Presidential Decree No. 273

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 273
Regulations of the Ombudsman

 

THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC

Taking into consideration:

1. The provisions of:

a) paragraph 9, article 5, Act 2477/1997 "The Ombudsman and the Public Administration Investigators - Inspectors Authority" (Official Gazette 59/A'/97).
b) The provisions of article 29A, Act 1558/85, as added by article 27, Act 2081/1992 and amended by paragraph 2a, article 1, Act 2469/1997.
c) Article 22, paragraph 3, Act 2362/1995 "On Public …., State expenses control and other provisions" (Official Gazette 247/A').
d) The decision of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, number 1107147/1239/006/4.10.1996 (Official Gazette 922/B'/96) on "The authorizing the Deputy Ministers of Finance by the Minister of Finance".


2. The concurrent opinion of the Ombudsman on 18.5.1999.

3. The fact that the implementation of the provisions of the present Presidential Decree require an expenditure, taken from the state budget, of approximately 25 million drachmas for the present fiscal year, approximately 50 million for the fiscal years 2000-20001, approximately 60 million for the fiscal years 2002-2003 and 81 million for the fiscal year 2004. The above expenditure will be covered by the credits entered in the budget of the Special Authority 07-610 of the Independent Administrative Authority "The Ombudsman" (KAE group 0200and 0871) and for the subsequent fiscal years by the credits to be entered for this purpose in the above budget

4. The consultatory response/opinion number 386/1999 of the Council of State, following a proposal of the Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization and the Deputy Minister of Finance, we decide:

 

Article 1
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1. The Ombudsman, an independent administrative authority established under Act 2477/97 (Official Gazette 59/A'/97), has as its mission to mediate between citizens and the public sector services, as defined in Act 2477/97, as this applies every time, for the protection of the rights of the citizens, the combat of mal-administration, and the observance of the laws.

2. Where, in the present presidential decree, mention is made to the term public sector service or public sector services, it refers to those defined in paragraph 1, article 3, Act 2477/97.

3. In international relations the title "The Ombudsman" is translated in "THE GREEK OMBUDSMAN" or "LE MEDIATEUR DE LA REPUBLIQUE HELLENIQUE".

 

Article 2
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1. The work of the Authority is organised in the following four departments:
a) Department of Human Rights, b) Department of Health and Social Welfare, (social policy, health, insurance, welfare of children, elderly and people with special needs), c) Department of the Quality of Life (environment, urban planning, land use, public works, culture), d) the Department of State-Citizen Relations (information and communication, quality of services provided, mal-administration in Organizations of Local Administration and public utility companies, transportation, communication, work, industry, energy, taxation, customs, financial issues, trade and state provisions, agriculture and agricultural policy, education).

The responsibility for the work of each department is entrusted to a Deputy Ombudsman.
The senior investigators and the junior investigators are posted in the four departments by the Ombudsman. Each department undertakes to investigate cases falling under its jurisdiction. The departments cooperate between them when a case falls under the jurisdiction of more than one department.

2. The work of the Authority is supported by the Senior Investigators provided in paragraph 1 and 2, article 5, Act 2477/1997 and the Junior Investigators provided in article 8, Act 2623/1998 (Official Gazette 139/A'/98)

3. The senior investigators and junior investigators of all departments are assigned to the Citizen's Reception and Information Bureau on a daily rota basis, on the basis of a programme drawn up every week by the Section of Communication and International Relations.


 

Αρθρο 3
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1. The Ombudsman undertakes to investigate a case following a signed complaint submitted to the Offices of the Authority or sent by mail, fax or electronic mail. In case the interested person does not know writing, in the place of the signature he/she may place a mark, certified by the Authority or other public authority, if the complaint is lodged by mail, certifying that the mark has been placed instead of a signature and that the person has declared that he/she does not know writing.

The interested person may request that his/her name and other personal details are not communicated to the public sector service against which the complaint is lodged. If the investigation of the case is not possible without his/her name being disclosed he/she is informed accordingly. In such a case the investigation may not proceed without the consent of the interested person.

2. The complaint shall be lodged within six months from the date on which the applicant is informed of the acts or omissions for which he/she requests the mediation of the Ombudsman. Recourse to the Ombudsman and investigation of a case is possible even after the lapse of these six months, if it concerns special and exceptional cases, in particular if a public sector service fails to elaborate a petition, to respond to petitions submitted, or responds to petitions with unreasonable delay, beyond the time limit which may be defined by law, or when the interested person is unable to submit his/her complaint, due to physical weakness or for other exceptional reasons. In this case, reference is made to the above reasons in the relevant report.

