Community Service Ombudsman Act

Summary: The Community Service Ombudsman Act creates an office of ombudsman whose job is to help nonprofit service organizations in their interactions with government. The ombudsman both helps charities on a case-by-case basis and works to change government policies in ways that make it easier for nonprofits to deliver services to the community.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act shall be called the “Community Service Ombudsman Act.”

SECTION 2. PURPOSE

The [state/city/county] relies on nonprofit community service organizations to provide a great deal of social services, from food, health care, and housing to criminal justice supports, consumer advocacy, and assistance in public education. This act is intended to help support those nonprofits, making it easier for them to successfully deal with government agencies, programs and funding opportunities.

SECTION 3. OMBUDSMAN FOR NONPROFIT COMMUNITY SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

(A) CREATION OF OMBUDSMAN

1. The [department of social services] shall establish and operate an office of the Community Service Ombudsman which is charged with helping nonprofit community service organizations to better serve residents of the [state/city/county’s].

2. For purposes of this section, “nonprofit community service organization” means a corporation that is recognized as tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and exclusively or substantially provides direct benefits to residents of this [state/city/county].

3. The office shall focus the greatest part of its time and effort to help organizations that benefit the lowest-income residents of this [state/city/county], especially children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

4. The Community Service Ombudsman shall report to the [secretary of social services].

(B) SELECTION OF OMBUDSMAN—The office of Community Service Ombudsman shall be headed by an individual, to be known as the Community Service Ombudsman, who shall be selected from among individuals who have at least five years’ experience working in a management capacity at a nonprofit community service organization within the [state/city/county].

(C) DUTIES OF OMBUDSMAN—The Ombudsman shall serve on a full-time basis, and shall, personally or through representatives of the Office—

1. Identify, investigate, and attempt to resolve complaints that are made by, or on behalf of, nonprofit community service organizations;

2. Inform nonprofit community service organizations about how they can obtain funding, goods or services from or through [state/city/county] agencies;

3. Investigate how [state/city/county] agencies can make their interactions with nonprofit community service organizations more efficient, effective or beneficial to the organizations, for example, the Ombudsman might recommend simpler Requests for Proposals, easier reporting requirements, streamlined licensing systems, opportunities to get bulk discounts, making vacant government office space available; and

4. Represent the interests of the nonprofit community service organizations before government agencies and seek legislative, administrative, legal, and other remedies to improve the organizations’ ability to serve residents.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This law shall become effective on July 1, 20XX.


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