Standards Of Practice & Ethical Principles - Updated

by Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP® 2020-2021 IOA President


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President's Announcement from Fall 2020

Dear IOA Members,

I am delighted to share IOA's newly proposed IOA Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles (previously called the IOA Code of Ethics). We are nearing the end of what has been a four-year effort and we are seeking input from all IOA members on these drafts before their consideration and possible adoption by the IOA Board of Directors (whose responsibilities include approving any revisions to the Standards of Practice) at its December meeting.

The extraordinary effort that began this process was led by David Carver and Bruce MacAllister and the Ethics & Professional Standards Task Force they assembled, which included Isabel Calderon, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, and David Miller. Additionally, there are numerous other IOA leaders and members who have contributed to this effort over the years. After an initial presentation and discussion with the Board of Directors last October, further revisions were made and our Executive Director, Chuck Howard, joined the team working on this project. Together they have produced the drafts of the two documents which are now being presented to members in October 2020.

In addition to the drafted Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles, the Task Force has created a Methodology Memorandum, which provides the history of the work undertaken by the Task Force, the methodology they used, and a summary of their key conclusions and the changes they recommend, along with a list of FAQs and answers to what we have anticipated being some of the most important questions that members may have about the process and the changes that are being proposed.

We think that you will notice the similarities to the original Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and that you can see we have not changed the key items that govern organizational ombuds practices. We hope you will see these changes as improvements to the structure and language of both documents. While we believe that these drafts have addressed many of the concerns and issues that have arisen over the past several years in connection with the current Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, we are presenting them to you now for your review and comment, as a valued IOA member.

IOA has not revised its Standards of Practice or Code of Ethics for more than a decade, and it may not do so again for many years. Now is the time for you to become familiar with the proposed changes and have your questions or comments addressed by those who have been involved in the process, and to weigh in on specific provisions, the overall drafts, and some additional questions of great importance to all of us. 


Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP®

2020-2021 IOA President

IOA Member Survey for Input

Open 13 October 2020 – 12 January  2021

We have also developed a survey and comment tool that I encourage you to use. This will give you a space to comment on each section of each of the new drafts as well as on other important questions such as what name ( “ombuds,” “ombudsman,” or something else) we should use in the new Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles (currently we use “ombudsman”). Depending on the answer to this question, the Board may later consider possible changes to the name of our association, International Ombudsman Association, and there is a place to comment on that question as well.

Once we have these comments collected, Bruce, Dave, Chuck, and Steve will be evaluating them and recommending to the Board whether the drafts should be adopted and/or revised. Just to be clear, these drafts are not a done deal; we will be considering comments from you on them. Make your voice count.

Take the Survey

IOA Member Forum Update 19 November 2020

IOA Member Forum Held Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Two Options to Attend 8:00 AM PT & 3:00 PM PT

More than 115 IOA members participated in the two Standards of Practice & Ethical Principles Forums on 18 November 2020. These events gave members the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss the proposed changes.

The thoughtful comments made during the forum and collected via the electronic survey tool have made it clear that more time is needed to further revise these documents. As a result, the deadline for completing the member survey has been extended to Monday, 30 November 2020.

All comments received will be thoroughly reviewed and revised drafts will be presented to the Board, then again provided to IOA members for comment before coming back to the Board for a final decision. Please look for revised drafts in the first quarter of 2021.

Members are invited to view the recordings from the Forums on the IOA Online Learning Center.

Visit the Online Learning Center

Download & Review

October 2020 Proposed IOA Standards of Practice

October 2020 Proposed IOA Ethical Principles

IOA Standards of Practice & Ethical Principles Methodology Memorandum
    I.   Background
    II.  Task Force Methodology
    III. Summary of Key Changes and Conclusions from Task Force Research
    IV. Next Steps

IOA Standards of Practice & Ethical Principles FAQs


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