3. The information contained in the complaint is: a) the identity details of the interested person, b) communication details, c) clear description of the case and any replies given by the service, d) the title of the public sector service and possibly the name of the public servant who has dealt with the case, e) the exact time he/she is informed of the detrimental action, or in case of no response, the time that has elapsed from the submission of the petition or from the deadline by which the public service should have responded, f) if the specific case or a similar case is pending before a judiciary authority and which, g) the real damage caused to the interested person and the means through which he/she pursues satisfaction. Submitted with the report are all documents or evidence relative to the case which facilitate the investigation.


4. The complaint may be written on a simple piece of paper or on a special form issued by the Authority, which may be also sent to the interested persons. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 1, article 4, the lack of completing any of the details mentioned in the previous paragraph 3 of the present article does not constitute an obstacle for the investigation of the complaint.

Any information necessary for the investigation may be also requested after the submission of the complaint.


 

Article 4
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1. The complaints submitted by the citizens are entered in a special electronic protocol and are assigned to the competent department. The complaints which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman or which are evidently vague, unfounded or insignificant, or which are submitted repeatedly in an abusive way and without the existence of new evidence, are placed in the archives by act of the competent Deputy Ombudsman. The complainant is informed accordingly in writing.

2. Τhe departments send a letter to the complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint, and informing him/her of the name and telephone number/communication details of the investigator who has been assigned the complaint. With the same letter the complainant may be requested to provide more information not included in the complaint.

3. The investigation is carried out by the senior investigators in cooperation with the junior investigators and under the supervision/responsibility of the competent Deputy Ombudsman who assigns the complaints.

Once the senior investigator is assigned a case, he/she contacts, and if he/she deems necessary, visits the public sector service and studies the case on the spot. He/she also cooperates with the interested citizens or any third parties involved in the case under investigation. Upon completion of the investigation a report is drawn up, containing a description of the case, the evidence that has been submitted and used, the actions taken for the investigation of the case, the conclusions and proposals. The report also contains the opinion of the involved in the case service. In simple cases a note is written containing in brief the actions taken and the final result. This note may also have the form of a letter to the complainant, given that it contains the necessary details.

4. The report is communicated, accordingly, to the competent minister, the prefect, the mayor or the superior administrative authority, to the competent services, in the case of legal entities, and to the complainant. The report may include a time limit within which the competent services should inform the Authority on their actions concerning the implementation of the recommendations, or on the reasons which do not permit their acceptance. If non acceptance of his recommendations is not adequately justified, the Ombudsman may make public the refusal of the service to implement his proposals.

5. If the investigation proves that the solution of the problem is not possible, the complainant is informed through a special letter, explaining the reasons which render the solution impossible and describing the actions taken.

6. If the investigation of a number of complaints leads to the conclusion that there are common characteristics of non effectiveness, mal-administration, low quality of services provided to the citizen, the Ombudsman examines, in cooperation with all the involved bodies, ways of solving the problem, recommending at the same time organizational, structural changes in connection with the services provided and the communication with the citizens, as well as any necessary legislative or regulatory amendment that will permit, to the greatest possible extent, the elimination of these phenomena and the improvement of the relation between the state and the citizens.


 

Article 5
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The Ombudsman may proceed ex officio to the investigation of cases which have aroused particular public interest.

The Ombudsman's decision defines the case to be investigated, as well as the reasons that have led to that decision. The decision may also include a time schedule of the investigation. The Ombudsman's decision is communicated to the involved services and is published in at least one daily newspaper. The Ombudsman, if he considers it necessary, may make public the relative decision.

Upon completion of the investigation, the relative findings and the recommendations of the Ombudsman are made public through all possible means.


