The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions.
R.S. applied for child benefits on the 4th of February 2016. On the 18th of March 2016, he also handed in information regarding the investigation of his wife M.S.’s case on insurance affiliation. Försäkringskassan did not initiate the case on insurance affiliation until four and a half month had passed. M.S. received insurance affiliation in Sweden on the 18th of August 2016 but it was not until the 6th of February 2017 that Försäkringskassan took a decision on R.S.’s case. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen notes that Försäkringskassan’s slow processing was not due to difficulties in obtaining documents from a foreign country, which the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has recognized in previous cases, but due to Försäkringskassan’s own lack of initiative.
By request of the Court of Appeal, a personal case study was initiated on a person sentenced to prison by the District Court. During the District Court’s processing of the case the Probation Authority had handed in two statements. The purpose of the Court of Appeal’s decision to collect a third statement from the Probation Authority was to examine the preconditions for a court-imposed care order. In spite of this, the Probation Authority decided to terminate the investigation into a court-imposed care order without leaving a suggestion on a specific treatment. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen is critical towards the fact that the Probation Authority terminated the investigation with reference to the penal value established by the District Court. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, it is evident that the Court of Appeal asked for an additional investigation regarding a court-imposed care order not to rule out the possibility of such an order. As the investigation of the court-imposed care order was terminated, the case officer that conducted the personal case study concluded that it was not necessary to account for the involvement with the social services in the statement’s review. As a result of this the notes on the social service’s involvement were disposed of. As the statement’s material was disposed of, according to the Prison and Probation Service’s guidelines on personal case studies and probation, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen finds no reason to direct criticism against the Probation Authority for the lack of documentation. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen emphasise that there are requirements on establishing complete records even when the Probation Authority terminates an investigation into a court-imposed care order without a suggested treatment. Because of this, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen intends to follow up on the Prison and Probation Service’s planned measures to modify the regulations on documentation.
In a complaint case against the Competition Authority, the complainant declared that the Competition Authority had committed several errors during an investigation of suspected abuse of a dominant position.
According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, the Competition Authority’s investigation took longer time than what was needed. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also directs criticism against the Competition Authority for, in several cases, delaying to establish official notes during investigations.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen further states that the Competition Authority, in connection to a confidentiality assessment against a party in the case, on a number of occasions, failed in conducting an accurate assessment when handing out information, already at the time when the complainant made their original request.
The matters raised by the complainant regarding the investigation being too extensive and onerous, and that interrogators were not allowed to look over transcripts of their enquiry, will not lead to any criticism.
A woman, born in 1937, was granted assistance in the form of a nursing home with home-help service. She lived in her own apartment at the nursing home in accordance with a special rental contract. The rental contract was accompanied by a right to spend time in the nursing home’s common areas. The question in the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s case is whether the administration had reason to notify the woman that she was not permitted to use her tablet for video calls in the nursing home’s common areas due to the rules of order that applied for the nursing home.
When several people live in a housing unit, it may in the view of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen be necessary for several reasons to have certain rules of order regarding the common living environment, which among other things aim to create security and comfort for all who live there. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen therefore see no inherent obstacle to certain rules of order being set up for common areas at a housing unit.
In the assessment of whether the administration had reason for its notice to the woman, one must take into account the woman’s strive to live like anyone else to the furthest extent possible and her right to self-determination, as well as the justified interest of the respect for the integrity of other residents.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen state that, depending among other things on individual needs and wishes of the elderly and the structure of the premises, it should be possible to find practical solutions without disregarding any of the above interests.
In light of this, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen doubt that the woman was entirely prohibited as a result of the municipality’s rules of order from making video calls on her tablet in the nursing home’s common areas. The administration should have reasonably been able to arrange the matter so that the woman could have made her calls without it entailing any conflict with other interests in the operations. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen do not consider there to be adequate reason to express any criticism against the administration.
A woman had been taken into custody for intoxication and asked to use the toilet. The staff in the police jail directed her to pee in a hole in the floor which had no possibility of flushing afterwards. The primary reason for this was a local procedure at the jail according to which detained persons are normally not taken out of the cells for toilet visits between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. In its decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman stated that such a procedure is unacceptable and is also incompatible with how a person taken into custody in a police jail ought to be received and treated. The Parliamentary Ombudsman criticizes the Swedish Police Authority for directing the woman to relieve herself in a hole in the floor when she had asked to use the toilet.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman also states that the right of a detained person to use a toilet may need to be restricted in some circumstances, for example if the detained person’s condition is such that he or she cannot be taken to a toilet, and that it is acceptable that a detained person may sometimes have to wait to visit the toilet if this is necessary for security reasons, or due to the workload of the jail guards. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that the manning in a jail must be dimensioned in such a way that it is possible to allow detained persons to visit a toilet within a reasonable period of time at all hours of the day and night.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman also directs criticism at the Swedish Police Authority for allowing the woman to keep only her underclothing on in the jail, and not offering her a blanket or other similar means to warm and cover herself.
During an ongoing custody dispute, a teacher sent an email to pupil N.N.’s father. In the email, the teacher inter alia expressed an opinion about N.N.’s mother. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has previously pronounced that staff at pre-schools and schools are to remain neutral in the event of custody disputes, etc. That a teacher has email contact with one parent is a natural element of the pre-school’s activities. Special care ought to be taken therefore when there is a custody dispute between the parents of a pupil.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman criticizes the teacher for expressing an opinion about N.N.’s mother in an email in a way that was not neutral.
A building inspector expressed himself in a way that is not acceptable in two email messages to an individual. The Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the building inspector’s action was contrary to the requirement of objectivity set forth in Chapter 1 Section 9 of Sweden’s Instrument of Government and the building inspector is severely criticized.
A parent complained about the District Council's processing of her request to receive copies of photographs and videos containing images of her son, which had been taken and recorded at her son’s pre-school.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman notes in its decision that photographs and videos recorded as part of a preschool’s activities can often be deemed to have been created in the sense described in Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act right at the time that they are taken/recorded. Such documents are therefore deemed official and a request for access to them is to be processed in accordance with the provisions of Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act.
The District Council is criticized in the decision for not having dealt with the parent’s request to obtain copies of the documents with the promptness that the Freedom of the Press Act requires.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s investigation points to significant failures in the placement of unaccompanied minors and the social service’s follow up of the minor’s care.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2015/16.
The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsmen - JOBox 16327 • SE-103 26 Stockholm • SwedenVisiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 AOpening hours: 9.00–12.00, 13.00–15.00