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Frequently Asked Questions

What services are provided by the Forum Of Pakistan Ombudsman (FPO) to the common man?

The Forum helps the citizens’ by disseminating the knowledge on Ombudsman’s concept, their domain and services.


Why the word “Ombudsman”?

The word “Ombudsman” is Scandinavian and means “representative”. The term is gender-neutral in origin and is used by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) to communicate to the widest possible community. Variations of the term exist (i.e. ombudsman, ombudsperson) and are common among those practicing in the ombudsman field.


When should I contact the Ombudsman?

You should contact the Ombudsman when you have a problem with a state sector agency that you have been unable to resolve. For problems with official information requests, you can come straight to the Ombudsman for assistance if you do not receive a response to your request or are unhappy with the response you do receive. If you are unsure about when to seek help from the Ombudsman contact us on or read more about our jurisdiction.


How do I complain to an Ombudsman Service?

It’s important that the business or company you think is responsible for a problem should have the chance to look into any complaint – before the ombudsman steps in and decides who is right or wrong. Many complaints are caused by misunderstandings that the business can quickly put right, once you explain the problem. Look at our how to complain pages for details of what to do next – including the form you need to fill in if you want us to look at your complaint. Our leaflet, your complaint and the ombudsman, gives more details.


How does an Organizational Ombudsman differ from a lawyer?

The Organizational Ombudsman’s role is quite different from that of a lawyer, who is associated with more formal processes and the legal system. An Organizational Ombudsman maintains neutrality and impartiality when working with visitors, while a lawyer must advocate for his or her client and generally uses adversarial approaches to resolve issues. Though some Organizational Ombudsmen may have legal training and experience with issues of the law, Ombudsmen do not provide legal advice.


What is a charter or Terms of Reference?

The charter or Terms of Reference of an Organizational Ombudsman office is the document that generally defines the role of the Ombudsman and scope of his or her duties.


Who will know if I contact the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the Ombudsman, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.



Why would a community member contact the Ombudsman office?

The Ombudsman may be helpful in a variety of situations. An individual may seek assistance when he or she:

Needs a confidential sounding board to discuss a problem

Thinks there is unfair treatment

Has a question about a policy or protocol related to a situation?

Becomes engaged in a workplace (or other) conflict


How long does it take?

We look at each case carefully – and the time it takes varies. However average time to decide a complaint is about 55 to 70 days.


Do I need specialist help to bring a complaint to the ombudsman service?

No. You shouldn’t need any specialist help. We look at the facts of each complaint – not at how well you present your case and we prefer to hear from you in your own words.
If you employ someone to present your complaint for you, you might have to pay their costs. This could mean you end up paying them out of any money you might get back.


Does the Ombudsman have any legal power?

The Ombudsman is a quasi judicial authority. It has power to summon both the parties, to facilitate resolution of complaint through mediation.


How many Ombudsmen have been appointed and where are they located?

As on date, 12 Ombudsmen have been appointed with their offices located mostly in the State Capitals. Complete details of member offices have been provided in the FPO website member area.


Is there any procedure for filing the complaint before the Ombudsman?

A complainant can file a complaint with the Ombudsman office simply by writing on a plain paper. One can also file it online or by sending an email to the Ombudsman. There is also a prescribed form for filing a complaint, which is available with all the ombudsman offices and online on site of the ombudsman. However, it is not necessary to use this format. The complainant should, however, incorporate all the required information.


What if either of the party is not happy with the Ombudsman decision?

You can file Review of the case or even representation to the President of Pakistan in case you feel that your issue has not been finalized accordingly.