The public administration is in low hours. This newspaper published a report last Sunday referring to the increase in complaints from citizens. This is how it is collected by different reports from ombudsmen who draw attention to these offices for putting more obstacles to procedures every day, some very simple.
The news has had a great impact among the readers of La Vanguardia. In that information there was talk of a "generalized sensation", by capturing the feelings of the citizens on this subject, but after reading the almost 200 messages caused by this news (this is not a survey and the majority use nicknames) it could be noted that more than a "sensation", the discomfort due to the obstacles in those offices is a reality.
This report echoed the devastating report of the Valencian Ombudsman: "The administration has become a hostile land for the citizen." One reader goes further: "And also on enemy land," he writes.
Long waits or unanswered calls to see the simplest procedure resolved drive many citizens crazy. A reader, like O.H., explains his experience in the Barcelona City Council citizen service office. “You show up at that office on Bruc street, Aragón corner, ready to spend the day there. But it turns out that that office teleworks, so make an appointment, phone and wait eight days for them to call you. Respond to that message C.S.: "If they have answered the phone, you have already achieved a very important milestone."
E. C. denounces that since November of last year he has been waiting for the National Social Security Institute (INSS) to solve his retirement file: “For months I have had no income and I have exhausted my savings. I have had two appointments with the INSS and they shrug their shoulders, they share my sentiment, but they can't do anything (...) and no one advises me what to do to unblock it. Then they will ask me to go vote this Sunday. If the INSS wants to locate me, they can do so through this newspaper”.
P.S. has not had a good experience either: “My community of neighbors –he writes– was waiting for a building permit to repair balconies for more than a year. The person who granted them was on leave. Incredible".
Another reader, E. P., has had to be much more patient: “I have been trying to get an appointment for three years to change my German card to a Spanish one. There is never availability. And if you manage to talk to someone, they ask you to go to the appointment. Exceptional!".
The prior appointment for almost everything – this worked in a pandemic, but now the measure (the ombudsmen say so) no longer makes sense – is what generates the most complaints. E. D. has his own theory about him: “It is as simple as not wanting to go back to work as you did before the covid. It was discovered that with the prior appointment free access to public offices could be limited and favored the option of teleworking, and now nobody wants to go back.
V. V. is clear about it: “The prior appointment is an abuse, both in public and private offices; now, to claim the water bill, make an appointment; to speak with a bank manager, about my money, by appointment; To process any bullshit, make an appointment”.
Another reader, B.D., writes that “the appointment system is used to shield the official from pressure from the citizen. And he recounts his experience: "I had to try 35 times over two months and even then I couldn't contact Social Security."
C. S. corroborates this reality: “Today it is impossible to access public offices or CAPs. Everything is blocked by previous appointments or telematic management; from the phone, no comment."
Another reader, R. P., recounts his experience with the prior appointment: "To enter a document by registration in the Consorci d'Educació they suddenly changed to the prior appointment. There was no one there, they were touching their noses, but I couldn't do the paperwork. I had to make an appointment and they gave it to me for 11 days later. This registry always worked well without an appointment, you queued up and that's it”.
Trusting everything to new technologies does not seem like the best solution. A. S. affirms that the worst humiliation for a citizen "is to enter that virtual world and carry out procedures on some administration websites, which seem to have been created by cruel psychopaths."
Another reader, M.D., advocates that the telephone be used more, since trusting everything to the internet "has awakened the mafias and the agencies are making money, since not everyone has a computer."
The citizens, that is clear, are angry. J. L. is one of them: “This week (May 2023) the Barcelona Civil Registry finally rectified a birth certificate that it issued with an incorrect last name last December. They have taken almost six months to correct a letter in a certificate, which already took three months to issue with errors”.
This reader confesses that sometimes “I dream that there is an anarchist revolution that burns the Civil Registry with everything inside to start from scratch to build something that works better. Meanwhile, I don't see any political party that even deigns to empathize with the citizens.
A.P. has worked for most of his life in a town hall. He assures that he has always tried to do things well and is aware that "my salary is paid by the citizens."
He affirms that he did not telework during the pandemic. “That system never seemed good to me, neither for me, nor for the organization or for the citizenry. The previous appointment is fine, but if it is arranged with agility (it costs too much) and speed (the solutions cannot wait that long).
“I also saw that the operation of the machinery was not efficient. Attitude and disorganization had a lot to do with it. But the diagnosis is not complete if the scarcity of resources is not included. The latter also has to be understood. And political officials focus their attention and interest on immediate profitability”.
Sometimes the examples of a few damage the image of all. One of those episodes is recounted by C. W. "They don't lack so many hands (responds to officials who say they are saturated), but in the Generalitat's Habitatge office, on Diputació street, the female officials would not go down to smoke as many times a day as they do daily. They do it in a group and at the door of a school. All those minutes smoking are 30-40 minutes wasted."
Teleworking in the public administration is not a measure understood by the citizen. C.A. is forceful: “Implementing teleworking in services facing the public is an aberration. Who attends you? Nobody! And if you call by phone, forget about being answered. Enough of teasing the citizen!" M.A. agrees: "There is no point in teleworking in the administration, that is self-deception."
A. Z. opens another front, unkind to the public worker. “Is there a party that has in its program the removal of privileges from officials? Demand productivity? Enable layoffs? Well that, no one dares to put the bell on the cat... ".