- Teams from the Office of the Ombudsman will go out in the field, will meet "face to face" with residents of the periphery and encourage them to exercise their rights and where necessary, file a complaint.
- Establishment of an auxiliary team of volunteers speaking different languages (Amharic, Russian, Arabic).
- Involving the public will focus the work of the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman on issues that are significant "in the eyes of the public".
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, in his capacity as Ombudsman, continues to implement the "Reform towards Constructive Criticism", which places major importance on focusing the work of state audit and the investigation of complaints on issues that are of significance "in the eyes of the public". Within this framework, Englman launched the "Ombudsman in the Community" programme for promoting the protection of rights of populations deserving special attention. The aim of the programme is to broaden the scope of activity of the regional bureaus of the Ombudsman's office in the periphery, in order to encourage citizens to stand up for their rights and where necessary, file a complaint. State Comptroller Englman launched the programme at the annual conference of the Office of the Ombudsman, which took place on 12.11.2019 in the Shalva National Centre in Jerusalem. The conference, which was led by Esther Ben-Haim, PhD. Adv., Head of the Office of the Ombudsman, examined different aspects of social rights protection in Israel.
The Office of the Ombudsman handles some 14,000 complaints a year on various issues concerning the violation of rights of the complainants by government authorities and public bodies. The Office's data show that the percentage of complaints of different groups in the social-economic periphery, including the Arab community, the community of Jews of Ethiopian origin, the ultra-orthodox community and others, is significantly smaller than their percentage of the population. This small number of complaints emanates, among other things, from a variety of obstacles, including language barriers, lack of awareness of rights, mistrust of the authorities, non-accessibility to computer systems, etc.
The "Ombudsman in the Community" programme will act to increase the number of reception bureaus of the Ombudsman's office in different settlements in the periphery, and will promote "face to face" meetings at which residents will be able to meet directly with representatives of the Office of the Ombudsman, consult with them and where necessary, file a verbal complaint. This broadening of activity will be achieved via a team of volunteers - "Trustees of the Ombudsman for rights exhaustion" - who speak different languages (Amharic, Russian, Arabic) and are closely acquainted with the problems facing the communities. The volunteers and staff members of the Office will meet the residents at reception centres of the social organizations and distribute to them pamphlets and information sheets on social issues.
To this end, the conference hosted by the Office called out to social organizations in the periphery to promote cooperation between them and the Office of the Ombudsman. In light of the successful pilot study carried out by the Lod regional bureau, the Office believes that by deepening the ties of cooperation with social organizations, the Office's accessibility to populations deserving special attention will be maximized.
The Office of the State Comptroller emphasizes that upon taking up office as State Comptroller and Ombudsman, Englman made it his motto to promote the exhaustion of rights of communities living in the social and geographical periphery of Israel. Within this framework, the State Comptroller has given instructions to increase on-site inspections, promote orientation days, visits and observations at government ministries and local authorities, visits to reception centres and the distribution of questionnaires to the public about the quality of services provided. The involvement of the public will promote the protection of communities worthy of special attention and will focus the work of the Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman on issues of significance "in the eyes of the public".
How to file a complaint