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Mediate.com

Caseload Manager Helps Ombuds Offices Meet Best Practice Standards

by Clare Fowler
Clare Fowler

Ombuds offices have elevated and unique needs for managing personal and case information and for meeting other best practice standards. Caseload Manager now supports ombuds offices meeting these best practice case management standards.

Ombuds offices are commonly based on a core set of 4 best practice standards that set them apart from other types of dispute resolution offices. For this reason, typical dispute resolution software often does not fit the unique needs of an ombuds office. A case management system has now, however, been developed to support and reinforce ombuds practices of Independence, Neutrality, Confidentiality, and Informality. 

Independence

Ombuds offices are designed to be independent from the agency they work for. An ombuds office within a university, for example, is designed to operate independent from the university, meaning that the ombuds is not partial to any office, employee, or student within the university. 

For this reason, a system for managing cases must also be independent from the employer's computer system. For example, a university ombuds office should not store confidential visitor information on the university server. 

Caseload Manager stores its data in a secure, encrypted cloud, which only the ombuds and approved staff can access on a case specific basis.  

Neutrality

For an ombuds to be effective, the visitor needs to know that the office is neutral. Any appearance of partiality or bias can skew if not destroy the process. Using Caseload Manager as an impartial platform can help to reinforce this neutrality. 

  • Using the Caseload Manager Mail Hub, ombuds can decide what information goes to each participant, and clearly states what is visible to each side. This reinforces transparency and neutrality.
  • Information sent out from the Caseload Manager platform also feels less imposing to the recipient than formal information coming from the agency, organization or university.
  • There are instances where visitors need to meet with the ombuds off-site in order to protect their identity. Since Caseload Manager is housed in the cloud, ombuds can access case information from anywhere. This gives ombuds the freedom to choose neutral meeting locations.

Confidentiality

Keeping information in a secure environment protects clients' confidentiality. There are no paper trails or files that risk breaching confidentiality. Staff can choose which information they want to memorialize about a client and situation, and if they would like personally identifying information deleted either upon case closure or at a certain other time. Personal identifying information can be removed while still maintaining data for case reports and analysis. 

With Caseload Manager, ombuds also has the option to allow staff to log in to Caseload Manager and view their personal calendar and case activities, without being able to view any visitor or case information. Each office can choose their desired level of information accessibility for staff. 

If ombuds needs information from a visitor, this information can be requested through email and a secure upload directly into Caseload Manager. Once uploaded, only the ombuds and authorized staff have access to the document and only the ombuds can choose to delete it.  

Informality

Caseload Manager is fully shaped and managed by each ombuds office. 

For example, an ombuds office can have unique intake forms and case files for Consultations, Facilitations, Investigations, Conciliations, and Mediations.

For a quick and competent start, Caseload Manager ombuds case types are based upon International Ombudsman Association (IOA) complaint standards. Further, each office can also add in their own unique case types, resolutions, statuses, and fields.  

Ombuds offices are invited to enjoy a free trial of Caseload Manager (includes training and support).

Biography


Clare Fowler, Managing Editor at Mediate.com, received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine University School of Education. Clare also coordinated the career development program for The Straus Institute dispute resolution students. In addition to her editorial duties at Mediate.com, Clare coordinates online case management for ADR programs, agencies and courts.



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