Administrative directives

Administrative Directives for the Parliamentary Ombudsmen

Valid from 15 February 2012.
Latest revision 22 December 2017. The revision is valid from 1 February 2018.

Pursuant to Sections 12, 15 & 26 of the Act with Instructions for the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (1986:765) (the Instructions) the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman stipulates the following.

Organisation

The Ombudsmen

1  The supervisory activities of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen are divided into four areas of responsibility. The fields covered by these areas of responsibility are shown in an annex to these directives.

The areas of responsibility are allocated as follows.

Area 1    Lars Lindström, Parliamentary Ombudsman
Area 2    Elisabeth Rynning, Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman
Area 3    Thomas Norling, Parliamentary Ombudsman
                 (from 1 april 2018)
Area 4    Cecilia Renfors, Parliamentary Ombudsman

Within their respective areas of responsibility the Ombudsmen take such initiatives as they consider necessary.

Article 5 of the Instructions lays down that the Parliamentary Ombudsmen are to consult the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman on inspections and other inquiries which they intend to carry out. The Ombudsmen also confer on other matters when occasion arises.

2  A case which concerns more than one area of responsibility will be dealt with by the Ombudsman to whose area of responsibility the case chiefly pertains. When doubt arises, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman will decide who is to deal with a case.

If a case pertains to different areas of responsibility that are linked to each other, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman will decide who is to deal with it. If a Parliamentary Ombudsman, because of conflict of interest or for some other reason, is unable to deal with a case which pertains to his or her area of responsibility, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman will decide who is to take over the case.

The first paragraph of Article 15 of the Instructions make it clear that the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman, irrespective of the provisions of these directives, may decide whether she or he is to be assigned a certain case or group of cases or they are to be assigned to another Parliamentary Ombudsman.

3  When the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman is prevented from discharging her duties because of illness, vacation or some other circumstance, her or his place will be taken by the Ombudsman indicated in the first paragraph of Article 16 of the Instructions.

During the absence of an Ombudsman, his or her area of responsibility is supervised by the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman she or he appoints to do so.

The Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s secretariat

4  For the preparation of cases that arise from complaints or are initiated by the Ombudsmen and in connection with consultation documents regarding proposed legislation, the Ombudsmen are assisted by a Head of Secretariat and supervisory departments consisting of Heads of Division, Senior Legal Advisors and Legal Advisors. Each supervisory department has its own bureau to deal with its cases.

To carry out the tasks incumbent on a national preventive mechanism pursuant to the Optional Protocol of 18 December 2002 to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), the Parliamentary Ombudsmen are assisted by a special unit, the OPCAT unit. This comprises a Head of Unit and Legal Advisors. For organisational purposes this unit belongs to Area 2.

The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman is assisted by an administrative department that comprises a unit for human resources, finance, premises and IT issues, a unit for registration and archives as well as a Public Relations Manager and an International Co-ordinating Director.

The unit for human resources, finance, premises and IT issues is headed by the administrative director. This unit employs staff  for financial and  human resources management, administrative assistants and cleaning staff.

The unit for registration and archives is headed by the Head of Division responsible for registration and the archives. This unit employs a chief registrar, registrars and receptionists.

Regulations for the OPCAT unit and certain members of staff

The OPCAT unit

5  Pursuant to the Opcat protocol a National Preventive Mechanism, NPM, shall perform the following tasks:

  • conduct inspections, on a regular basis, of places where individuals are deprived of their liberty,
  • present recommendations to authorised authorities to improve the treatment and conditions of individuals deprived of their liberty and prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment,
  • introduce suggestions and proposals for legislation in force or proposed legislation concerning the treatment and conditions of individuals deprived of their liberty
  • participate in consultations with authorized authorities, as well as
  • write reports on the operations. 

The Opcat unit shall support the Parliamentary Ombudsmen in these duties. The unit shall also perform the tasks that the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman asks the unit to execute. 

The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman decides, following a consultation with the concerned Parliamentary Ombudsmen, on guidelines for the unit’s operations and inspection activities. The Head of the Opcat unit or other officials may, on behalf of the concerned Ombudsman, carry out an inspection, however, without the ability to comment or make statements pursuant to section one, paragraph 6, of the Act with Instructions for the Parliamentary Ombudsmen. 

The Head of the Opcat unit conducts the current management of the unit, and executes the administrative assignments of the unit, that the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman decides upon. In case of absence of the Head of the unit, the Deputy Head of the unit executes these tasks. When handing out assignments to Legal Advisors the Legal Advisors’ knowledge and experience shall be taken into account. An even division of assignments between Legal Advisors should be pursued.  

Head of Secretariat

6  The Head of Secretariat is head of the administrative department and its staff.
The Head of Secretariat is responsible for

  • the development and quality assurance of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s administrative routines;
  • strategic planning and collaboration with the administrative department of the  Riksdag and other public agencies,

and also has overall responsibility for

  • financial questions, human resources and premises as well as for issues relating to IT support, internal and external communications and information as well as the registry;
  • the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s own contracts and procurements.

