The result of an investigation by a Parliamentary Ombudsman is documented in a decision or protocol.
The decisions or protocols include statements by Parliamentary Ombudsmen that clarify whether the public authority concerned has acted in accordance with the law or not. If the public authority has acted incorrectly, the ombudsman will issue criticism that may be directed against the authority as well as an individual public official. Of all complaints filed each year, about 10 per cent are concluded with some form of criticism. The ombudsmen may also conduct investigations on their own initiative – in other words enquiries may be started even if no complaint has been filed.
The ombudsmen’s decisions are not legally binding, which means that the public authority does not officially have to comply with the ombudsmen’s criticism. In practice however, this is almost always the case. Public authorities benefit from the opinions issued by the ombudsmen, the opinions are often used to improve an authority’s internal procedures and rules.
The media also takes great interest in the ombudsmen’s decisions. The media continuously monitors the ombudsmen’s work.