National ombudsman had 14,000 complaints last year

The national ombudsman received almost 14,000 complaints about poor government service and other red-tape issues last year, virtually unchanged from 2010.

Most complaints, some 2,000, were made about the tax office, but local councils and the police also generated a large number of complaints, according to the ombudsman’s annual report.
The ombudsman is an independent individual whose job is to help people who are experiencing problems with government and to explain to government bodies where they can do things better. He can also launch independent investigations.
The ombudsman, Alex Brenninkmeijer, said that many of the complaints related to issues of trust. Government organisations are quick to point to the rules, but citizens want reliable information and to feel they are being taken seriously, Brenninkmeijer said.
In particular, the ombudsman said he is concerned at the number of complaints about health ministry inspectors who do not take the interests of patients and their families sufficiently into account.
The number of complaints so far this year is up 30% on a year ago, but this is largely due to growing financial insecurity, the ombudsman is quoted as saying. ‘The crisis means people have less money in their pockets and measures [that have been taken] hit them immediately,’ he told news agency ANP.

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