The Head of Secretariat undertakes special inquiries assigned by the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman, prepares the cases assigned to him or her and otherwise assists the Ombudsmen in accordance with the directions of the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman.

In the cases assigned to him or her, the Head of Secretariat makes decisions about documents circulated for comment and other investigative procedures. When authorised by one of the Ombudsmen, the Head of Secretariat may also carry out inspections, without the right, however, while doing so to make comments or other statements of the kind referred to in the first paragraph of Article 6 of the Instructions.

When the Head of Secretariat is not on duty or is travelling for official purposes one of the Heads of Division is to be appointed acting Head of Secretariat.

Heads of Division

7  The Heads of Division are each to allocate cases within their own areas of specialisation to the Legal Advisors and deal with their own cases. In allocating cases the specific expertise and experience of the Legal Advisors is to be taken into account. An even workload for the Legal Advisors should be aimed for. Insofar as there are Senior Legal Advisors for a specific field, they should deal with cases of major significance within this field.

The Heads of Divisions make decisions on consultation documents and other investigative procedures and  deal with issues concerning documents relating to cases already concluded. When authorised by the appropriate Ombudsman, Heads of Division may also carry out inspections and after a specific decision by the appropriate Ombudsman make adjudications in cases arising from complaints pursuant to the stipulations of Section 22 of the Instructions.

In addition to preparing their own cases, the Heads of Division are to ensure that cases are dealt with in a satisfactory manner and with the expedition required. Heads of Division should participate in dealing with cases of major significance. The Heads of Division are also to assist the OPCAT unit in its operations.

One of the Heads of Division in each supervisory department is to have the administrative tasks determined by the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Legal Advisors and Senior Legal Advisors

8  Legal Advisors responsible for oral presentations may obtain confidential information about the cases assigned to them, requisition what documentation there is concerning the case and submit documents to the complainant for comment. They may also, when specially authorised by the appropriate Ombudsman, deal with issues concerning documents relating to cases on which adjudications have been made and, with the authority of the appropriate Ombudsman, carry out inspections, without the right, however, while doing so to make comments or other statements of the kind referred to in the first paragraph of Article 6 of the Instructions.

Senior Legal Advisors may, when specially authorised by the appropriate Ombudsman, make decisions about consultation documents and other investigative procedures. 

Adjudications and records etc.

9  The final adjudication of an Ombudsman is to be signed by the Ombudsman and filed in the registry. A copy of the adjudication is to be added to the file dossier. The same is to apply when a final decision is made by virtue of delegated powers pursuant to the fifth paragraph of Article 22 of the Instructions.

One copy of the adjudication shall always be sent to the complainant and, when appropriate, to the authorities or officials who have made statements in the case or are specially affected by the case. An Ombudsman may decide that information about the case is to be published in some other way or that the adjudication need not be sent to the complainant.

Copies of decisions that are not final adjudications in cases and that are issued by the Parliamentary Ombudsmen are to be signed by the official making the decision or someone delegated by the official to do so.

These provisions also apply where appropriate to the records of inspections.

Public documents etc.

10  The staff of the registry assist in issuing documents to public authorities, the mass media and the public and also provide information requested from the registry, records, case management system and other documents available in the secretariat.

11  Questions concerning the provision of public documents are decided on behalf of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen by the Ombudsman to whose area of responsibility the case pertains, or by the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The Head of Division responsible for registration and the archives  is responsible for appraising confidentiality when a request is made for the provision of documents concerning a completed adjudication (cf. the first paragraph of Section 3 of Chapter 6 of the Public Access and Secrecy Act [2009:400]).

Security and emergencies

12  Issues relating to security and emergencies are dealt with by an official within the secretariat assigned to deal with security matters who is accountable to the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman. This official is to consult the Head of Secretariat on issues of major importance.

Office hours etc.

13  The Ombudsmen receive visits from the public after prior arrangement in every case.

The registry will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday apart from public holidays and unless otherwise decided in special cases.

The telephone hours of the secretariat are 9 until 11.30 a.m. and 1 until 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday apart from public holidays and unless otherwise decided in special cases.

Notification of reduction of office hours or telephone hours must be made in an appropriate way and should be issued at least one week in advance.

Miscellaneous

14  The tasks of certain members of the staff are laid down in specific directives or job descriptions.

The document “Regulations on entitlement to make decisions on financial and human resources matters at the secretariat of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (ordinance on delegated powers)” contains regulations on other delegated powers.

 _________

Annex

Area of responsibility 1

Courts of law, The Labour Court; Ground Rent and Rent Tribunals; The National Courts Administration.

Administrative courts.

