Ombudsman: 40 years, one million complaints, 60 reports and more than 25,000 resolutions

Ombudsman: 40 years, one million complaints, 60 reports and more than 25,000 resolutions


In 2021, the Institution celebrated the 40th anniversary of Organic Law 3/1981, which regulates and develops the figure of the Ombudsman. In these four decades of history, the Ombudsman has processed 999,358 complaints, has formulated 25,376 resolutions to the Administrations and has filed 31 appeals of unconstitutionality and 11 appeals for protection before the Constitutional Court.

The Ombudsman has pioneered the opening of debates of particular interest to citizens and many of his recommendations have led to legislative changes and improvements in the application of fundamental rights.

At the end of 2009, the Ombudsman took on the task of being the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (NPM) and since then has carried out more than 1,000 visits to detention centres.

During this time, the Ombudsman has also become a referent for other similar institutions in the world. Thus, the Spanish Ombudsman has inspired the reforms of Ombudsmen such as the French and Moroccan Ombudsmen and has helped in the creation and consolidation of others, such as those of Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. In addition, it actively collaborates with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Network of Ombudsmen, the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsmen (FIO) and the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen (AOM).

Monographic reports

Each year, the Ombudsman publishes various monographic reports and studies that lead to conclusions and recommendations to improve the actions of the Administration, always with the benefit of citizens in mind.

In the past 40 years, the Ombudsman has published 60 monographic reports on a wide range of topics, to which one must be add the annual reports in which it compiles all its activities each year and those it publishes in its capacity as NPM.

The first monographic report was published in 1987 and analysed the prison situation in Spain, an issue to which all Ombudsmen have paid special attention during their terms of office, due to the special vulnerability of this group. The most recent study on this subject was published in 2019 and focused on the reality of people with intellectual disabilities in prison.

The Institution has also conducted several monographs on homes for elderly people. Both the second and the most recent monographs of the Ombudsman were dedicated to these centres. In addition, the situation of the residences motivated numerous actions since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of 2020, the acting Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, presented a monographic report on the work of the organization during the pandemic, which compiled these actions.

Juvenile facilities and Centers of minor offenders have also been analysed in the Ombudsman’s reports. Additionally, in 2009 the Ombudsman published a report on minors with behavioural disorders and in situations of social hardship, which marked a turning point in this type of centres, leading to numerous changes in their structure and workings.

In the area of immigration, the Ombudsman’s first publication focused on legal assistance for foreigners. The conclusions of this report were compiled in the law on free legal aid. Reports have also been produced on the determining of the age of unaccompanied foreign minors, the situation of asylum and international protection, the contribution of immigration to the Spanish economy or the most recent study on migration in the Canary Islands.

The first report on male violence was published in 1998. At a time when this type of crime was barely discussed, the Ombudsman sounded the alarm, denouncing this silent violence suffered by numerous women every year. Another form of violence, in many cases, also particularly committed against women, is human trafficking, to which the Ombudsman devoted a monograph.

The legal and welfare situation of the mentally ill has also been analysed by the Ombudsman. moreover, with regards to health matters, reports have been drawn up on waiting lists, the situation of hospital emergencies, brain damage, the challenge of celiac disease sufferers and specific attention to acquired brain damage in children.

In the economic field, documents have been published on mortgage debtors, preferential shares, economic crisis and personal insolvency, urban planning licenses, the cadastral reality, the situation of telecommunications or the protection of vulnerable consumers in the field of electricity. The most recent, on economic crisis and inequality, analysed the consequences of the economic crisis on the application of social rights.

On the subject of disability, numerous studies have been carried out, analysing everything from residential care for people with disabilities to fiscal policies affecting them.

In the field of education, reports have been created on school violence, the situation of migrant students and free textbooks.

Housing has also been the subject of study by the Ombudsman with several publications on this subject. The most recent one being on subsidised housing and social renting.

Environmental issues such as urban waste management, noise pollution, atmospheric pollution and water and land planning were also analysed.

In the area of justice, delays in the administration of justice, the hearing of minors in family and criminal proceedings or the rights of victims of terrorism were analysed. Studies have also been carried out on injury reports and a guide of good practices in mechanical restraint.

Over the years, reports have also been developed on the demographic situation in Spain, Spanish prisoners abroad, the safety of children’s playgrounds and the situation of civil servants and the public sector.

Contact the Press & Communications Department

Manuel Delgado Martín: Director of Communications

Marta Álvarez-Montalvo, Laura Nuño del Campo


Press: +34 91 319 68 22