One of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s objectives for the organisation is to promote the international spread of the idea of legal control through independent ombudsman institutions.
To achieve this goal, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen shall, to the fullest extent possible, receive individuals and delegations wishing to visit the Parliamentary Ombudsmen and provide them with information on the organisation. In addition, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen shall participate in international contexts and disseminate information about its work. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen shall also support and exchange knowledge and experiences with foreign ombudsman institutions.
In working towards this goal, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has, for example, carried out the following activities this year.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen has received 26 visits. One of the visits, initiated by the Swedish Civil Rights Defenders, consisted of a group of specialists from Russia and Lithuania who work to improve the situation for detainees in their homelands. The group was interested in obtaining information about the work of the Opcat Unit and the Parliamentary Ombudsmen in this area.
Another visit, from Colombia and Central America, was conducted within the framework of strengthening freedom of speech in the world. Furthermore, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen was visited by the national audit in Palestine, the State Audit Administrative Control Bureau. This body has collaborated with the National Audit Office since 2013. Topics discussed during the visit included the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s complaints management. Finally, it can be mentioned that the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has also received several visits from South Korea this year.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen and the employees at the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen have actively participated in foreign conferences and seminars.
Among others, Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman Elisabeth Rynning, Parliamentary Ombudsman Cecilia Renfors, Parliamentary Ombudsman Thomas Norling, Head of Secretariat Agneta Lundgren and International Co-ordination Director Charlotte De Geer Fällman participated in the Nordic ombudsman meeting in Helsinki, Finland in August 2018. The meeting addressed questions concerning the jurisdiction of the ombudsmen, the Venice Commission’s proposed recommendations regarding ombudsman institutions (Principles on the protection and promotion of the ombudsman institution), children and young people as parties in administrative cases and in complaints received by the ombudsmen, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the transition from manual to digital administration and how the ombudsman institutions shall handle the increased number of complaint cases.
Furthermore, it can be mentioned, that in October 2018, Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman Elisabeth Rynning and Head of Division Charlotte Håkansson participated in a workshop regarding investigations on the ombudsman’s own initiative, organised by the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and the Northern Ireland Ombudsman in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Finally, in May 2019, Head of Secretariat Agneta Lundgren and International Co-ordination Director Charlotte De Geer Fällman participated in a Nordic administrative meeting organised by the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the meeting, various administrative issues of common interest for the Nordic countries were discussed, for example, issues relating to GDPR, automated registration, case management, goal and performance management, and skills development. In parallel with this meeting, the Nordic communications officers and information officers also arranged to meet. This meeting was attended by Public Relations Manager Anders Jansson from the Parliamentary Ombudsmen.