Porto has a Municipal Ombudsman as of 26 June 2018. This is the first time that the city of Porto has a Public Official to deal with matters of fairness and transparency in the city. Ombudsmen are independent, impartial and provide a free service. Their job is to investigate complaints that haven't been solved by the organisation complained against, making someone suffer as a result.
José Carlos Marques dos Santos has taken office last summer upon invitation by Rui Moreira, Mayor of Porto. The former Rector of the University of Porto began his role as Ombudsman for the city of Porto on 26 June 2018.
The Ombudsman Statutes include the safeguard of the rights of a number of citizens, namely, "homeless people, residents of non-municipal housing, ethnic minorities, refugees and migrants, disabled people, victims of domestic violence, children and youth at risk or in danger".
"I wouldn't like to see the mission of the Ombudsman as the defence of one person against another person, but rather building bridges between different parts, thus enhancing the townsman proximity to the institution", reiterated Marques dos Santos.
Prior to becoming the first Municipal Ombudsman of Porto, Marques dos Santos served as Rector of the University of Porto from July 2006 till June 2014.
When asked why the Ombudsman is important for residents in Porto, Marques dos Santos replied that it means "residents in the city of Porto are able to rely on someone that is independent from the City Hall, who is available to them whenever they feel their rights have been waived by municipal services or municipal companies. However, the Ombudsman cannot intervene politically nor interfere in the political ongoing affairs. But to all citizens of Porto I say that I and my team, we are available to hear them and I shall act according to my conscience".
Porto Municipal Ombudsman is an independent office that receives complaints about a specific organization or group of organizations and that may investigate, mediate or provide other such services to help resolve complaints. The office is neutral and looks at the complaint from all sides.