The UK APPG on ADR Session on Ombudsman Services

On Tuesday 6 June 2023, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR APPG) held a session on the role of ombudsman services in the UK and internationally. The session was attended by representatives from various ombudsman services, including the Housing Ombudsman, the UNCHR Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Association.

John Howell OBE MP, the Chair of the APPG, opened the session by highlighting the work of the Council of Europe Venice Commission (the Commission) Principles on the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman Institution (“The Venice Principles). These 25 principles were adopted by the Commission in March 2019 and highlight the importance and core principles of ombudsman institutions in the context of democracy through law.

Youssoupha Niang, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Ombudsman and Mediator, provided some fascinating insights into the application of ombudsman services in the context of the UN. Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway, put the importance and scale of the work done by his organisation in England into perspective. This was followed by an engaging question and answer session, where attendees directed questions to the speakers. The discussion focused on:  

  • What can be learned from the use of ombudsman services in the international context?
  • What are the current challenges for UK ombudsman services?
  • How do ombudsman services and other dispute resolution mechanisms fit together nationally and internationally?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having single sector specific ombudsmen?

Donal Galligan, Chief Executive of the Ombudsman Association of the UK, the British Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories also attended the session and provided insights on the work being done by the Association to raise public awareness of ombudsman services.

If you are interested in finding out more information on this session, please contact

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Ciarb) act as the Secretariat to the ADR APPG.