Team

On 10 December 2021, Catherine De Bruecker was appointed first Brussels Ombudswoman, with a 5-year mandate. She works with a team of 10. Meet her team!

Meet the team!
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Ombuds Brussels operates a participatory management model, based on collective intelligence. The institution is structured around 5 areas of expertise, which each play their own specific role in the pursuit of its mission, to wit "enhancing good governance and ensuring that the Brussels administrations respect citizens' rights".

  1. The Complaints Division receives and handles complaints about the Brussels public services.
  2. The Integrity Division receives and deals with reports involving breaches of professional integrity and ensures that whistle-blowers are protected.
  3. The Inquiry Division is tasked with conducting inquiries into the functioning of the Brussels public services.
  4. The Administrative, Financial and Personnel Management Division
  5. The Communication and External Relations Division

Ombuds Brussels operates on the basis of its members' sense of responsibility, participation and flexibility.

Presentation of the team

Catherine De Bruecker

Brussels Ombudswoman

« The office of ombuds would not be able to operate without a team of qualified co-workers, as they are the actual resource of the institution, and as it is they who ensure its continuity. »

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Catherine De Bruecker was sworn in as Brussels Ombudswoman on 16 December 2021. 

She has more than 20 years’ experience working for the Federal Ombudsman, initially as auditor, specialised in the protection of fundamental rights, and in the field of asylum and migration. In 2005, the Chamber of Representatives appointed her French-speaking Federal Ombudswoman, for two successive mandates. She held that office until 2021. As Federal Ombudswoman, she chaired the Belgian “Ombudsman.be” network from 2011 until 2014. 

Her peers appointed her vice president of the IOI-EU (International Ombudsman Institute – section Europe), a role she held from 2016 until 2020. Within the IOI, she was highly involved in developing international standards for the Ombudsman institutions. 

Catherine is quadrilingual, has a law degree from the Université libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels) and a complementary Master’s in European Law from the Institute for European Studies. She started her career as lawyer before turning her attention to mediation.

Louise Degryse

Communications and External Relations Officer

« I am committed to developing an external communication that is inclusive, with a particular focus on the people in Brussels who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. »

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Louise joined the Ombuds Brussels team in August 2022 and is in charge of communication and the institution’s external relations.

Holder of a degree in Communication and Development Cooperation, Louise has seven years’ professional experience working in the public sector (RTBF and Unia). She also spent close on two years working as a humanitarian in Diego-Suarez (Madagascar).

Nadia Djelassi

Frontofficer and Complaints Handler

« Finding a solution to the problems my fellow citizens are faced with, that’s what motivates me day after day. »

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Nadia has been part of the Ombuds Brussels team since July 2023. Her job? Taking receipt of complaints, offering the public a quality welcome, and steering anyone who contacts Ombuds Brussels in the right direction.

Before she joined Ombuds Brussels, Nadia worked at the Public Centre for Social Welfare (CPAS/OCMW) in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert for 11 years.

Nadia studied Administrative Sciences at the Cooremans Institute in Brussels.

Alexandra Gjurova

Complaints Manager

« There seems to be a huge gap between citizens and the administrations at times. My brief? Bridging that gap by offering a listening ear and bringing about constructive dialogue in an often complex legal context. »

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Alexandra is the Ombuds Brussels complaints manager and legal advisor. She joined the team on 16 January 2023, after having completed her doctoral thesis. 

Before that, she obtained her Master’s of Laws at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), specialisation constitutional and administrative law. 

She started her career as a lawyer at the Ghent Bar, practising constitutional and administrative law & disciplinary law in the civil service and the police.

Catherine Hallin

Integrity and Inquiries Collaborator

« In a democracy, it is truly essential to have fair public services that are mindful of people’s fundamental rights and the common good, a sine qua non if the population is to be provided with a quality service and citizens are to have confidence in their institutions.  »

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Catherine joined the Integrity and Inquiry Division of Ombuds Brussels in October 2023.

