On November 10, 2022, representatives of West East Forum for Ethics and Compliance held an online meeting with Director of International Affairs, Ombudsman for SME Poland Grzegorz Piatkowski.

Representative of Small and Medium Enterprises Ombudsman (SME Ombudsman) in Poland, kindly shared their experience and provided valuable information about the process of establishment of Institution of SME Ombudsman in Poland and the work they have done in previous 4 years.

Mr. Piatkowski stated that the Institution of SME Ombudsman was established to help the business community with the issues and problems they face in interaction with public administration. He stated that they work on all issues related to business, also, SME Ombudsman may, among other things, request the initiation of administrative proceedings, submit complaints and cassation appeals to the administrative court, and participate in these proceedings – with the rights of a public prosecutor. As per Mr. Piatkowski, the biggest achievement in their work, when it comes to their interventional work is saving an amount of cca 17 million PLN (cca 4 million EUR) for the entrepreneur from unlawful actions of public body. When it comes to legal aspects, they worked intensely during the COVID 19 pandemic in order to protect businesses from unreasonable actions from the government and they also actively participated in proposing changes to the business-related bills passed by the government and succeeded to make them better.

As the main principles for efficient Ombudsman institution, Mr. Piatkowski stated independence, proper funding, and transparency. Ombudsman institution must be completely independent from the government, even if it is funded by the public budget. This is the only way for Ombudsman institution to gain the trust of the business community and to act completely independently and correctly.

As a “recipe” for good cooperation between the business community and Ombudsman institution Mr. Piatkowski states that Ombudsman institution should be extremely active in dealing with complaints received from companies. He also singled out regular communication and meetings with the business council and the business community as the most important. During these meetings, the business community and the institution trying to find the best solution for certain problems.

Mr. Piatkowski said “The guarantee of success is to listen to what the business community needs and what it tells us”

The WEFEC team would like to thank Mr. Piatkowski and the SME Ombudsman Institution in Poland for valuable information and advice, as well as the support they provided for the Business Ombudsman Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This project was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily  reflect those of the United States Department of State”.