A case officer at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency had submitted a notification of concern to the Social Welfare Board and attached to this several documents containing confidential information, including a medical certificate submitted to the agency in a case relating to sickness benefit, without a prior confidentiality assessment having been carried out.
The decision states that the Swedish Social Insurance Agency may report concerns about child abuse and may disclose confidential information if it is obvious that the interest in its disclosure overrides the interest protected by confidentiality. This balance must take into account, on the one hand, the possibility of providing Social Services with information in order to help a child in a potentially vulnerable situation and, on the other hand, the parent’s interest in being able to provide a detailed description of their health in a case relating to sickness benefit without this information being disclosed to unauthorised persons. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, it may be considered sufficient for the case officer working on the notification of concern to describe the circumstances underlying the concern for the child without submitting any other documentation. It is then up to the Social Welfare Board to decide whether there are grounds for requesting additional documents that the board may need for its review.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman takes a very serious view of the fact that the case officer at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency reproduced confidential information in the notification of concern and attached several medical documents to the notification without first considering whether there was legal support for it. The agency is severely criticised for what has come to light.