She helps with the processing of complaints, the follow-up of breaches of professional integrity within the Brussels authorities, the protection of whistle-blowers and participates in thematic inquiries.

With more than 10 years’ experience as an internal auditor within the General Inspectorate of the Federal and Local Police (AIG) and the SNCB-NMBS, she brings a wealth of expertise in internal control to the team.

Catherine has a Bachelor’s of Laws and Criminal Sciences from the Université libre de Bruxelles, and holds a specialist’s certificate in internal control from the International Control Institute

Louis Hancisse

Integrity and Inquiries Manager

« Ensuring the integrity of public services strengthens our rule of law and renews public confidence in our institutions. »

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Louis joined Ombuds Brussels in August 2022, having gained five years’ experience at the Federal Ombudsman’s Integrity Centre. Prior to that, he had various roles in the fight against criminality and corruption at the European Commission and Transparency International.

Louis has a degree in Political Sciences (UCLouvain) and European Studies (College of Europe). He specialised in forensic auditing, is certificated, and a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and of the Institute of Fraud Auditors (IFA – Belgium).

Jean-Yves Makuanga

Complaints and Inquiries Collaborator

« Based on the complaints we get, I want to help improve the workings of the Brussels administrations for the benefit of the men and women living in Brussels. »

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Jean-Yves joined Ombuds Brussels at the start of November 2022, after having worked for Talent.brussels for four years. 

He was inter alia involved in setting up talentAnalytics.brussels (Regional Public Service Observatory). 

Jean-Yves also worked for the FPS Finance as a SECAL (maintenance division) file administrator. Trained in ERM and with a degree in Economic Sciences, he brings his talent for analytics to the Ombuds Brussels team.

Adam Piotrowski

Frontofficer and Complaints Handler

« I would like to do my bit to restore faith in and promote dialogue between the residents of Brussels and the various administrations. »

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Adam joined the Ombuds Brussels team as receptionist and complaints handler in June 2024.

Adam is a qualified educator, specialised in psycho-educational support, and has 3 years’ professional experience coordinating street social workers within the municipal administration of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Prior to that, he spent 2 years working in the youth outreach sector.

At that, he co-founded a non-profit organisation that takes an active stand against poverty and the digital divide.

Gabriel Ouli

Complaints and Inquiries Collaborator

« Service to citizens and to society in general forms part of my fundamental values. »

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Having joined Ombuds Brussels in February 2023, Gabriel’s professional experience working as project manager for Child Focus and as manager of the civil status and population department of the municipality of Forest really stands to the team.

Gabriel has a degree in Political Sciences and International Relations from the Université libre de Bruxelles.

Sammy De Ridder

Complaints and Inquiries Collaborator

« The first step towards an efficient public service is to re-establish and reinforce citizens’ confidence in the public service. »

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Sammy was the second member of staff to join the institution, in July 2022, tasked with setting up the Complaints Division.

Sammy has extensive experience working for public institutions, both at municipal and federal level.

Bachelor of Laws and holder of a postgraduate degree in Mediation, he started his career as documentalist at the Council of State before being appointed legal advisor, first to the City of Hasselt, and then to the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) and the Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and enriched Fissile Material (ONDRAF/NIRAS).

Cathy Vanderwildt

Office Manager

« Working in human resources for an ombuds service means being sensitive to others at all times, an incentive to get out of bed for in the morning! »

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Cathy was the first member of staff to join Ombuds Brussels in June 2022. On the back of a most varied career, she takes care of the administrative, financial and HR affairs within Ombuds Brussels. Prior to that, she inter alia worked in the Human Resources Department of the Regional Public Service Brussels, as project manager at the Federal Ombudsman, and in a shelter for homeless youngsters run by Les Petits Riens.

She obtained a degree in Information and Communication from the Université libre de Bruxelles.

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