Catalan Ombudsman increases pressure on Benidorm and Sant Joan over lack of transparency

Greuges Ombudsman, Angel Moon, increasing pressure on transparency on municipal councils in Benidorm and Sant Joan d’Alacant. The regional ombudsman condemned the closure of access to the documents of the government team to the opposition in the new mandate that emerged after the municipal elections held last year in these two councils where the People’s Party is in power. Both municipal councils, chaired by mayors Toni Pérez and Santiago Román, defend this measure based on the work carried out by the Secretariat and in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Law.

In both cases, this was reported to the authorities. Greuges Ombudsman through the main opposition group PSPV-PSOE and municipal spokespeople Cristina Escoda and Esther Donate, respectively. In the Benidorm case, the socialist municipal group informed Ángel Luna that he did not have access to the City Council’s entry and exit register; This was something PP councilors could do. The regional body closed the file before the government team could change its position, but the regional ombudsman warned, as in his intervention at the Municipal Forum, that he had recently observed a decline in local democracy. Created by INFORMACIÓN on 27 November.

Resolution

In the Ombudsman’s closing decision, Benidorm Town Hall It clearly violates the right of the socialist spokesperson, who is the author of the complaint, to directly access the information in the entry and exit logs of documents via the municipal computer platform, without the need for permission. “Opposition councilors cannot even access the list or electronic image of the description of the seats included in the entry and exit register, which does not pose any legal problems, as there is no personal data in the description of the specially protected seats in question.” resolution.

Regarding the complaint submitted by the municipal socialist group Sant Joan, the main complaint is that the government team headed by Santiago Román is denied access to information necessary to carry out its opposition and surveillance work. In this case, access to the decree book, check-in or budget information is included. They state that they made “repeated” requests from PSPV to PP that were ignored, thus violating the regulations supporting access to this data set.

The Ombudsman does not share the view held by the government team of the Sant Joan City Council and this is stated in his decision, which he defends for various reasons. These include, for example, ensuring that all councilors, both those who are part of the government team and those on the government team, have the right to access public information. opposition. Another reason put forward by Ángel Luna is that domestic regulations should be implemented in accordance with the principle of interpretation most appropriate to the effectiveness of fundamental rights. As a result, the regional ombudsman considers that councilors have the right to free and electronic access to municipal information.

Reply

Lourdes Caselles, spokesperson of the Benidorm government team and Member of the Town Planning Council, assured that, given the situations in Benidorm and Sant Joan, action was taken in line with the instructions of the Secretariat, adding that this would facilitate the access of councilors. Review documentation may pose a risk to the appropriate protection of the personal information of affected persons.

The Sant Joan government team speaks along the same lines and assures that they follow the criteria set by the Commission. SecretaryThey describe it as “very meticulous” when it comes to guaranteeing data protection of data subjects. In this sense, they state that even City Council technicians or advisors to the government team do not have access to files or information.

Lack of cooperation increased by 7.9 percent in one year

Besides reporting that the municipal councils of Benidorm and Sant Joan d’Alacant have blocked opposition access to documents, Greuges Ombudsman Ángel Luna has shared other data in recent weeks that led him to think: the decline in the quality of local democracy in the last twelve months. Among these, he shared, for example, that the non-cooperation of municipal councils in the province with the autonomous body increased by 7.9% last year.

Source: Informacion

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