Stortinget has appointed the Parliamentary Ombudsman to safeguard the rights of individuals in their dealings with the public administration. The Ombudsman works to improve the public authorities and helps to ensure that they respect and safeguard human rights.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is an independent body with two tasks:
- Subsequent control of the public administration based on complaints received from individuals
- The prevention of torture and inhuman treatment in connection with deprivation of liberty
Complaints against the public administration
Everyone who believes they have suffered an injustice or an error on the part of the public administration may file a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman. For example, you can file a complaint if you believe that a decision or a formal administrative decision is wrong or that the authorities have processed a case in an incorrect or unsatisfactory manner. The Parliamentary Ombudsman will carry out a legal, objective and neutral assessment of the complaint. Filing a complaint is free.
In cases that are accepted for further investigation, the Ombudsman will, if there is reason to do so, express his opinion on the matter in the form of a statement. The Ombudsman can point out that an administrative body or official have committed an error or have neglected their duties, or it can make the public administration aware of shortcomings in acts and regulations and how they are practised.
Prevention of torture
People who are deprived of their liberty are in a particularly vulnerable situation. They face an increased risk of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. The Storting has given the Parliamentary Ombudsman special responsibility for investigating how the rights of people deprived of their liberty are safeguarded, and the Ombudsman has established a dedicated national preventive mechanism.
By visiting police custody facilities, prisons, psychiatric institutions, child welfare institutions and other places where people are deprived of their liberty, the Parliamentary Ombudsman helps to prevent the mistreatment of people in closed institutions. Following each visit, a visit report is written that describes the findings and any risk factors identified during the visit. Information work, dialogue and collaboration at the national and international level is an important part of the preventive work.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is elected by the Storting for a term of four years. The Ombudsman for this period is Hanne Harlem.