During the most recent Executive Board Meeting 25 April ENOHE approved its “Values and Principles” document. It was first introduced to governing bodies last spring and then widely discussed in a special workshop session during ENOHE’s Annual Conference in Athens in June 2022. The discussion process initiated from a suggestion by the ombudsman of Reykjavik University in Iceland, Sveinn Vidar Gudmundsson, that this would be a useful topic to discuss. Felicity Mitchell, ENOHE Board Member and the then Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for England and Wales, took the lead and steered the opinion-shaping process forward, drafting and editing a discussion paper which is now also available online.
The key points of the document in its final version cover the main values and principles of the ombuds profession.
Accessibility – being approachable when needed
Empathy and Respect – treating those who come to us with dignity and appropriate confidentially
Fairness and Impartiality – free from bias and reaching evidence-based decisions
Independence – freedom to act without third-party interference
Integrity – being honest and upholding moral principles
Transparency and Consistency – treating all who come to us consistently and ensuring that both parties understand the process
Improvement – assisting institutions in learning from casework, and fostering positive change
During the forthcoming ENOHE Annual Conference in Prague in June 2023 there will be reflections on the practical implementation of these principles.