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One of the key findings from the 2010 report of the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly  is the significant increase in the number of complaints made to the offices in 2010.

According to the Report released today, throughout 2010, 3,727 valid complaints were received by the office marking an increase of 30 percent as compared with 2009.

9,390 enquiries were made to the Office during the same period reflecting a reduction of 5 percent as people were redirected to the relevant authority or mediation service.

Complaints issued against the Civil Service reached 1,675 (45 percent) in 2010. The HSE received 1,008 (27 percent) while Local Authorities accounted for 979 complaints (26.3 percent), An Post 58 (1.5 percent) and complaints regarding the Disability Act 2005 received 7 complaints (0.2 percent).

The Ombudsman described the increase in complaints as “exceptional and challenging”.

She continued that this increase “underlines the difficulty people continue to have in dealing with public bodies and the increasingly bureaucratic and complex administration of public policy and administrative actions”.

The report also stresses the need for the Government to fulfill its commitments in the Programme for Government particularly the passing of the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill.

The office of the Ombudsman itself has also undergone structural change. It now comprises three process units, enquiries, assessment and examinations. A fourth unit, the investigations unit, deals with the more complex complaints which cannot be resolved informally.

The report also highlights 19 case studies from within the Social Services and Healthcare, Local Authority and Civil service sectors.