed to publish information about the way named universities handle student complaints, where this is in the public interest (as defined in its Scheme Rules).  In September 2014 cases concerning disability, plagiarism and academic misconduct were published and are available on the OIA website.

Disability cases – September 2014

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct – September 2014


5 September 2014

4th ENOHE Executive Group meeting 

The ENOHE Executive Group met for the fourth time via video on 5 September.  The meeting was dedicated to a quarterly update among its members and discussions on strategic issues for the next academic year.  Representatives from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, the UK and the USA were participating, exchanging news and ideas on a number of topics.  These topics included: the ENOHE Warsaw Resolution on promoting the ombudsman idea and the Bologna update conference in Yerevan, Armenia next year; upcoming conferences of ENOHE partners; outlining plans for the ENOHE 2015 annual conference planned to be held in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria; a possible application by ENOHE within the ERASMUS plus programme  for funding a joint multi-country study to investigate the role of the ombudsman; the suggestion to develop ENOHE internships;  the inclusion of student representatives into ENOHE processes and initiatives and news from members’ own countries.

The meeting once again highlighted the value of ENOHE in supporting national higher education ombudsman organisations in these times of uncertainty and in raising the international profile of ombudsmen in higher education.


2 September 2014



From 16th to 18th July 2014 the Euroforum, Campus Infantes Conference Centre in San Lorenzo de El Escorial near the Spanish capital of Madrid was the venue of the summer course of the Universidad Complutense Madrid on CHALLENGES FOR UNIVERSITY OMBUDSMEN IN TODAY´S UNIVERSITY CONTEXT. The course, initiated and perfectly prepared and organized by María Isabel Aránguez Alonso, the new university ombudswoman of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and professionally chaired by Vicente Mazimpaka Nibarere, the new university ombudsman of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, was intended to give an excellent overview of the importance of fundamental rights and civil liberties in higher education in the current economic and social situation and why and how to safeguard them.

Speakers and discussants from Spain, Mexico and Austria analyzed the importance of the defense of fundamental human rights and civil liberties in the university sphere through higher education ombudsmen in times of the formation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Comparisons of the capacity of change that ombudsmen might achieve within governments’ responsibilities at international, state, regional and university levels were made, also working methods and specific aspects of daily work.

Other topics dealt with was how to make the ombudsmen’s rights and possibilities known to society at large and how to engage these issues with members of the university communities. Analyses of the work of ombudsman offices included their specific responsibilities and the work they currently carry out in each one of these fields of activity.

The summer school strengthened the collaboration among ombudsmen from different university systems and from both state and private universities, within Spain and abroad. It tried to provide a common element of communication between non-university and university ombudsmen in order to increase institutional cooperation between them.

Among the keynote speakers were Soledad Becerril Bustamante, the Spanish state ombudswoman, Federico Moran Abad, the secretary general for universities at the Spanish ministry of Education, Culture and Sports,  and Joana Maria Petrus Bey, the new president of the Spanish state conference of university ombudsmen (CEDU).

During the conference several informal meetings took place between colleagues from different areas, among them Jorge Ulises Carmono Tinoco, the secretary general of the Mexican network of university ombudsmen REDDU and Josef Leidenfrost, the president of the European ombudsmen network ENOHE.

Due to the high quality of presentations by the speakers and interventions from the audience plus a very stimulating panel discussion among several Spanish university rectors on the general topic it is planned to ha a rerun of this summer school in a similar format in the near future.  The conference documentation will be published at within the next month.

Spanish meeting July 2014

Left to right: Jorge Ulises Carmono Tinoco, Secretary General of Reddu, the Mexican network of university ombudsmen, Josef Leidenfrost, the president of the European ombudsmen network ENOHE, María Isabel Aránguez Alonso, the new university ombudswoman of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Vicente Mazimpaka Nibarere, the new university ombudsman of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


16 July 2014


New Ombuds for Students announced in Norway  

The boards at the following educational institutions in Norway have decided to create an Ombuds for Students, with valuable contribution to their assessments from Marianne Høva Rustberggard, Student Ombudsperson at the University of Oslo:

– UiT The Arctic University of Norway (in collaboration with other educational institutions in the North of Norway) – decided on the 13th of March

– The University of Bergen (UiB) – decided on the 28th of May

– Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) – decided on the 17th of June

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim are still evaluating.


14 July 2014

Annual Report, University of Oslo

Here is the Annual Report from the Ombudsman for Student’s first year in office.  Kindly note that the first page is in Norwegian but the rest is in English.