Article 6
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1. The Ombudsman may order an experts' report if the following conditions exist collectively: a) it is deemed absolutely necessary due to the nature of the case, b) an experts' investigation has not been carried out by the administration, unless the complainant questions the righteousness of the findings of the experts' report carried out by the administration, c) it is not possible for an investigator to carry out such an investigation in the framework of his/her duties.
The Ombudsman may request the appointment of an expert by the public sector service, whose actions constitute the object of the investigation. This service shall proceed to the appointment, in agreement with article 4, paragraph 5, Act 2477/97.
The Ombudsman may request the appointment of an expert by Universities, Chambers, and other Public Corporate Bodies.
The Ombudsman may appoint as an expert, a person included in the Experts Lists of the Courts of the country, as these apply every time.
In exceptional urgent cases, as well as in cases in which special knowledge is necessary and is not possessed by the persons included in the above categories, or if the persons appointed do not accept their appointment, the Ombudsman may appoint an expert by par analogia/proportionate application of article 186 of the Penal Justice Code.
The payment of the expert burdens the Ombudsman's budget. The procedure for this payment is carried out in application per analogia of the provisions of the joint Ministerial Decision, in force every time, issued by proxy/by the authority of article 581, paragraph 2 of the Code of Penal Justice.

2. The provisions on the appointment and payment of experts also apply in cases of on the spot/ on-the-scene investigations if there is no possibility of the investigation being carried out by a member of the staff of the Ombudsman in the framework of his/her duties.

3. All public sector services have an obligation to facilitate the investigation in every possible way. Non-co-operation with an investigation by a public sector service shall be the object of a special report by the Ombudsman to the competent Minister. The Ombudsman may, during the investigation of cases, request the assistance of the Public Administration Investigators - Inspectors Authority.


 

Article 7
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1. The Ombudsman draws up an annual report, explaining the work of the Authority, presenting the most important cases, and formulating recommendations for the improvement of the public services and the adoption of the necessary legislative or regulatory measures. The annual report is drawn up on the basis of the reports of paragraph 3 of the present article.

2. The report describes the work of the authority, the complaints submitted, the
investigations carried out, the recommendations and solutions of problems accepted by the public sector services, the ex officio investigations, as well as any other data useful for the presentation of the work of the Ombudsman.
A special section of the report includes recommendations for the improvement of the public sector services and the necessary legislative amendments.

3. Every department, under the supervision of the responsible deputy Ombuds-
man, draws up a quarterly activity reports and an annual report in January of each year for the previous year.

4. The report of the Ombudsman is submitted in March each year to the Prime
Minister and the President of Parliament and it is communicated to the Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization.

5. The annual report is published in a special edition of the Government Printing
Office and is distributed to the public sector services, the citizens, the Mass Media and in general terms it is made public in every expedient way.

6. The Ombudsman may, during the course of the year, submit to the Prime Minister, the President of Parliament and to communicate, accordingly, to the competent minister, reports on issues of exceptional importance, especially on cases for which he has ordered an ex officio investigation.


 

Article 8
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1. The Ombudsman is the head of the Authority, guides and coordinates its
work aiming at the best possible fulfillment of its mission.
More specifically, the Ombudsman:


a) Coordinates the work of the Deputy Ombudsmen
b) Supervises, guides and evaluates the senior investigators, the junior investigators, as well as the personnel of the Secretariat.
c) Appoints the senior investigators and the junior investigators in the activity departments, and the other personnel in the sections and offices of the Secretariat, and rotates them from department to department or from section to section.
d) Forms committees, working and task groups to carry out studies and investigations relevant to the mission of the Authority.
e) Undertakes the responsibility of the operational cost from the budget of the Authority and defines the annual expenses

2. The Ombudsman is the disciplinary supervisor of the investigators and the
administrative personnel and may impose a penalty in the form of a reprimand or a fine of up to one month's salary. As a disciplinary supervisor he is also invested with the responsibilities defined in the Civil Servants Code for the permanent personnel and Presidential Decree 410/88 for the personnel with a labour contract under private law.

3. The Deputy Ombudsmen assist the Ombudsman in his work, are the heads of the department to which they have been assigned, guide and coordinate the work of the department, as well as other activities assigned to them by the Ombudsman. They also supervise, guide and evaluate the senior and junior investigators of their department.

4. The senior investigators conduct the investigations, as well as any other related task assigned to them by the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman of the department to which they have been appointed, or defined in the present Presidential Decree.

5. The junior investigators support the senior investigators, collaborating with them for the better functioning of their department, and carry out any other task assigned to them by the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman in charge of their department, or the senior investigators with whom they collaborate, or defined in the present Presidential Decree.


 

Article 9
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The offices of the Authority are:
a) the Office of the Ombudsman and the Offices of the Deputy Ombudsmen.
b) the Secretariat of the Authority.


