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Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:28

Integrity in sport - New Zealand, leveling the playing field.

Shared values - paramount on and off the field.

Sport is an essential component in every community. Sporting endeavor has throughout the ages been an expression of our culture. Where the alternative to fair play is more gladiatorial (where winning is survival) sports people and spectators alike share high expectations of a level playing field. Regrettably humans control this notion of fairness, and some of us challenge the integrity of sport.  On and off the field sporting culture must share virtues such as:

  • Integrity.
  • Trust.
  • Confidence.

International sport is a high stakes environment that requires independent integrity units among the other efforts employed by bodies to eliminate corruption and cheating.

Effective integrity units must include the organisational ombudsman.

Proven frameworks to assert independent integrity in an organisation could be the innovation needed to enhance the shared values sporting bodies strive for. The function of the organisational ombudsman within an integrity unit is one such innovation.

“When an organisation has a system for engagement which embeds the ‘special sauce’ of Ombudsman Services, it is delivering the message to everyone involved – employees, management, stakeholders and customers – that it cares about its brand, its service and its people”.

Mark Batson Baril (click here to find out more about Mark)


Best practice strategies to transform sport culture:

  • Engagement strategies that amplify stakeholder voice.
  • Independent advisory to the formal bodies enacted to eliminate corruption.
  • Independent advisory to assist management of reputational risk associated with public exposure of emerging issues.
  • Facilitation and mediation to resolve emerging hot-spots where investigation and punitive remedies are considered heavy handed.
  • Training packages that lift conflict competence.


Integrity unit values:

  • Confidentiality*
  • Neutrality / impartiality*
  • Informality
  • Independence

*exceptions: Where an individual disclosure surfaces issues relating to self-harm, harm against another person and imminent serious harm to

the organisation. These values are those set out by the International Ombudsman’ Association. (IOA code of ethics)


Provides stakeholders a safe person to talk with about any concern. Most conflict is normal and the integrity unit will be available to help emerging interpersonal and communication problems from getting out of hand. It will tackle bullying and help people overcome most any challenge.

Neutrality / Impartiality.

The integrity unit will operate at arms-length from the formal processes. Stakeholders will have confidence and trust they can raise any issue without fear of retaliation. Members of the integrity unit are not advocates or representatives. They will not take sides nor act as any formal reporting mechanism but work alongside those formal structures to ensure inclusiveness, diversity, fairness, and safety within the organisational culture.


The integrity unit will resolve issues as early as possible and without triggering formal procedures (formal procedures could include investigations, high legal fees and court costs). Integrity unit members are trained to listen, provide and receive information, identify and reframe issues, and develop a range of responsible options and new ways to solve problems. 

The integrity unit does NOT:

  • Maintain formal written records (to maintain the with-out prejudice rule) except for service reporting / accountability and statistical purposes.
  • Conduct formal investigations – although it is mandated to undertake informal investigation prior to escalating ‘exceptions’.
  • Provide oral or written records to anyone except for service reporting / accountability and statistical purposes.
  • Independence.  The integrity unit will report only to the top level of the organisation and only discuss general trends, issues and concerns, without breaching confidentiality. This ensures the service is something that anyone in any position can count on, and that an individual’s concerns are heard at the leadership levels while preserving their anonymity.

“The  Organisational Ombudsman is like a smoke-watcher, if we see signs of smoke we will investigate and, if there is a fire we will make recommendations on putting it out and preventing future fires in that area. No one expects fire, but if it does occur we need a trained eye to direct us to the source, quickly, expertly and safely”.

Dr David Miller. Organisational Ombudsman, The Global Fund. Geneva.


For more information please contact Wayne here.

Why does Fleetwood use the olive branch (TM) logo?

Fleetwood - Olive Branch

The first Olympics were held in 776BC. The first Olympic torch was a burning olive branch. Olympic winners were awarded a crown woven from olive branches to symbolise peace and a truce of any hostility. It continues to be seen today as a symbol of peace and friendship.

Wayne Marriott is based in New Zealand as a conflict management practitioner. He is a member of the International Ombudsman Association and in a previous life competed at the Race Walking World Cup (1991 San Jose California) as a member of the New Zealand team in the 50km event.


  • Very impressed, well done. Very happy with outcome. 

    - Facilitation

  • Not an easy experience but very worthwhile. Thank you.

    - Restorative Justice

  • My thanks go to both of you for taking on this very unhappy situation and guiding all concerned to agreeing an outcome which will allow us to move forward.

    - Co-mediation

  • It was very practical and helpful. I have used the techniques when dealing with staff.

    - Leadership Coaching

  • We appreciate the hard work you put in to our staff at our factory. We see the positive results regularly.

    - Assisted negotiation

  • I learnt a heck of a lot from Wayne about Mediation and communication and I remain very appreciative.

    - Training

  • Wayne and his team of mediators provide a much needed and high quality service for the evolving employment landscape in New Zealand.

    - Mediation Services

  • "a“Wayne found ways to connect with people who had no faith that their problems or disputes could be aided by Mediation.

    - Process Design