Iowa Office of Ombudsman

For The Public

Who can Contact the Ombudsman?


The Ombudsman was established to provide the public with one office where they may take grievances. Our services are available to all residents of the State of Iowa, including those confined in institutions.  Persons from other states and countries who may have complaints against agencies of Iowa government may also use our services.


What to do before calling the Ombudsman

A difference of opinion or misunderstanding is often resolved by simply taking the time to talk and listen. 


If you have a problem with a state or local government agency, first take the matter up with the agency involved before calling the Ombudsman. Many times, an agency official will be eager to explain a specific policy or will correct the problem to your satisfaction.


Here are some good common-sense basic steps to take when trying to resolve any “consumer” problem, whether it be with a government agency or a company in the private sector.


Be prepared. Know what questions you are going to ask (it helps to write them down in advance). Be sure to have any relevant information you need available before you contact the agency.


Be pleasant. Treat public employees as you like to be treated. Getting angry or rude will not resolve your problem and may only cause officials to close off communications.


Keep records. Take notes, ask for the names and titles of employees you speak with, and save all of your correspondence.


Ask questions. Ask why the agency acted as it did. Ask employees to identify the rules, policies or laws that governed their actions. Ask for copies.


Talk to the right people. Don't get angry with the first employee you meet; usually, he or she does not have the power to make or change policy. If you cannot resolve the matter, ask to talk with a supervisor.  Keep asking questions until you understand what happened and why.


Read what is sent to you (including the fine print)! Carefully read all information sent to you. Many agency decisions may be appealed, but there are deadlines. Be sure to follow appeal rules and deadlines. It's a good idea to mail your appeal certified, return receipt.


If you follow these suggestions and still cannot resolve your problem, then contact us. Maybe we can help.

Learn More About What the Iowa Office of Ombudsman Can Do

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