The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira and the Municipal Executive have decided to establish, for the first time in the city of Porto, the role of the Ombudsman, in order to act as "a tool for citizen participation".
"The first difficulty lies in the little perception citizens have regarding the competencies the local government has and which have been established by law. But there is also another critical dimension linked to accountability, to what citizens can demand of the public administration. And that is the role of the Ombudsman, to serve the citizens. It has been so in the British system (the Ombudsman is called Parliamentary Commissioner) and we find that citizens will begin to better comprehend the role of the State and they will have a different relation with the state, with a different level of demand", Mayor Rui Moreira explained.
José Carlos Marques dos Santos took office as the first Ombudsman of the city of Porto, today at a ceremony held at the City Hall. Marques dos Santos was Rector of the University of Porto from 2006 till 2014 and he is Professor emeritus of that University.
The most important skills of an effective ombudsman include active and successful listening and communicating with a varied range of people. The Ombudsman will remain non-judgmental, and must address problems at higher levels within public administration, its services being free of charge, and thus accessible to citizens who would not afford to pursue their complaints through the judicial system.
The Ombudsman mandate is concurrent with the Local Government mandate and can be renewed only once.