National Ombudsman Law and Legal Definition

The office of the National Ombudsman was created in 1996 as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA). The National Ombudsman assists small business when they experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action by a federal agency. Furthermore, the office works with 10 regional fairness boards whose membership is drawn from 50 small business owners from across the country. The National Ombudsman’s office also works closely with more than 35 federal regulatory agencies to resolve complaints about excessive enforcement of federal regulations during hearings held in cities nationwide.

The National Ombudsman is empowered to receive, substantiate, and report to Congress complaints and comments from small business owners regarding regulatory enforcement actions taken against small businesses by federal agencies. The National Ombudsman acts as a liaison between small business concerns and federal agencies. The office forwards comments received from small businesses to federal agencies for a high level review and requests federal agencies to consider the fairness of their enforcement action.