Complaints to the Ombudsman about public services remained high last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ombudsman Peter Tyndall's latest report.

Government Departments and Offices, which include the Department of Social Protection, were the largest source of complaints to the Ombudsman in 2020, making up a third of the almost 3,500 complaints made to the office.

Local authorities were the source of 26% of complaints, followed by the health and social care sector at 18%.

The office received 3,418 complaints last year - a drop of 6% from 2019 figures, but the highest number since 2015.

In his Annual Report 2020 report, Mr Tyndall reiterated his concern about the continued reliance on congregated settings, including those for people with disabilities, in Ireland and said people need to bring a sense of urgency to tackling such issues.

Mr Tyndall also announced his decision to step down after almost eight years in office.

"Covid has shown us how flexible and capable our public services can be in a crisis," he said.

"We need to bring that urgency and 'can do' philosophy to tackling issues with congregated settings including those for people with disabilities and applicants for international protection.

"That would be a heart-warming legacy from a grim year."

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Tydell said the level of complaints in 2020 were similar to any other year, but there were reports about things specific to the pandemic - such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Mr Tyndall said the Department of Social Protection had to set the scheme up at short notice and normally complaints would come to his office after an appeals process. However, there was no appeals process in place but his office was able to work with the Department and ensure an appeals process was put in place.

He said that he was not too perturbed by the level of complaints about public bodies and most of them are doing a decent job.

Some of the schemes they are administering are very complex, he said, and changes have been brought about in areas where there are large volumes of complaints.