Hanna Vang Parliamentary Ombudsman

 

Hanna Vang, the Parliamentary Ombudsman

The Ombudsman is elected by the Faroese Parliament. Her role is to monitor the governmental and local authorities and safeguard the rights of the citizens. Complaints may be filed to the Ombudsman about decisions, procedures and conduct exercised by the public authorities. Furthermore, the Ombudsman may take a matter out of own initiative.

You can file a complaint concerning i.e. rejection of an application, how it was processed, how long it has taken or how about a civil servants conduct. It is free of charge to file a complaint to the Ombudsman.  You can write a letter, an email or use the complaint form. 

 

Address: 
undir Bryggjubakka 11
P. O. Box 2008
FO-110 Tórshavn
Faroe Islands
Tel: +298 35 85 00

Email: lum*lum.fo

Business hours
Monday to Friday from
09.00 am to 3.00 pm

 

How to complain

Whom and what you can complain about

The ombudsman supervises all public administration under Faroese Home Rule; this includes national, municipal and inter-municipal authorities. The ombudsman can investigate complaints about decisions made by the authorities, as well as about how they treat citizens and deal with cases. You can, for example, file a complaint about the rejection of an application, how it was processed, how long it has taken or how about a civil servant’s conduct.

The ombudsman exercises oversight over public authorities to prevent them from making mistakes or neglecting their duties, and to ensure that the public administration does not wrong any individual citizen.

Courts, the Faroese Parliament, businesses and private individuals are not public authorities; the ombudsman can therefore not investigate complaints about them. Danish authorities, such as the police force, are not included in the scope of Faroese Home Rule, the ombudsman can therefore not investigate complaints about these either. You are always welcome to ask us, if you are not sure whether you can complain to the ombudsman about a specific authority.

How you file a complaint

If you would like to file a complaint you must write to the ombudsman and explain whom and what you would like to complain about. We recommend you fill out and send the complaint form below. 

If you have authorized someone to file a complaint on your behalf, you must include a signed letter of credence when it is filed. We recommend you the english letter of credence found on this page.

Sending any relevant documents (letters from you, replies from the authorities, etc.) to the complaint would facilitate processing the complaint.

If you do you will often receive a reply sooner, because the ombudsman usually needs to see such documents.

What can the ombudsman do

If the ombudsman, having investigated the matter, concludes that he finds in favour of the complainant, he can criticise the authority in question. The ombudsman can also ask the authority to reconsider a matter and reach a different decision.

Please note that the ombudsman himself cannot change a decision. The ombudsman’s task is to explain to the authorities that he believes that they have made a mistake. In this regard, please bear in mind that the ombudsman has limited possibilities to take a position on decisions, which are purely based on assessments or decisions that require special qualifications (such as medical).

What happens when the ombudsman receives a complaint

The ombudsman has three possible responses to a complaint:

1. Investigating the complaint.

2. Rejecting the complaint, because the ombudsman cannot settle it.

3. Choosing not to investigate.

1. Investigating the complaint.
 

If the ombudsman feels that a complaint should be investigated, he sends it to the authority concerned and requests its comments. At the same time he requests borrowing any documents relevant to the case. The authority’s comments are usually sent to the complainant, who then has the chance to make his own comments.

Complainants are usually informed of the progress in the investigation.

When the authority and the complainant have made their comments, the case is usually ready to be settled by the ombudsman. Depending the ombudsman’s workload and on how quickly the authority replies to the ombudsman, you should expect it to take around six months to settle a complaint.

2. The complaint is rejected.

The Faroese Parliament has in the Faroese Ombudsman Act (Act 60 dated May 10, 2000) limited when the ombudsman can investigate a complaint:

“A complaint concerning decisions that a possible higher authority may change cannot be submitted to the Ombudsman before the higher authority concerned has made its decisions on the matter...” (Art. 6.3).

If it is possible to appeal decision to another authority, this option must be exhausted before the ombudsman can investigate the case. Decisions that are notified in writing must include guidance on the possibility of an appeal, before you turn to the ombudsman. If you are unsure about this, you can contact the authority that made the decision or possibly the ombudsman’s office.


“...The complaint shall be submitted to the Ombudsman at the latest one year after the facts complained about took place.” (Art. 6.2).

The term “facts” encompasses everything you can complain to the ombudsman about, such as how a matter was processed, how long it took, the decision reached and conduct. This means that if you are complaining about a decision, it must have been reached within the last year.

If the complaint filed with the ombudsman contains information about circumstances not taken into account by the authority, the ombudsman will almost always send the complaint to the authority and ask it to consider these circumstances. The complainant is also informed of this and asked to withhold the complaint until the authority has reached a decision. If no new complaint is filed the ombudsman takes no further action.

3. The ombudsman chooses not to investigate

The Faroese Ombudsman Act states:

“The Ombudsman determines whether there is basis for further investigation in matters submitted as complaints.” (Art. 6.4).

The ombudsman is thus not obliged to process all complaints filed, but can refuse to investigate the complaint as a whole, or choose only to investigate certain facts included in the complaint.

The ombudsman always considers a complaint carefully before deciding to reject it. This decision is usually based on whether it is likely that the ombudsman can help the complainant.

