Publication of second public report on the activities of the High Commissioner

Publication of second public report on the activities of the High Commissioner

15 February 2017

The High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and for Mediation has published the second annual report on the office’s activities, submitted to H.S.H. Prince Albert II in accordance with Article 45 of Sovereign Ordinance No. 4.524 of 30 October 2013.

Exceptionally, the report covers a period of 17 months, from 1 March 2015 to 31 July 2016, with the aim of aligning with the calendar year by the end of the next period, for which the closing date will, for the first time, be set as 31 December.

With 95 new cases recorded and a total of 114 complaints addressed, of which 99 were closed during the period, the results of this second year confirm the success immediately enjoyed by the High Commissioner with the public when the institution was established in March 2014, and is testament to the growing attachment of citizens to this alternative, consensual approach to resolving their disputes with the Administration.

More than 90% of the admissible cases dealt with have related to protecting the rights of citizens, which was once again at the heart of the High Commissioner’s interventions this year. While the complaints received from users have covered a very wide variety of areas, including every aspect of public services (residence, employment, health, education, social welfare, social protection), the subject of housing, as well as issues linked to the availability of state-owned business premises, have very clearly come to the forefront during this period. The 2015–2016 report devotes a special section to these issues, setting out a number of thoughts on improving transparency and the fairness of the rules governing commercial occupation of public property.

As during the previous year, cases relating to the second aspect of the institution’s mission – combatting discrimination – remained few in number (nine in total, of which seven were admissible). They primarily related to discrimination in employment. In this respect, the High Commissioner has highlighted in her report the damaging absence to date of specific legislation on harassment at work, and emphasises the need for speedy consideration of the bill on the topic which is before the National Council.

The results of the operation of the new mediation mechanism at the end of this second reporting period are encouraging overall, with an agreed outcome achieved in the case of 70% of complaints judged to be justified. In addition, the willingness of the public authorities to take note of the High Commissioner has substantially increased, with 75% of the general recommendations issued following the individual settlement of cases to improve administrative action and the quality of service delivered to users generally having been implemented or now in the process of implementation.

The High Commissioner nonetheless notes the persistence of difficulties and sluggishness in her dialogue with the Administration and calls on the authorities to cooperate with the mediation process in a more conscientious and transparent manner, in order to cut the amount of time it takes to deal with and resolve cases, and to enable the mechanism to fully establish itself in the eyes of the public as a flexible, effective and rapid means of recourse.

Download the report here