Commissioner for human rights and ombudswoman, Maria Stylianou-Lottides said on Friday that of the roughly 2,500 complaints received by her office, about 600 are outside her office’s purview. Of the remaining complaints, 70-80 per cent have been settled with individual interventions, letters and suggestions.
Problems being brought before her have to do with systemic issues, Lottides said. “We want to find practical solutions and ways for citizens to communicate with public services, to submit applications, mainly for benefits, so that procedures can be more efficient,” she added.
The commissioner noted that most complaints concern real estate and public services. However, in recent years, many complaints have also been submitted about benefits, delays in payment or rejections, including for pensions, single parent’s benefits and low-income persons.
Additionally, many complaints are submitted every year relating to the land registry.
Speaking to lawmakers during a session of the House finance committee, Lottides said next year’s budget for her office, amounting to €2,410,615, includes an increase of 13.7 per cent for the purpose of making five new hires for the office which is currently staffed by 26 officers, 10 secretarial staff, and four hourly workers.
A total of 94 per cent of the budget is spent on payroll and operational costs, and the remaining six per cent on maintenance and repair costs for machinery and equipment, participation in conferences, membership fees to international organisations, translation fees and loan of equipment.