POWER to the People was the slogan underpinning a move by Palma City Council yesterday when it was announced that ex-Chamber of Commerce president Miquel Lladó Oliver is to take issues affecting the everyday citizens of Palma directly to the politicians.
In the Council's next plenary session, Oliver is to be officially named as Citizen Defence Councillor, a responsibility he will take on along with his other commitments to Real Mallorca football club, the Majorcan Economic Forum and Mapfre's Territorial Managerial Board.
Although Lladó will have no direct political power, he will act as a highly important link between Palma City Council and the residents of the city whose needs and complaints they have been voted to hear. The scheme is not a new one as such a system is already in place in other Spanish cities such as Malaga, Oviedo and Granada.
The practice has been in place in Malaga for two years now and has proved very positive. In 2006, according to a local government spokesman, 65 percent of the 2'286 complaints brought to the attention of the ombudsman were successfully dealt with.
Taking note of what really affects people's lives will be Lladó's number one task in which he will be analysing petitions and complaints in a systematic order, ably assisted by five other people including a local police officer.
Technology will play its part in the process with e-mail considered the fastest way for claims and complaints to reach the political panel responsible for providing solutions. Another direct way of making issues known to Palma's City Council on an individual basis is to request an interview with the ombudsman. In order to accomplish this, it will be necessary to make a prior appointment through the Citizens' Defence offices. The service provided to the everyday people of Palma will be monitored on an annual basis and so it will be in 2009 that a full report on how efficient the complaints and solutions system has proved over the course of the year.
This will not be the first time that Lladó has defended the collective interest. In 1977 he co-founded the Federation of Balearic Business Associations (CAEB) which he led for eight years.