Subjects of the Ombudsman's oversight
The Ombudsman's oversight extends to all authorities, officials, and other persons and organisations performing public tasks.
Authorities, officials, civil servants
Authorities are courts of law, government offices and institutions as well as municipal bodies. Officials are persons holding civil service posts or in a comparable relationship of service for the state, a municipality or joint authority, or another inter-municipal cooperative body operating under public law.
Civil servants work in, for example, state and municipal offices, universities and state commercial enterprises.
Civil servant status is also granted to persons who are in the service of (for example):
- the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland or the Orthodox Church of Finland
- parochial cooperative bodies
- the autonomous region of Åland
- the Bank of Finland
- the Social Insurance Institution
- the Local Government Pensions Institution
- the Commission for Local Authority Employers.
Among the other focuses of the Ombudsman's oversight is the legality of actions by members of the Council of State, i.e. government ministers.
Other persons performing public tasks
On the basis that they hold public positions of trust, the members of municipal councils and municipal boards, as well as of municipal committees and commissions, together with members of other bodies belonging to public organisations or institutions and other holders of public positions of trust (such as members of committees, commissions and advisory bodies), likewise come within the scope of the Ombudsman's oversight.
A public task can be performed by persons other than officials or authorities. Thus the scope of the Ombudsman's oversight can also include, for example, a private insurance company or an unemployment fund when they take care of statutory tasks such as traffic insurance or compensation. Those who monitor fishing also perform a public task.
What constitutes a public task is ultimately determined on the basis of the Ombudsman's interpretation. The essential consideration in this assessment is the nature of the task.
By contrast, what the Ombudsman does not oversee
The Ombudsman does not oversee the Eduskunta's legislative work or the actions of the members of the legislature.
Another sector in which he or she does not intervene comprises of the procedures followed by private commercial companies, the private practitioners of occupations or private persons and questions relating to legal disputes between them.
Nor does the Ombudsman oversee the activities of the Chancellor of Justice, who is responsible to the government. The Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary Ombudsman are independent of each other in their respective roles as overseers of legality.