Ombuds Committee

The Ombuds committee was established on March 14, 2014.

Members: Ruth Paige, Ph.D. (Chair) and Dennis Dennis, Ph.D.

The purpose of the Ombuds Committee is to promote respectful, harmonious, fair, just, and productive relationships among all WSPA members. The focus of the OC efforts is on internal WSPA concerns.

The OC is authorized by the Board of Trustees to be an informal, impartial body that reviews and, whenever possible, resolves concerns brought by any WSPA member concerning matters related to membership and participation in the affairs of WSPA. The Ombuds Committee is a recourse for members who have already attempted to first resolve their concerns through direct dialogue between or among the involved parties. Upon the request of any interested party the OC may mediate disputes between or among WSPA Board members as well as between or among Board member(s) and any other WSPA member(s).

Ombuds Referral Process

In the usual course of conducting WSPA business conflict may occur. In order to promote constructive resolution of conflict when it occurs, the Board of Trustees invites all members to take steps to ensure that everyone's point of view is heard, respected, and given due consideration in relation to the mission of WSPA. The Board offers the following guidance to members when they experience conflict (adapted from the Alberta Psychology Association):

  1. Recognize the inherent right of everyone to voice their opinions in a respectful manner, including the right of people to choose not to voice an opinion.

  2. Take personal responsibility for one?s opinions and decision to not speak.

  3. Act in a manner that creates an open, safe and respectful environment in which fellow members are encouraged to freely express divergent opinions with the expectation that their views will be listened to and given the weight and respect they deserve even when that may result in conflict. In doing so, members will abide by the values of the profession in respect for the dignity of persons and requirement to act with fairness and integrity.

Additionally, WSPA members will seek to resolve differences of opinion through open and frank discussion and when necessary, the collection of additional information, in order to:

  1. Seek to arrive at a common acknowledgement of the conflict.

  2. Develop a clear identification and definition of the problem underlying the conflict, the parties involved in the conflict, and the stakeholders with direct and indirect interests in the problem.

  3. Engage in a clear and honest discussion of the problem while ensuring that all parties are focused on the best interests and the mission of the WSPA. The Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and policies of WSPA will be referenced as needed to ensure this is happening.

If the above measures have been followed and the conflict remains unresolved, then WSPA members may make a referral to the Ombuds Committee for mediation to achieve resolution.

  1. All parties directly involved in the conflict must be active WSPA members. While conflicts between or among WSPA members may have implications for stakeholders external to WSPA, the Ombuds Committee is authorized to mediate only between WSPA members who are engaged in conflict concerning some aspect of WSPA business. The parties in conflict may be either members of the Board or other WSPA members. The Ombuds Committee will not respond to requests for mediation concerning conflict between WSPA members that does not directly pertain to usual WSPA business. For example, if two WSPA members are in conflict due to their business relationship as office partners, the Ombuds Committee will decline to become involved.

  2. The parties must have made a good faith effort to resolve their conflict by applying the guidelines described above.

  3. Any of the parties directly involved in the conflict may request the services of the Ombuds Committee by contacting the WSPA Executive Director. The WSPA Executive Director will notify the Chair of the Ombuds Committee within two business days and provide the name and contact information of the party requesting mediation. Neither The WSPA Executive Director nor the WSPA office staff will screen requests for mediation.

  4. After receiving a referral from the WSPA office the Chair of the Ombuds Committee or their designee will contact all the parties requesting mediation within 5 business days to schedule an interview(s) to make a determination that the criteria in (a) and (b) above are met.

  5. If the criteria are met the Ombuds Committee will make arrangements for a mediation meeting. If the criteria are not met the Ombuds Committee will notify all parties that mediation is not available and the reason(s) for declining to provide mediation services. In either event the Ombuds Committee will notify all parties of the decision within 5 business days following the interview(s).

  6. All records relating to a request for mediation will remain confidential. Members of the Board of Trustees or WSPA Administrative staff will only be permitted access to records on a need to know basis. However, communications between the parties and/or the Ombuds Committee member(s) are not privileged.

  7. Participation in mediation is entirely voluntary and the Ombuds Committee will decline mediation services in cases where it is clear that participants are not participating voluntarily.

  8. Resolution remains the responsibility of the parties to the conflict. While mediation is likely to achieve success most of the time this cannot be guaranteed.