Bermuda:
The Ombudsman

Mission

To provide fair resolution of complaints about the delivery of Government services for the good of the public and for those who serve the public.

In 2005, Arlene Brock was appointed by the then Governor of Bermuda as the island’s first national Ombudsman for an 8 year term.
She holds a B.A. from McGill University in Montreal, a J.D. from York University in Toronto and a LL.M. from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass. (thesis: the International Human Right to Reproductive Health).

Ms. Brock worked in insolvency litigation in Toronto (as the first black attorney) with Blake, Cassels & Graydon, one of Canada’s top four law firms. She later worked in reinsurance litigation with Milligan-Whyte & Smith in Bermuda. In Cambridge, Mass. she worked with Conflict Management Inc. (corporate arm of the Harvard Negotiation Program which pioneered the “interest-based” methodology). This work included training negotiators and mediators around the world as well as conducting systemic reviews and strategic planning. She also interned for a summer with the New York office of the U.N. Center for Human Rights.

Ms. Brock was recruited home to Bermuda as Principal for Strategic Initiatives of Stockton Reinsurance Company and later consulted to the Ministry of Labour. She was also an Acting (judicial) Magistrate in Family Court and an adjunct Lecturer in employment law with the Webster University program in Bermuda.

She served as voluntary Chair of both the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal and the Police Complaints Authority and Deputy-Chair of the E-Commerce Advisory Board. She also served on the corporate boards of Butterfield Bank and the Bermuda Electric Light Co. Ltd. In 1991 she was listed in International Leaders in Achievement and International Who’s Who of Business and Professional Women.

Previously Ms. Brock has served on the governing Council of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association. In 2009, she was elected for a three year term to the Board of Directors of the International Ombudsman Institute. In that capacity she was also the Regional Vice-President for the Caribbean and Latin America and chaired the Board’s Training Committee.

About the Office of the Ombudsman

Over the years, people from both political parties advocated that Ombudsman Institution for Bermuda.

It was after the 1999 Civil Service Report that the then Premier, the Hon. Jennifer Smith, advanced the idea by an amendment to the Bermuda Constitution (in force August 2001).
It is critical for the independence and performance of the institution that the Ombudsman be enshrined in the Constitution.
In December 2004, the Ombudsman Act was introduced to the House of Assembly.

In this era of increasing scrutiny of governance, the words “transparency” and “accountability” swirl as ideals for how the public accesses and interfaces with Government. Politicians are accountable by way of periodic elections and Parliamentary debate. The Courts adjudicate unlawful actions and the Auditor General oversees the public accounts. As a significant arm of modern democratic society, the Ombudsman Institution oversees the daily decisions and actions taken to deliver public services.

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