A record was reached in 2022 in the number of public complaints filed against civil services, with about 21,000 complaints submitted to the State Comptroller Office’s Public Complaints Department.
The state comptroller released an analysis of the complaints on Monday, saying there was a 6% increase in complaints from the previous year. Some 44% of the complaints that could be addressed by the office were found to have been justified.
The most complained about state bodies in 2022 were the Transportation Ministry and Economy Ministry, with the National Insurance Institute taking third place. The state comptroller noted that in general the greater number of people a state office serviced, the more complaints were filed against it. Proportionately, a large civil service may actually be complained about less than a small office.
Customer service complaints
Just over 36% of the complaints pertained to customer service received from state bodies. Over half of customer service complaints were found to be correct.
“State bodies must conduct themselves as service providers in a competitive market, and improve their attitude and the service that they provide,” said State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman. “I urge anyone who has been wronged by state authorities to complain to our office. It is important that the state authorities learn from the cases presented in the report and act to correct the failures.”
One man complained that he was being taxed by the Tax Authority based on a company founded in his name a year before he was born. The complaints commission discovered that the founder of the company was a foreign citizen with the same first name and a passport number as the complainant’s identity number.
A complaint about the Population and Immigration Authority, which was the fourth-most complained about civil service, claimed that the office refused to enter a baby born at home into the population registry. Even after the matter was taken to court and evidence was presented, the authority would not register the newborn. It was only after the State Comptroller’s Office intervened that the baby was registered.
The Economy Ministry’s Parental Employment Department received 7.7 times more complaints than in 2021, and made up the bulk of the Economy Ministry issues. Around 80% of these complaints were found to be justified.
The Parental Employment Department, which subsidized parents entering the workforce by paying for daycare, according to complainants, had an unhelpful hotline. When the inactive hotline was available, citizens were subjected to waits as long as two hours and no options to receive information on the queue or leave a phone number.
The Public Complaints Department also serves as a means for whistleblowers to report corruption. Sixty-one civil service employees filed complaints that they had been bullied by their superiors after exposing acts of corruption. Seven received temporary protection from the state comptroller.
Some 58.2% of all complaints in 2022 were filed by men. They filed more about customer service, taxes and economic issues, while women reportedly filed more complaints about pensions, social security, housing and education. Some 87% of complaints were filed by Jews, and only 7% by Muslims. The proportion of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) complainants increased by around 53%.
The State Comptroller’s Public Complaints Department was established in 1971 to collect and investigate complaints from the public about the civil services. The department offers services in Arabic, Amharic, Russian, French, Spanish and English.