22-26 September 2014

‘Ombuds Essentials’ certificate program

Toronto, Canada

The ‘Ombuds Essentials’ is a certificate program that the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman (FCO) has developed in conjunction with Osgoode Hall Law School. This is a 4 1/2 day course that is held in downtown Toronto in Canada and offered for the first time in 2013. It was very well received and it is being offered again from September 22 – 26, 2014.  The registration is capped at 40 participants so there are many opportunities for interaction among registrants as well with the Faculty members.  This is the link to the description of the program:

Ombuds Essentials


10 July 2014

Selling the ombudsman message

Josef brussels

ENOHE in Warsaw, Poland, where delegates had adopted the Warsaw Resolution on empowering ombudsmen and selling the ombudsman message (for the text of the resolution click here.The European Commission and the European Students Union were the two key stops on ENOHE President Josef Leidenfrost’s most recent trip to the European Union’s power hub in Brussels. The purpose of his visit was to convey the need to set up higher education ombudsman offices in European countries where this has not yet been done. This topic had been just one of the subjects on the agenda of this year’s annual conference of the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education

At the European Commission, Josef Leidenfrost met with Jonathan Hill, the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou ( The Commissioner’s assistant was informed about the content and intention of the ENOHE Warsaw Resolution. He also was briefed on the system of higher education ombudsmen in Europe, the different approaches to setting up and running ombudsman services where they are already available and the intention to make a commitment to do more to support and expand the ombudsman system in the closing document of next year’s Bologna Ministerial Follow-Up Conference in Yerevan, Armenia.

With Fernando M Galan Palomares, the Vice-Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the European Students Union (ESU;, Leidenfrost talked about ENOHE’s current main aims, including  the selling of the ombudsman message through the ENOHE Warsaw Resolution.  They also talked about ENOHE’s mid-term strategic plan and about the possibilities for joint projects and initiatives between ESU and ENOHE. The latter include the possibility of a joint annual conference to be held in Austria in 2015 and a joint policy project within the European Erasmus plus programme, Action 3: Promotion of European higher education.  Fernando Galan Palomares himself was once a student member of the senate at his home university, the Universidad de Cantabria in Spain, and in this capacity was in close contact with the (then) local university ombudsman, Jose Manuel Bayod Bayod, a long-time ENOHE activist during the 2010s.


20 & 21 July 2014

Marquette University Milwaukee

2014 Summer Meeting of Academic Ombuds

Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

The 12th annual gathering provides an opportunity for academic ombuds (AO) to become better acquainted, share concerns unique to our professional environments, and to support and learn from each other’s experience.

For additional information and registration:


July 2014

At the end of the conference the conference participants approved the Warsaw Resolution whose main points are the stipulation of the importance of creating higher education ombudsmen in countries where they do not yet exist and in safeguarding the rights of students and other members of university communities.  It is planned to introduce these clauses and sentiments in the closing documents of next year’s Bologna Ministerial Conference in Yerevan, Armenia.

To view the Resolution in English please click here

To view the Resolution in Spanish please click here


12 June 2014

On 12 June 2014, Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator for England and Wales, launched the OIA’s 2013 Annual Report at the Annual Open Meeting in London.

To see the 2013 report, please click here: OIA Annual Report 2013


16-18 July 2014

Universidad Complutense Madrid

Challenges of University Ombudsmen Institution in Today’s University Context

This course will take place in the beautiful environment of El Escorial in Madrid, Spain, and will deal with important issues for the University Ombudsman.

For information on this course please click here: Challenges of University Ombudsman Spain


28 May 2014

University of Huddersfield – Student Conciliators Video in Partnership with the OIA

This video highlights the benefits of having a Student Conciliator Scheme at the University of Huddersfield, UK.


15-17 May 2014

ENOHE 2014 – University of Warsaw, Poland – Papers and Presentations

The papers and presentations from the 2014 Annual Conference are available in the Members’ Area under Documents.  To become a member, please click here.


13 May 2014

University of Warsaw

ENOHE 2014- University of Warsaw 15-17 May 2014

The final programme for ENOHE 2014 is ready for downloading.

Download final programme (pdf)


3 April 2014

Pages from OIA Good Practice Framework consultation, final

OIA Good Practice Framework Consultation

Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive at the OIA, has  launched the Good Practice Framework consultation which has been developed with partners in the higher education sector.  The consultation is seeking views on a new draft good practice framework for handling complaints and academic appeals in higher education in England and Wales. Once finalised the framework will guide staff in universities who handle complaints and academic appeals, as well as those who support and advise students, including students’ unions

Good Practice Framework Consultation (pdf)


27 March 2014

Enohe13 conference report

ENOHE 2013 – Conference Report

Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive from the OIA has now published the Conference Report from ENOHE 2013. This is also available on the OIA website.

ENOHE 2013 – Conference Report (pdf) 


25 March 2014

Draft agenda for ENOHE 2014

You can now view the draft agenda for the conference. All timings and speakers are subject to change. If you have any questions on the agenda, please contact

Download the draft agenda for ENOHE 14 (pdf) 


10 March 2014

Austria: Annual Report 2012/13

The Austrian Student Ombudsman has presented it’s First Annual Report for 2012/13 to the Austrian Parliament.

View the report (doc)

2014 News and Updates