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Workshop: The Local Ombudsman
On December 14-15, 2002, a Workshop on the Local Ombudsman was held in Sofia. The event was organized jointly by the Center for the Study of Democracy, the British Council in Bulgaria and the Sofia Municipality Civic Mediator and focused primarily on the mechanisms for establishing Ombudsman institutions on local level, the activities of and the difficulties met by the local ombudsmen operating in different municipalities, as well as the opportunities for developing their mutual cooperation. The workshop brought together representatives of local Ombudsman type institutions from the whole country as well as lawyers, experts, representatives of local authorities, non-governmental organizations, etc.

Guest speaker at the workshop was Mr. Peter McMahon, Deputy Ombudsman of London, who presented the legal framework of the different Ombudsman type institutions (specialized and local) in the UK and the activity of the office of the London Ombudsman.

Mr. Konstantin Tanev and Mr. Dimitar Markov from the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) presented the activities of the Center for establishing the Ombudsman institution in Bulgaria and the structure of the Ombudsman Information Network developed by the CSD Law Program.

Mr. Vladimir Filipov, Secretary at the Krasna Poliana Region in Sofia, acquainted the participants with the activity of the Citizens' Advice Bureaus as an alternative to the Ombudsman institution. Ms. Teodora Kaleinska, Director of the European Information Centre - Veliko Turnovo, presented the establishment of the Local Mediator institution in Veliko Turnovo Municipality.

Two Round Tables were carried out: one on Establishment of the Ombudsman Institution on Local Level - Practice and Prospectives, moderated by Dr. Zhivka Damianova, Coordinator of Coalition 2000, and one on Establishment of National Association of Local Ombudsmen in Bulgaria, moderated by Mr. Konstantin Tanev. The Round Tables featured brief statements by the local ombudsmen of Sofia, Veliko Turnovo, Razgrad, etc., followed by animated discussions. As a result the participants made a decision to establish a National Association of Local Ombudsmen in Bulgaria and set up a Task Force to improve the elaborated statute of the Association and to organize its Constituent Assembly.

Agenda of the workshop

Available in Bulgarian
Full records of the discussion in PDF (784 kb)
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