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.
A unit for adult care in Stockholm municipality sent a report due to concern to the Social Welfare Board in Kumla municipality regarding a man with a substance abuse problem. The report included detailed information regarding the man’s situation. As soon as the board received the report the board started an investigation pursuant to chapter 11, section 1 of the Social Services Act (SoL). The Social Welfare Board sent an appointment to the man’s registered address in Kumla municipality and made a phone call to a social welfare worker in Stockholm municipality. The information that was collected from the social welfare worker was not registered. The case was later closed without any measure.
According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen's understanding, given the information in the report due to concern, there were adequate reasons to start an investigation pursuant to section 7 of the Care of Abusers Special Provisions Act (LVM). If an investigation had been pursued accordingly, the Social Welfare Board would have been able to rapidly collect information concerning the man from other authorities without any restraints. The board had also managed to set up a doctor’s appointment for the man.
When information from a person that is operative within the field of substance abuse reach the Social Welfare Board the assumption is that the board shall use the information to make sure that the need for possible measures is investigated in such a manner that the investigation may form the basis for an accurate decision. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen a more significant investigation should have been pursued of the man’s situation. The Social Welfare Board’s investigation did not live up to the condition that should be met. The measures taken were not adequate or sufficient. In addition, the collected information, that was substantial for the case, were not registered.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Social Welfare Board in Kumla municipality for neglecting to investigate the case pursuant to section 7 of the Care of Abusers Special Provisions Act (LVM) and for their lack in investigating the case pursuant to chapter 11, section 1 of the Social Services Act (SoL).
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen will send a copy of this decision to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate for knowledge.
The Child and Education Administration sent an e-mail with a student’s medical certificate through a web based e-mail server to the student’s custodian and other officials. Certain security measures should have been taken to make sure that only the right person could access the information and that the information was transferred in a secure way (for example through encryption). Neglecting to carry out these security measures created a risk that others, i.e. unauthorized receivers, could take part in the information. The administration is criticised for their management of the correspondence. Moreover, the administration is criticised for delaying almost seven months to answer questions from the student’s father regarding, among other things, the administration of the medical certificate.
The Migration Agency decided to transfer an individual to Germany pursuant to the Dublin Regulation. The Migration Agency had not handed over the execution of the decision, and the Police Authority was not authorized to take a decision regarding detention and execution. In spite of this, a police officer took a decision on detention and execution. The police officer’s decision regarding the detention was based on a regulation that was not applicable. The next day, following upon a contact with the Migration Agency, the decision was adjusted which led to, among other things, a new legal assessment. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen notes that the information in the decision regarding the grounds for the detention was very brief and the Police Authority was not able, not even in hindsight, to recognize the grounds on which the decision was based upon. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen's understanding the processing of this case gives the impression that the legal prerequisites for detaining an individual was not applied by the Police Authority and that the authority decided to detain the individual as well as execute the transfer with force, in spite of the factual circumstances. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs severe criticism towards the police officer and the Police Authority for this occurrence.
Following upon a request by the Police Authority, the Migration Agency decided to detain the individual, in spite of the fact that the Police Authority was not authorised to take such a decision. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that the case demonstrates that the Migration Agency need to take part in a detention decision, and, in the present case, the decision on removal, which form the basis for a motion on detention measures. Such strategy will allow the Migration Agency to discover if a decision is incomplete. If such faults exist, there may be reasons to conduct further check-ups of the legality of the decision. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, there are reasons to believe that the Migration Agency, when conducting such examinations, are able to discover if a detention decision lack legal basis. The Migration Agency is criticised for taking a decision prior to taking part in the Police Authority’s adjustment of the detention decision and for neglecting to conduct an adequate control of the legality of the detention decision.
In two cases the Medical Products Agency has advertised vacancies on the authority’s internal web page and notice board, while the advertisement of a third vacancy was advertised on the authority’s external web page. None of the three vacancies were reported to Arbetsförmedlingen.
An authority that intends to employ is obligated, according to the Employment Regulation, to advertise their vacancies adequately so that those interested in the employment are able to apply. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen notes that individuals interested in a vacancy may exist both within and outside of the authority. Therefore, to be able to reach all interested parties, an advertisement on the authority’s internal webpage and notice board is not enough. An advert on the authority’s external web page, and/or in the daily and periodical press, are, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, suitable ways to spread information concerning a vacancy to individuals that are interested in an employment.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Medical Products Agency for not advertising the two vacancies in such a manner that interested parties outside of the authority could access information regarding the vacancies. The authority is also criticised for not reporting the three vacancies to Arbetsförmedlingen pursuant to the Public Employment Regulation, and for, during a certain time period, applying an employment instruction within the authority, that was not in accordance to applicable legislation.
