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.
In September 2017, the Parliamentary Ombudsman conducted an Opcat inspection of the National Board of Institutional Care’s residential home for young people Tysslinge. During the inspection it became clear that an inmate at the home, AA, at one occasion in June 2017, had been restrained to the floor when he had become aggressive. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman states that staff members naturally may not develop a notion that it is possible to, alongside the capacities of the Care of Young Persons Act, obtain other capacities that in reality gives the staff, in contravention to chapter 2, section 6 of the Instrument of Government, an ability to exercise coercive measures. By how the National Board of Institutional Care has described the situation there was, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s understanding, reasons to seclude AA pursuant to section 15 c of the Care of Young Persons Act. However, no decision to seclude AA was taken and AA was not brought to a secluded room. Instead, the inmate was restrained until, according to the staff, he had calmed down. In neither the records nor in the head of the institution’s account of the course of the events there was a statement that indicated that the purpose of the measure was to bring AA to a secluded room. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s understanding, it appears as if the staff restrained AA to the floor without the intention to seclude AA. The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that the situation did not suggest that there were legitimate grounds for the staff to restrain AA to the floor instead of secluding him. When AA was restrained, the constitutional constraint on the protection of each individual’s bodily integrity, pursuant to chapter 2, section 6 of the Instrument of Government, was violated. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs severe criticism towards the National Board of Institutional Care’s home Tysslinge and further states that this occurrence is naturally completely unacceptable. The Parliamentary Ombudsman assumes that the National Board of Institutional Care immediately will make efforts to educate staff members as well as hold general discussion on the boundaries of certain capacities. The Parliamentary Ombudsman will send a copy of this decision to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate and the National Board of Health and Welfare.
A boy was under voluntary care pursuant to the Social Service Act and placed in a family home. The boy met with his custodian once each week. On two occasion in May and June, 2018, an official at the administration informed the custodian that the custody had been modified in certain respects. Among other things, the custody of the boy had been decreased to one occasion every other week. If a child is under care pursuant to the Social Service Act it is the custodian that decides on matters regarding the child’s personal circumstances, pursuant to chapter 6, section 11 and 13 of the Children and Parents Code. A social welfare board is not able to unilaterally decide how the custody is coordinated. When a question appears regarding the scope of the custody, the board should confer with the custodian to realize if it is possible to reach a mutual agreement on the coordination of the custody. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s understanding, the board has acted as if the board was able to unilaterally decide on the custody. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the Social Welfare Board for the deficient processing. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman also makes certain statements on how a board shall confer with custodians regarding matters concerning the coordination of the custody.
Questions, of an intrusive kind, were asked in a talk with an applicant concerning the applicant’s need for protection. It occurred in spite of the fact that no public counsel was present. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman gives the following account. If a public counsel has been appointed subsequent to a talk with an applicant, where the reasons for the application for asylum has been questioned, it may risk the applicant's credibility if the applicant decides to amend the application at a later point in time. There are questions concerning the need for protection that might need to be asked at an initial stage of the processing of an application, but the enquiry should not result in a talk were follow-up questions are asked prior to the Migration Agency’s decision on the applicant’s need to have a public counsel appointed. The talk held similarities to an enquiry rather than a talk concerning an application. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the Migration Board for the deficient processing of the case.
The Migration Agency decided to dismiss AA’s application for resident permit due to the need for protection on June 17, 2016. AA was not informed of the decision until February 6, 2018, i.e. one year and eight months after the decision was taken. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman states that the Migration Agency’s processing of the notification of the decision was inadequate in several respects. The Migration Agency has, among other things, departed from their own routines on how to administer notifications on decisions, as well as handed out the wrong information to AA’s public counsel and moreover the authority did not registered the official documents according to established routines. The Migration Agency did not follow up, in spite of remarks made by the public counsel, if AA had received a notification of the decision. The Parliamentary Ombudsman holds that the Migration Agency’s actions led to an unreasonably long time to notify AA about the decision. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the Migration Agency for these failures.
An official at the Financial Supervisory Authority published, by mistake, a post with negative opinions regarding certain political parties, on the authority’s official Twitter account. The post was deleted in a few minutes. Thereafter the Financial Supervisory Authority made a public clarification that the authority did not support the opinions in the post. According to the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman it is clear that the political opinions in the Twitter post did not live up to the statutory obligations on objectivity and impartiality and that the post damaged the authority’s credibility. However, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the authority has not violated the Instrument of Government’s demand on objectivity and impartiality, as the post was not pursuant to the authority’s guidelines. As the official has received a written injunction on the lack of judgment that the official exhibited the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman refrains from making any further comments regarding the official’s actions. The decision also includes some general opinions, by the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman, regarding authorities’ activities in social media. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman has observed that authorities are more and more active in social media, and by social media, authorities have the opportunity to reach a wide range of citizens as well as spread information quickly. This possibility is combined with a responsibility to; for example, make sure that the information that is spread conforms to the statutory obligations on objectivity and impartiality. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman states that an authority that use social media, or is considering starting a social media account, should carefully consider what risks it might bring, as well as what actions and routines the authority may need to minimize the risks.
The Board of Education held an explanatory talk with an employee as the employee had expressed certain opinions on her private Facebook page on how the municipality’s politicians chose to divide the financial resources. The Parliamentary Ombudsman holds that the measure goes against the freedom to communicate information and that it limited the employee’s freedom of speech.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards an administrative court for slow processing in a case on sickness benefit. The case was initiated at the administrative court on February 12, 2018 and was deemed to be settled at the initial stage but was not settled until June 24, 2019, i.e. one year and four months later. On April 15, 2019 the chief judge decided that the case should have priority as the processing time had been unreasonably long, and that the case should be settled on June 30, 2019. The Parliamentary Ombudsman does not criticise the administrative court for the verbal notification concerning the declaration of precedence but states that the notification should have occurred as the decision was settled. The Parliamentary Ombudsman also states that the notification should have been documented in the administrative case on declaration of precedence. The documentation was later entered in the record sheet of the case on sickness benefit. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the administrative court for the noted deficiencies.
During the processing of a case on execution, pursuant to chapter 21 of the Children and Parents Code, a social welfare worker handed in a statement to the district court. The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that there is no legal support to justify that a social welfare board, on their own initiative, hands in a statement to the district court regarding an execution pursuant to chapter 21 of the Children and Parents Code. Neither the board nor an individual officer should complete and hand in a statement to the court. When a staff member of the social services hands in a statement, despite it having no legal support, to the court, there may be a risk, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s understanding, that the board is perceived as bias. The scope for an individual officer to complete a statement in a case on execution, without the board being perceived as bias, is very limited. The Parliamentary Ombudsman adds that the statement is not limited to an account on factual circumstances but includes remarks and appears, in parts, as a plea made by a party. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the processing of the case has not been in accordance to the statutory obligations on objectivity and impartiality pursuant to chapter 1, section 9, of the Instrument of Government. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the board for completing the statement and handing it over to the district court.
Read more about the office of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen's international activities.
Visit by the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe on January 22.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2018/19.
A summary of the Annual Report for the fiscal year 2018/19 is available for download on the web site.
Report from 2015–2017 including the themes: • information about rights• supervision• women deprived of their liberty
The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsmen - JOBox 16327 • SE-103 26 Stockholm • SwedenVisiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 AOpening hours: 9.00–11.30, 13.00–15.00