The Ombudsman and the Eduskunta
The Eduskunta, the parliament of Finland, chooses the Ombudsman and the Deputy-Ombudsmen, each for a term of four years at a time.
The Constitution stipulates that the Ombudsman and the Deputy-Ombudsmen must have outstanding knowledge of law. Before they are chosen, the Constitutional Law Committee assesses the candidates for the posts.
Both the Ombudsman and the Deputy-Ombudsmen can be re-appointed when their term ends. Their term in office does not correspond to the parliamentary term.
If there are especially compelling grounds for doing so, the Eduskunta can dismiss the Ombudsman during his or her term. It is also the task of the legislature to bring a prosecution against an Ombudsman who has acted illegally. An individual citizen cannot do this. A prosecution against an Ombudsman is brought in the High Court of Impeachment.
When deemed necessary, committees of the Eduskunta invite the Ombudsman or a Deputy-Ombudsman to a formal hearing as an expert on questions of legislative drafting. There are 10 - 20 of these hearings each year.
Annual report and special reports
The Ombudsman provides the Eduskunta with an annual report. He can also draft special reports when necessary.
The Ombudsman's annual report to the Eduskunta describes the situation with respect to the administration of law and any shortcomings he has observed in legislation. He must devote special attention to the implementation of fundamental and human rights. The report can include proposals that the Eduskunta redress shortcomings observed by the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman can also give the Eduskunta reports concerning specific problems. In 1994 the then Ombudsman Jacob Söderman drafted one such report outlining a need to develop the regulations on recusal and conflicts of interest. Ombudsman Riitta-Leena Paunio submitted in 2006 to the Eduskunta a special report on the theme Children, domestic violence and the responsibilities of the authorities.
Deliberation of the annual report by the Eduskunta
Deliberation by the Eduskunta of the Ombudsman's annual report begins with a preliminary debate in a plenary session. The Ombudsman presents the report, which is then referred to the Constitutional Law Committee for deliberation.
The Committee consults experts concerning the report and drafts a submission on it. When the submission has been completed, both it and the report are deliberated in plenary session.
At the end of this process, the Eduskunta adopts the Committee's submission. The submission and its deliberation by the Eduskunta set the guidelines for developing the functions of the Ombudsman.
When a report of the Ombudsman or any other matter raised by him are being discussed in plenary session, he is entitled to be present and take part in the discussion.