At the UvA we are working on building a culture in which we do not accept transgressive behaviour, in which undesirable behaviour can be safely reported and in which such conduct is met with decisive action.
In addition to the existing network, which includes confidential advisers, staff welfare, study advisers, diversity officers, occupational physicians, student deans and student psychologists, it became clear that there is also a need for a party that is tasked with investigating cases. To meet this need Jacqueline Schoone has been appointed acting ombudsperson. She is temporarily assuming the role of ombudsperson while also making preparations to appoint a permanent ombudsperson.
In the cuurent period of working and studying from home it is still possible to contact the ombudsperson. You can call or email her to arrange an appointment via Skype or Zoom.
Due to the rapidly changing situation since the beginning of March, more time is needed to advise on how the Ombuds position can be embedded in the organisation and how it relates to other persons and bodies involved in social safety at the UvA. At the same time, the current situation also provides an opportunity to take a closer look specifically at the relationship between working from home, social safety and work pressure. Jacqueline Schoone’s appointment as acting ombudsperson has been extended until the end of December 2020. Her position also involves preparing the ground for the appointment of a new, permanent ombudsperson, which will now take place in January 2021.
This extension of the appointment of the ombudsperson is in line with related activities in the area of social safety: the mandate of the taskforce to strengthen social safety has also been extended to December 2020.
Please note that, despite the current corona measures it is still possible to contact the ombudsperson. You can call or email her to arrange an appointment via Skype or Zoom.
The ombudsperson can provide support with regard to questions, dilemmas or conflicts at work or within a degree programme. That support may consist of a meeting or more in-depth consultation, advice, referral, mediation or the initiation of an independent investigation. All contact with the ombudsperson will be treated as confidential. Your report will be recorded anonymously.
Jacqueline Schoone can be reached in confidence at the following email address and telephone number.
T: +31 (0)6 11860520
My name is Jacqueline Schoone and my wife, Ingrid, and I live in Amsterdam. I have a background in HR, both in an advisory and managerial capacity. I do this work as a self-employed entrepreneur. For the past two years, I've been involved in in-depth efforts to realise a socially safe work and study climate at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
I not only created policy and integrated an ombudsperson – who began work on 1 June 2019 – into their organisation, but also refined policy with regard to confidential advisers and enhancing cooperation between the people involved in creating a safe work and study climate: the occupational physicians, staff welfare, student deans, diversity officers, HRM and managers. I am bringing that knowledge and experience with me to this position at the UvA.
Freedom is my number one value, as well as what drives me in this role: the freedom to be who you are and to say what's on your mind, in a supportive and challenging climate that fosters cooperation and involvement and where work pressure is balanced. Freedom doesn't mean ‘being able to do anything that's not expressly forbidden'. Rather, freedom is about taking responsibility for what goes on within the academic community. It's a climate in which commitments are honoured and you can place your trust in transparent rules and procedures.
In the absence of such a climate, fear grows: fear of showing initiative and fear of speaking up about things that bother you. In my capacity as ombudsman, I help people find their way back to common ground. I make sure their voices are heard; I call attention to problems and, when needed, leave no stone unturned. My role is independent and neutral and allows me to conduct investigations without impediment and then make recommendations accordingly, potentially for the UvA as a whole. And that's when a different side of me emerges: my ability to observe with 'sensitivity’ and my drive to enact real change.
The ombudsperson carries out his or her work independently, impartially and confidentially. The ombudsperson can choose to conduct an investigation and can advise on structural issues and malpractices within the university.
Staff and students can turn to the ombudsperson when there is a need for independent, impartial and confidential investigation, including advice or mediation, in connection with their work or study at the UvA. This might be when they've encountered problems in the cooperation between individuals or conflicts in the workplace, when undesired behaviour has become a structural and long-term issue.
The ombudsperson can also assist when staff and students need advice, a referral to the proper authority or someone to mediate or lead a dialogue. As an independent and impartial party, the ombudsperson also handles reports and tips from staff and students, and is authorised to start their own investigations.
As acting ombudsperson, Jacqueline Schoone will also coordinate the procedure to permanently appoint someone to this position.
During this period, it should become clear how the ombudsperson can best function in relation to the existing service facilities for discussing and dealing with complaints submitted to the UvA, i.e. the Complaints Committee, diversity officers, confidential adviser on individual legal status, confidential adviser for undesirable behaviour, staff welfare, occupational physicians, student deans and student psychologists.
In 2024, the Executive Board and representative advisory bodies will conduct an evaluation that will lead to a decision regarding whether or not to continue the position. In doing so, we will evaluate not only the ombudsperson job position itself, but also the clarity of the assigned tasks and cooperation with the other relevant actors within the domain of social safety.