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An ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of rights. In some countries an Inspector General, Citizen Advocate or other official may have duties similar to those of a national ombudsman, and may also be appointed by the legislature. Below the national level an ombudsman may be appointed by a state, local or municipal government, and unofficial ombudsmen may be appointed by, or even work for, a corporation such as a utility supplier or a newspaper, for an NGO, or for a professional regulatory body. Whether appointed by the legislature, the executive, or an organization, the typical duties of an ombudsman are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations or mediation. Ombudsmen sometimes also aim to identify systemic issues leading to poor service or breaches of people's rights. At the national level, most ombudsmen have a wide mandate to deal with the entire public sector, and sometimes also elements of the private sector. In some cases, there is a more restricted mandate, for example with particular sectors of society. More recent developments have included the creation of specialised Children's Ombudsman and Information Commissioner agencies. (via Freebase)