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ombudsman - what sort of word is that?

Ombudsman is a Swedish word that means representative of the people. Sweden had the first ombudsman in 1809. Other countries kept the name as they gradually heard about the idea and decided to set up similar arrangements themselves.

There are now ombudsmen in over 40 countries round the world - settling disputes in areas ranging from local government and financial services to the police and human rights.

What all ombudsmen have in common is that they help the ordinary man or woman resolve disputes with organisations that might otherwise seem too big or powerful to take on single-handed.

But what do you think about the name ombudsman?

In his recent review of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Lord Hunt of Wirral has suggested that people might not find it a welcoming word. Others disagree - a sixteen-year old at a youth-event we held recently said it was "the funkiest word" he knew!

Should we keep the name - or should we replace it? Please email and tell us - with any suggestions for other names you think might work.

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