Ángel Gabilondo: «The report is an x-ray of the social reality and the pandemic has highlighted the need to deal effectively with social emergencies»

Ángel Gabilondo: «The report is an x-ray of the social reality and the pandemic has highlighted the need to deal effectively with social emergencies»


The Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, has registered the Annual Report on the activity of the institution in 2021 today, Friday 18 March, with the Spanish Parliament. He also presented it to the President of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet.

In 2021, the Ombudsman handled 29,401 cases, including complaints (29,015), ex officio enquiries (182) and applications for unconstitutionality and writs of amparo (204).

In addition, the figures for personal attention at the institution during this period were: 33.708 citizens, of which 734 were in person and 32,974 by telephone.

The Ombudsman issued a total of 2,231 resolutions to the different administrations, of which 582 were recommendations, 1,139 suggestions, 508 reminders of legal duties and 2 warnings.

The issues about which citizens complained most were mainly related to employment, social security, administration of justice, civil service and public employment, health and migration.

According to their geographical origin, the largest number of complaints came from the Autonomous Community of Madrid (6,361 files), Andalusia (3,517), the Region of Valencia (2,856) and Catalonia (2,815).

Social reality and emergencies

According to the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, “the report is an X-ray of the social reality of Spain, as it shows not only the state of the Administration but, even more so, of society as a whole”.

This report is more than a legal requirement that is submitted mechanically and bureaucratically, “it is a call for reflection on real problems, real conflicts, of real people, whose fundamental rights are not guaranteed, or are not fully guaranteed, by the public authorities”, says Gabilondo.

The Ombudsman notes that the experience of the complaints received shows that “the pandemic has further highlighted the need to deal effectively with social emergencies”. Situations with cross-cutting effects that reach not only health care but also other fundamental rights. In 2021 there was an increase in the demand for social resource assistance, which has entailed “a strenuous management effort, not always with the desired results”.

In this context, the report highlights the social and economic impact caused by Covid-19, the direct translation in the number of complaints received in health matters that has led to the questioning of the scope of certain policies and administrative measures that have affected, above all, public health and very singularly in relation to the functioning of the National Health System.

The emergency particularly affected care for the elderly in residential homes which, “despite the response of the professionals, ratifies the urgent need to rethink and, in any case, review the residential model, the need for an increase in human resources, the improvement of the working conditions of those who work there and greater monitoring and control by the public administrations”.

The submissions to the Ombudsman in 2021 also reveal that poverty remains a critical risk factor for people’s rights. “It is enough to look at repeated letters received by the institution to understand the extent to which this is the case, and that specific and direct action is required to tackle it by society as a whole, and more specifically by all the administrations”.

The report presented today corresponds to a period in which Francisco Fernández Marugán has been at the head of the institution until November, under whose responsibility the tasks and actions set out in the 2021 Annual Report have been carried out.

Ángel Gabilondo took office on 18 November 2021 in the Congress of Deputies, in the presence of representatives of Congress and the Senate.

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