Brussels residents that have issues with the Brussels administration can submit a complaint to the Brussels ombudsman service as of Thursday.
The independent mediator is aiming to help residents in difficulties they are facing when dealing with public authorities and will also safeguard whistleblowers. Catherine De Bruecker is the first ombudswoman of Brussels.
De Bruecker said that, “We are independent of the administration and act completely impartially to find solutions when the relationship of trust between a person and a government service is weakened.”
“On the basis of the complaints we receive, we will be able to understand the difficulties that residents experience in organising their daily lives. This will allow us to work with the administrations, always in dialogue and in a benevolent way, to resolve individual situations and seek structural solutions.”
The ombudsman service won’t replace the procedure for standard complaints but instead can be called in if no solution can be reached after raising the issue with the relevant authority.
The Ombudsman will also protect whistleblowers who report instances of abuse or fraud “from retaliation by his or her employer in connection with the report”.
De Brucker has built up her team over the last eight months. “There is a certain impatience since the service was announced two years ago,” she said in LEcho. The Brussels-Capital Region is the last region in Belgium to have its own ombudsman service.
The mediator service can be reached through its website, by telephone (02/549 67 00), by e-mail, or by appointment at its offices (Pl. de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 1000 Bruxelles).