Article 10
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1. The Office of the Ombudsman assists the Ombudsman in exercising his duties, has the responsibility of the correspondence and the related records and data, organises the communication of the Ombudsman with the citizens, the judiciary and public authorities and services, the President and the Secretariat General of the Parliament and other public organizations.

2. Similar responsibilities are assigned to the Offices of the Deputy Ombudsmen.

Article 11
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1. The Secretariat of the Authority functions at the level of a department and consists of:


a) Sections:
1) Administration
2) Management of Finance
3) Secretarial support
4) Computer Applications
5) Communication and International Relations


b) Offices:
1) Administration
2) Supplies

The Office of the Administrative Support is subordinate to the Section of Administration and the Supplies Office falls under the Section of Management of Finance.

2. The Section of Administration is in charge of handling all issues pertaining to the service status of all the personnel of the Authority, as well as administrative support.

The Office of Administrative Support, which is subordinate to the Section of Administration, is in charge of the security, hygiene and the good order of the offices of the Authority.

3. The Section of Management of Finance is responsible for:


a) drawing up, modifying and executing the regular annual budget, as well as the budget of public investments.
b) Ordering and liquidation of salaries and other wages/payments for the Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsmen and the personnel of the Authority.
c) The management of every expenditure, as well as the responsibility for the collection of revenues/income

The Supplies Office, which is subordinate to the Section of Management of Finance, is assigned with:

a) the assessment and recording of all needs of the Authority in furniture, mechanical equipment, writing material/stationary, hygiene and other material.
b) the execution of all kinds of supplies,
c) the handling of material (taking delivery of, recording, stocking, distribution),
d) allocation of tasks and supervision of their execution,
e) liquidation of property.

4. The Section of Secretarial Support is entrusted with:


a) the maintenance of a correspondence protocol and the special complaint registration protocol (article 4, paragraph 3, Act 2477/97),
b) the forwarding of the correspondence and the reproduction of documents and texts,
c) the verification of copies or photocopies or certificates as true copies of the original, as well as verification of the authenticity of the signature.

5. The Section of Computer Applications is in charge of planning, development and maintenance of computer applications, the smooth operation of the computer system, the maintenance of the mechanical equipment and in general the support of the entire electronic system.

6. The Section of Communication and International Relations is entrusted with:


a) the organisation of the public relations of the Authority with the citizens, the public and private sector services, the Mass Media,
b) The operation of the Library,
c) The organisation of international relations of the Authority.

In the framework of its jurisdiction, the Section of Communication and International Relations is responsible for the issue of information pamphlets, recordings/registrations in the Mass Media, the organisation of meetings and conferences and the participation of representatives of the Authority in meetings at a national and international level. This section also draws up the weekly programme defined in paragraph 3 of article 2 of the present Presidential Decree.


 

Article 12
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1. Thirty (30) positions for permanent personnel, are established and distinguished in categories and fields as follows:

- six (6) positions for University Graduates in the field of Administration- Finance
- three (3) positions for University Graduates in the field of Communication
- three (3) positions for University Graduates in the field of Computers
- three (3) positions for Graduates of Technological Institutes in the field of Administration-Accounting
- two (2) positions for Graduates of Technological Institutes in the field of Computers
- nine (9) positions for Graduates of Secondary Education in the field of Administration- Finance
- two (2) positions for Graduates of Primary Education as Auxiliary Personnel
- two (2) positions Graduates of Secondary Education, technical experts, as drivers.


2. These thirty positions of permanent personnel are allocated in the sections of the Secretariat as follows:


a) Administration: three (3) positions university graduates in the field of Administration-Finance, three (3) positions with secondary education in the field of Administration-Finance and two (2) positions with secondary education, technical experts, as drivers.
b) Management of Finance: three (3) positions in the field of Administration-Accounting, with university education, two (2) positions in the field of Administration-Accounting with technological education and two (2) positions in the field of Administration-Accounting with secondary education.
c) Secretarial Support: one (1) position in the field of Administration-Accounting with technological education, three (3) positions in the field of Administration-Accounting with secondary education and two (2) positions for auxiliary personnel, with primary education.
d) Computer Applications: three (3) positions university graduates in the field of Computer Science, two (2) with technological education in the field of Computer Science.
e) Communication and International Relations: three (3) positions in the field of Communications, university graduates and one (1) position in the field of Administration-Accounting with secondary education.

