Transport and housing are giving Flemings most cause for complaint

The Flemish authorities have received 309,275 complaints during the current legislature that got under way at the end of May 2014. The number of complaints received is up by 28% on the 2009-2014 legislature. Transport issues, especially issues with public transport, and issues concerning housing are the main causes for complaint. 

The figure of 309,275 for the 2014-2019 legislature is well up on the 242,050 complaints received during the 2009-2014 legislature.

The figures come from a report compiled by the Flemish Ombudsman Bart Weekers. Mr Weekers told VRT News that while it is true that the number of complaints has risen sharply it is also the case that it has become easier to complain.  

Flemings are most of all concerned about their “most precious possession”, their home. Issues related to housing such as energy efficiency requirements, utilities and compensation claims are the subject of many of the complaints received by the Ombudsman. It is also the case that many areas of policy that affect home-owners and tenants fall under the remit of the Flemish Government.        

From De Lijn to advertising for gambling

A large portion of the complaints received about transport relate to the Flemish public transport company De Lijn. One major bugbear are De Lijn tickets that are valid for 1 hour as they don’t take in consideration delays caused by traffic congestion.  .

In his report, the Flemish Ombudsman recommends banning all advertising for gambling on the VRT.

"This is an issue that above all emerged during the World Cup. People were irritated by the large amount of advertising for gaming companies before and after the games”.   

Mr Weekers believes that the complaints were not unjustified.

"The VRT says that it should play an exemplary role in all areas. In which case the VRT should take the lead regarding advertising for gambling”.

However, the Flemish Ombudsman goes further than just online gaming sites and says that the way in which the National Lottery is promoted on the VRT should also be looked at. 

Many more issues resolved

There has also been a big increase in the number disputes between citizens and the Flemish authorities that were resolved by arbitration. Over the past five years the number of disputes resolved in this way doubled to 10,678 in 2018.

The Flemish Ombudsmans wants this positive evolution to continue. He hopes that 100,000 (20,000 per annum) complaints will be resolved amicably during the next legislature.