An administrator at the Social Services handed out a certificate to a parent that intended to apply for a passport for the child, without the other parent’s consent. The certificate included information regarding the other parent that was of a sensitive and personal nature.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen makes statements regarding the Social Services’ policies on issuing certificates.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the City District Board for, among other things, issuing a certificate that may lead to their objectiveness being questioned, and for releasing information that was of a sensitive and personal nature.
An individual below the age of 18 was placed in a detention centre with restrictions. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen emphasise that individuals below the age of 18 deprived of their liberty should belong to a “protected group” and that the Prison and Probation Service holds a particular responsibility during these circumstances to make sure that the minor is not isolated. It is not acceptable, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, to allow a minor to make their own decisions on when to participate in activities with other detainees, and if a minor keeps avoiding the activities it is significant that this is registered and followed up upon. In the present case, it appears as if a minor has had access to common activities less than two hours per day, which is minimum, according to the Prison and Probation Service’s guidelines regarding minors held in detention. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen states, regarding this separate case, that it is difficult to direct criticism towards the detention centre’s management of the joint activities, but concludes that the lack to register these circumstances complicates the Prison and Probation Service’s follow up of internal goal as well as external check-ups of the operations. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen also emphasise the importance of the staff members’ involvement and dedication to encourage the minors to take part in joint activities. Measures regarding joint activities have also become relevant in other complaints, therefore the Parliamentary Ombudsmen will return to this question.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the detention centre as the staff members at the detention centre put a condition on a minor to restore damaged property before the minor could move to another unit. The detention centre is also criticised for their management of a minor’s schooling and for their slow processing in two matters of possession.
In connection to a sequence of Opcat inspections of prisons that receive only women the Parliamentary Ombudsmen observed that the situation for female inmates with accompanied children, as well as pregnant women, was not recognized in a clear and consistent way by the Prison and Probation Service in regards to planning, placement and execution of penalties. An enquiry was initiated to further investigate cases regarding the two categories of inmates.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the Prison and Probation Service for not considering the fact that a female inmate cares for an infant or is pregnant, when assessing a suitable placement. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen encourage the Prison and Probation Service to consider adapting placements for inmates with accompanying children, at certain prisons, where the inmates as well as the children’s needs can be met in a satisfactory manner. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also holds that female inmates with accompanied children should not be referred to only parental leave during their execution. The Prison and Probation Service should look over their routines and develop a cooperation with external actors to be able to offer inmates with accompanied children an acceptable content for the execution in addition to the parental leave. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen states, in regards to pregnant inmates, that prisons, in good time prior to child birth, conduct an assessment in consultation with the relevant obstetric clinic and so forth informs the pregnant woman of all necessary information regarding the planned measures.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen notes that the Prison and Probation Service has initiated an important assignment to correct failures observed when looking into the authority’s efforts regarding inmates with accompanying children as well as pregnant inmates in prison. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen will conduct a follow up on these questions.
From December 2016 to July 2017, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen received a large amount of complaints against the Enforcement Authority. A reoccurring complaint was due to the authority’s lack of keeping records of completed payments, which had resulted in consequences for the complainants, inter alia; it led to incomplete investigations and distrains as well as delays in the authority’s repayments.
In the authority’s referral response to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, the Enforcement Authority admits to the failures that the complainants have observed. The authority regrets the mistakes that have occurred and the inconvenience that the deficient processing has led to. The Enforcement Authority accounts for their failures in the asset management and for several measures taken to correct these failures.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen states that the authority’s management of restraints has not been in compliance to the instructions of how to administer the procedures according to the rule of law, as well as being cost efficient and done simply. The reason why these mistakes have occurred is, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, mistakes and failures in the authority’s asset management. To administer these duties according to the authority’s functions is the obligation of the senior management; the Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs severe criticism towards the Enforcement Authority.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen will hand over a copy of this decision to the Ministry of Finance for knowledge.
Visit from China on December 8, a delegation from CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of China
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2016/17.
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