In 1961, the American Bar Association recognized the value of the institution and wrote the criteria for creating an Ombudsman Office. These criteria are still accepted today.
The American Bar Association recommends:
· That state and local governments of the United States should give consideration to the establishment of an Ombudsman authorized to inquire into administrative action and to make public criticism.
· That each statute or ordinance establishing an Ombudsman should contain the following twelve essentials:
(1) authority of the Ombudsman to criticize all agencies, officials, and public employees except courts and their personnel, legislative bodies and their personnel, and the chief executive and his personal staff;
(2) independence of the Ombudsman from control by any other officer, except for responsibility to the legislative body;
(3) appointment by the legislative body or appointment by the executive with confirmation by a designated proportion of the legislative body, preferably more than a majority, such as two-thirds;
(4) independence of the Ombudsman through a long term, not less than five years, with freedom from removal except for cause, determined by more than a majority of the legislative body, such as two-thirds;
(5) a high salary equivalent to that of a designated top officer;
(6) freedom of the Ombudsman to employ assistants and to delegate work to them, without restraints of civil service and classification acts;
(7) freedom of the Ombudsman to investigate any act or failure to act by any agency, official, or public employee;
(8) access of the Ombudsman to all public records deemed relevant to an investigation;
(9) authority to inquire into fairness, correctness of findings, motivation, adequacy of reasons, efficiency, and procedural propriety of any action or inaction by any agency, official, or public employee;
(10) discretionary power to determine what complaints to investigate and to determine what criticisms to make or to publicize;
(11) opportunity for any agency, official, or public employee criticized by the Ombudsman to have advance notice of the criticism and to publish with the criticism an answering statement;
(12) immunity of the Ombudsman and staff from civil liability on account of official action.