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The Origin of Ombud

The word “Ombudsman” dates back to 1809 when the Swedish parliament instituted a new position in the civil service known as the Justice Ombudsman. This referred to a public official appointed to investigate citizens’ complaints against government agencies. In Swedish it means “citizens’ defender” or “a representative of the people.” It is a gender-neutral designation and either Ombud or Ombudsperson is considered an acceptable derivative of the term.