The National Legal Aid Authority and National Legal Aid Board, the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority, the Council on Legislation; the Data Inspection Board, petitions for mercy submitted to the Ministry of Justice; other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Justice and its subordinate agencies that do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

Cases concerning guardianship (i.a. Chief Guardians and Chief Guardian Committees).

The Enforcement Authority.

Planning and building, land survey and cartography agencies.

Communications (public enterprises, highways, traffic, driving licences, vehicle registration, disabled transport services, roadworthiness testing).

The school system; higher education (including the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); student finance; The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs; other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Education and agencies subordinate to it which do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

Environmental protection and public health; the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency; the Chemicals Agency; other cases pertaining to the Ministry of the Environment and its subordinate agencies, car breaking. Agriculture and forestry, land acquisition; reindeer breeding; the Sami Parliament; prevention of cruelty to animals; hunting, fishing, veterinary services; food control.

Area of responsibility 2

The Armed Forces and other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Defence and its subordinate agencies which do not fall within other areas of responsibility; the National Fortifications Agency.

Prisons and probation services, the National Prison and Probation Board and probation boards.

Health and medical care as well as dental care and pharmaceuticals; forensic medicine agencies, forensic psychology agencies; protection from infection.

Income and property tax, Value Added tax, fiscal control, with the exception, however, of the Taxation Authorities Criminal Investigation Units as laid down in the Act on The Taxation Authority's Crime Fighting Activities; Tax collection.

Excise duties and price-regulating fees, road tax and congestion charges; service charges; national registration (including cases concerning names); other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Finance and its subordinate agencies which do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

Public procurement; consumer protection, marketing, price and competition within industry and commerce; cases concerning limited companies and partnerships, trade names, trade registers, patents, trade-marks, registered designs; other cases pertaining to agencies subordinate to the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation which do not fall within other areas of responsibility. The Agency for Public Management; the National Financial Management Authority; the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency, the National Appeals Board, the National Claims Adjustment Board; the Swedish Agency for Government Employers, the Arbitration Board on Certain Social Security Issues; the National Property Board; the National Government Employee Pensions Board, the National Pensions and Group Life Insurance Board; the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Accounting Standards Board, Supervisory Board of Public Accountants, The Swedish Estate Agents Inspectorate; the National Institute of Economic Research; Statistics Sweden; the National Disciplinary Offense Board. The Equality Ombudsman; the Board against Discrimination, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency, The National Electrical Safety Board, the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate, the Swedish Energy Agency, Svenska Kraftnät.

Cases that do not fall within the ambit of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen; documents containing unspecified complaints.

The OPCAT unit.

Area of responsibility 3

Application of the Social Service Act, the Act on Special Regulations on the Care of the Young (LVU) and the Act on the Care of Substance Abusers in Certain Cases (LVM).

Application of the Act on the Provision of Support and Service for Certain Individuals with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS).

The Children´s Ombudsman.

National insurance (health insurance, parental insurance and industrial injury insurance; housing allowances and other income-related benefits; child allowances; maintenance advances etc.); the Swedish Social Insurance Inspectorate; the Swedish Pensions Agency.

Other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and agencies subordinate to it which do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

The Public Employment Service, the Work Environment Authority; unemployment insurance; other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Employment and agencies subordinate to it which do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

Area of responsibility 4

Public prosecutors; the Swedish Economic Crime Authority; The Taxation Authority's Criminal Investigation Units as laid down in the Act on the The Taxation Authority's Crime Fighting Activities. 

The Police force. The Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protection.

Customs authorities.

The Swedish Arts Council; The National Heritage Board; The National Archives; museums and libraries: The Swedish Broadcasting Authority; local authority music schools; other cases pertaining to the Ministry of Culture and agencies subordinate to it.

Municipal administration not covered by special regulations.

Cases involving aliens, not including, however, cases heard by migration courts; citizenship issues.

Rescue services, applications of the regulations relating to public order; lotteries and gambling, licences to serve food or drink.

Other cases dealt with by the County Administrative Boards that do not fall within other areas of responsibility.

Housing and accommodation (supply of accommodation, home adaptation grants, accommodation allowances not included in the social insurance scheme); the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning.

Cemeteries and burials, government grants to religious denominations.

Government activities outside Sweden; the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; the National Board of Trade; the Swedish Institute; other cases pertaining to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and agencies subordinate to it.

The Riksdag Board of Administration, the Riksbank, the National Audit Board; general elections. Cases pertaining to the Prime Minister's Office and agencies subordinate to it which cannot be allocated to the areas of responsibility to which they pertain from the point of view of their subject matter.

Other cases which do not fall within areas of responsibility 1–3.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cases concerning public enquiries, staff issues, cases pertaining to freedom of the press, free speech, cases concerning public access and the classification of information, and legislative consultation documents will be allocated to the area of responsibility in which they fall from the point of view of their subject matter.

Updated 2/1/2018