Swedish Public Employment Service is severely criticised for lack of accessibility and service and for having acted contrary to the principle of legality

The Swedish Public Employment Service has a practice of extending the deadline for submitting activity reports when the agency’s website malfunctions. The Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the practice lacks a legal basis and is therefore contrary to the principle of legality. In addition, the Swedish Public Employment Service indicated in internal guidance for administrators that notifications should not be sent to unemployment funds in a particular situation. However, there are no exemptions from the agency’s obligation to notify in the regulation that regulates this,. The Parliamentary Ombudsman is critical of this and states that it is not acceptable to issue internal instructions that are contrary to applicable legislation. Both the rules on activity reporting and the obligation to notify the unemployment funds in certain cases are part of the control responsibility that the government has imposed on the Swedish Public Employment Service. The Parliamentary Ombudsman takes a serious view of fact the agency has failed to fulfill that responsibility.

In addition to this, the Swedish Public Employment Service is criticised for lacking accessibility. Investigations show that there have been periods where not all phone calls or attempts to reach the agency via a chat function have been responded to. It is unacceptable for an agency to be so hard to reach, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Finally, the Parliamentary Ombudsman makes particular statements about the agency’s obligation to contribute to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s investigation.

Date of decision: 2023-11-14