La Sindicatura

How does it work?

Façana de la sindicatura

The Barcelona Ombudsman’s Office acts at the request of any physical or legal person who presents a complaint relating to an action undertaken by the local public administration. It can also act ex officio (on its own initiative) when it deems an investigation must be initiated to defend citizens’ rights.

When a complaint or claim is presented, the Ombudsman’s Office assesses it to see whether or not it meets the requirements to be admitted for processing, and if it does, they examine the case, requesting any information that might be necessary from the pertinent municipal bodies. Once the case study has been completed, they reach a decision on the case, which is published and communicated to the parties involved.

Their services are free of charge, no lawyer or solicitor is required, and presenting a complaint to the office does not affect a person’s right to seek administrative or legal remedies.

The Ombudsman’s Office oversees the activity of the municipal administration, issuing warnings, recommendations and suggestions that help to resolve any problems that are the object of a complaint, with the aim of improving the way the municipal administration operates. It can also propose conciliation or agreement formulas to reach a quick, satisfactory resolution to the complaint.

The Ombudsman’s Office exercises its duties independently and with impartiality and does not receive instructions from any authorities or municipal office. To undertake its functions, it has the collaboration of all the municipal bodies.

When can it intervene?

The Barcelona Ombudsman’s Office can intervene at the request of local citizens or groups of people who have a complaint or a problem with the municipal administration or with a service in which the City Council participates.

It can also intervene, on its own initiative, when it believes that the municipal administration may have breached, either directly or indirectly, a person’s constitutional rights.

The Ombudsman’s Office can not intervene in the following cases:

  • If it is a problem between private individuals that does not involve the municipal administration in any way.
  • If the cause of the complaint is pending a judicial decision.
  • If the complaint is anonymous, suggests bad faith or is not sufficiently substantiated.

When it is unable to intervene, the Barcelona Ombudsman’s Office will offer guidance or advise the complainant on what action they are able to take.