3. The qualifications required for the appointment in the positions of paragraph 1, with the exception of the Communications field for university graduates, are those defined by Presidential Decree 194/1988, as this is applied every time, and in addition very good knowledge of Computers.
The qualifications required for appointment in the positions of Communications for university graduates is a national university diploma or an equivalent diploma of a foreign university in the field of communication, journalism and mass media. Excellent knowledge of at least one foreign language (english-french-german) defined every time in the announcement for applications, as well as very good knowledge of computers.

4. Added to the above number of positions in the Authority, are thirty (30) more positions for senior investigators under paragraph 1, article 5, Act 2477/1997 and thirty (30) positions for junior investigators under paragraph 1, article 8, Act 2623/1998, as well as seven (7) positions for personnel on private law labour contract under paragraph 1, article 8, Act 2623/98.

 

Article 13
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1. The Secretariat is supervised by a Director. The Director is selected, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 3, article 5, Act 2477/97, by the Ombudsman. He/she is a permanent civil servant , university graduate qualified for promotion to the rank of the Director, pursuant to the provisions of article 82, Act 2683/1999 (Official Government Gazette 19/A'/99)

2. The selection of the Director is achieved following a public call for applications in two daily newspapers. With this public call the Ombudsman invites those interested to submit an applications for selection within a time limit defined specifically for this purpose in the public call. This time limit may not be shorter than ten (10) days.
The public call defines the field or fields and possibly the specific expertise required from the candidates, the formal and substantial qualifications the candidates should possess, as well as certificates that should be attached to the application.

3. The Director is appointed for three (3) years and is seconded for this period to the Authority by decision of the Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, without the opinion of the Service Committee and as an exception to all the provisions in force, as defined in paragraph 3, article 5, Act 2477/1997.

 

Article 14 : Heads of Sections and Offices.
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1. The Sections of Administration and Management of Finance are supervised by a permanent civil servant university graduate in the field of Administration-Finance.

The Section of Secretarial Support is supervised by a permanent civil servant graduate of a technological institute in the field of Administration-Accounting.

The Section of Computer Applications is supervised by a permanent civil servant university graduate in the field of Computers.

The Section of Communication and International Relations is supervised by a permanent civil servant university graduate in the field of Communication, or, in case of lack of such specialization, in the field of Administration-Finance, who possesses excellent knowledge of a foreign language (English-French-German).

The Office of Supplies is supervised by a permanent civil servant graduate of a technological institute in the field of Administration-Accounting.

The Office of Administration Support is supervised by a permanent civil servant with secondary education in the field of Administration-Accounting.

2. Employees seconded to the Authority may be also appointed as supervisors of the sections and offices of the Secretariat by decision in conformity with the provisions of paragraph 5, article 5, Act 2477/1997.

 

Article 15 : Final and Interim Provisions.
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1. On first implementation of the present Presidential Decree, the positions in the Secretariat may, subject to the provisions of paragraph 2, be filled by means of transferring or seconding employees, following a public call for applications, from services or organisations defined in paragraph 5, article 8, Act 2623/1998, from the public sector, as an exception to the general and special provisions in force.
The seconded or transferred employees must have the qualifications for the position to which they are seconded or transferred. The public invitation is published in at least one daily newspaper and includes a description of : a) the positions to be filled by secondment or transfer, b) the required formal and substantial requirements, c) the deadline by which the candidates should submit their application, d) the certificates or other documents and details to be attached to the application.

2. As an exception and on first appointment to the relative positions, the personnel with university education in the field of Communication may be seconded employees with a university degree in the field of Administration-Finance, or other fields at university level, having the corresponding formal qualifications and an excellent knowledge of the English, French or German language. The foreign language is specified in the public call for applications.

3. The proof required for the very good knowledge of Computers is defined in the provisions of paragraph 3, article 2 of Presidential Decree 291/98 (Official Gazette 210/A'/98) as it applies every time.

4. The seven (7) positions referred to in paragraph 4, article 12 of the present Presidential Decree may, in conformity with the provisions of article 8, Act 2623/98, be filled by secondment of employees from services and organisations defined in paragraph 1, article 14, Act 2190/1994, as amended and supplemented with the provisions of article 1, Act 2527/97.


The Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization is entrusted with the publishing and execution of the present Decree.


Athens, 22 October 1999

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
CONSTANTINOS STEPHANOPOULOS

THE MINISTERS OF
INTERIOR, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DECENTRALIZATION
V. PAPANDREOU
FINANCE
N. CHRISTODOULAKIS

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