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The third component of the IFA Self-Regulation program is the IFA Ombudsman. An ombudsman exists to help identify, facilitate, and encourage the early resolution of disputes that arise within an organization. The purpose is to assure that all voices involved in the dispute are heard and that these conflicts are addressed constructively by all parties. In order to do this, the ombudsman provides confidentiality to the individuals that use the service. The ombudsman is independent of the organization and is not susceptible to any form of influence.
The ombudsman acts as an impartial source of assistance in the resolution of disputes, and must enjoy the fullest support and confidence of the management and leadership of the organization in order to be effective. The ombudsman may be viewed as an impartial specialist in dispute resolution who has no vested interest in a particular outcome. A frequently adopted mission statement for the ombudsman is "to provide a confidential, neutral, independent, and informal process that facilitates fair and equitable resolution of disputes."
The IFA Ombudsman Program offers IFA members three different levels of utilization, each priced accordingly: (1) the public label IFA Ombudsman program, in which the IFA Ombudsman provides all services to the parties under the IFA name; (2) the private label ombudsman, in which a franchise system retains an Ombudsman referred by the IFA to offer ombudsman services "branded" by the franchise company as their own; and (3) the in-house ombudsman, in which a franchise system retains an Ombudsman, referred by the IFA, to assist in the design, creation, and implementation of an in-house ombudsman to be funded and staffed by the franchise system.
For more information about the IFA Ombudsman program, call (888) 452-0303 or go to the Web site at http://www.ifaresolve.com/.