IOA Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is “IOA”?  

IOA is the International Ombudsman Association, the premier global professional association for organizational ombuds and their peers. IOA’s mission is to “support and advance the global organizational ombudsman profession and ensure that practitioners work to the highest professional standards.”

There are currently more than 800 members in the IOA. By supporting organizational ombuds and promoting the ombuds profession, IOA is leading the way toward more just, engaged, and inclusive organizations worldwide.

IOA has established a set of ethical principles for organizational ombuds practice.  These ethical principles are:

  • Independence
  • Impartiality
  • Confidentiality
  • Informality

IOA has also established Standards of Practice, which are based on the ethical principles. For more information, read the IOA Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics (available in 11 different languages).

2. How do I become a member of IOA?  

Learn more about IOA membership benefits and then complete the online application. We would love to have you join!

3.  How can I get involved in IOA?  

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved in the International Ombudsman Association. The organization sponsors a number of excellent training sessions and meetings each year in addition to an annual conference.

The work of IOA is largely completed by a number of busy and effective committees made up of volunteers, and all members are invited to get involved. See a complete listing of the IOA committees and task forces and their functions.

4.  When is IOA’s next annual conference?

The IOA annual conference is typically held during the month of April. Learn more about the upcoming annual conference.

5. Is the IOA Board of Directors different from the CO-OP® Board of Certification?

Yes. The IOA is led by a 15-member volunteer Board of Directors elected by the membership. The certification program for organizational ombudsman practitioners was developed under the auspices of IOA over the course of five years of planning, seeking feedback from members, and assessing the results of a market survey. Although the CO-OP® Board of Certification is, and for the foreseeable future is expected to remain, a division of IOA, the Bylaws of the Board of Certification provide that the Board of Certification, not IOA or any other organization, has the sole discretion to manage and make all decisions relating to certification matters.

6.  How do I recognize the good work of an IOA volunteer?

IOA offers two easy ways to formally recognize the excellence and dedication of our volunteers, the Peer Recognition Program and the Presidential Recognition Program.