The ombudsman often writes or calls the complainant or the authority to make sure that he has a solid basis for reaching a decision. This could involve requesting the relevant documents. A rejection of a complaint can thus be the result of a thorough investigation by the ombudsman.

The ombudsman may take up a matter out of own initiative

The ombudsman can also investigate a matter without any complaint having been filed. Media coverage may for example alert the ombudsman to a matter he wishes to investigate further.

Sometimes a complaint can lead to the ombudsman investigating matters that were not the subject of a complaint.

The ombudsman can, in accordance with Art. 6.5 and 8.3, investigate institutions and premises where services are provided that are included in his jurisdiction.

The Ombudsman Act

The Ombudsman Act ( Act no. 60 of 10th. May 2000 as amended latest by Act no. 91 of 7.th. June 2020

 

Part 1
The Ombudsman and the Løgting

 

§ 1. The Løgting shall elect a person outside its ranks for a five-year period to supervise the Faroese public administration.

(2) If the Ombudsman dies in office or he for other reasons is unable to carry out his duties, the leadership of the Løgting shall determine who shall assume the office, until the Løgting elects another Ombudsman. The same shall apply if the Ombudsman offers his resignation, or the Løgting terminates his period in office according to (3).

(3) If the Løgting no longer has confidence in the Ombudsman, two thirds of the Members of the Løgting may terminate his period in office.

 

§ 2. The Ombudsman, who cannot sit in the Løgting nor on municipal councils, shall, if at all possible, have a legal scientific education.

 

§ 3. Acts of the Løgting may provide general rules for the institution of the Ombudsman. Otherwise, the Ombudsman conducts his official duties independently of the Løgting.


Part 2
Jurisdiction

 

§ 4. The responsibilities of the Ombudsman extend to all of the Faroese public administration (of the Land and of the Kommunur municipalities), and the conditions of children in private institutions, etc. whose assignment directly concerns children.

(2) The scope of the Act shall extend to associations, institutions, organisations etc. that function as part of the public administration within the scope of the Administration Act, the Freedom of Information Act or the Data Protection Act.

(3) In his assessment of municipal administration, the Ombudsman shall consider the special circumstances under which municipalities function.

(4) Inter-municipal corporations fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

(5) The jurisdiction of the Ombudsman does not include administrative entities of the Realm, the Løgting and bodies under the Løgting.

 

§ 5. The ombudsman shall supervise that those administrative entities mentioned in § 4 do not make mistakes or wrongfully discharge their duties and that the public administration does not commit injustice towards the individual citizen.

 

Part 3
Complaints and Own Initiative

 

§ 6. Anyone can submit a complaint to the Ombudsman concerning those in § 4 mentioned administrative authorities

(2) A person who complains shall mention his name in the complaint. The complaint shall be submitted to the Ombudsman at the latest one year after the facts complained about took place.

(3) A complaint concerning decisions that a possible higher authority may change cannot be submitted to the Ombudsman before the higher authority concerned has made its decisions on the matter. The time limit mentioned in (2) shall in such cases be counted from the day that the higher authority made its decision.

(4) The Ombudsman determines whether there is basis for further investigation in matters submitted as complaints.

(5) The Ombudsman may on his own initiative take up a matter for consideration and conduct the necessary investigations of the matter.

(6) The Ombudsman can investigate the authorities’ handling of selected cases.

(7) The Ombudsman can investigate all institutions, authorities and places of employment falling within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

 

Part 4
Investigations

 

§ 7. If the Ombudsman decides to take up a complaint for consideration, he shall immediately notify the administration concerned on the content of the complaint, unless there is risk that this may hinder the investigation. Furthermore, the administration shall be asked to submit an evaluation of the matter before the Ombudsman decides to make his assessment of the matter according to § 10 (2). The Ombudsman can set a time limit for the evaluation.

 

§ 8. Those administrations referred to in § 4 have a duty to provide the Ombudsman with the information and provide all those documents that he in his capacity demands to have presented.

(2) The Ombudsman can subpoena people to a court of law to testify as witness on circumstances that are material in the conduct of investigations. In such cases, the provisions of the Administration of Justice Act shall apply. The court meetings are not public. The person, the complaint relates to, shall be entitled to be present in the company of an advisor when such witness statements are made.

(3) The Ombudsman has the right to visit places that are investigated and he has free access to conduct investigations on all necessary premises.

(4) The Ombudsman can, at his discretion, without court order, investigate private institutions, etc. whose assignment directly concerns children, under § 4, (1).

 

§ 9. The Ombudsman has a duty of secrecy concerning the circumstances that come to his knowledge during the conduct of his office. The duty of secrecy remains in force after the Ombudsman leaves office and also extends to the staff of the Ombudsman institution.

 

Part 5
Conclusions
 

§ 10. If the Ombudsman concludes that serious mistakes or carelessness has been made on part of one of the administrations mentioned in § 4, the Ombudsman shall inform the presidency of the Løgting, the Prime Minister and the relevant ministers and/or municipal councils and make recommendations to them.

(2) The Ombudsman has a right to make his criticism publicly, make recommendations or in other ways make clear his assessment of a case that he has investigated.

(3) The Ombudsman can recommend to relevant authorities that a free court trial is given in accordance with the Administration of Justice Act §§ 353-365 in matters that have been dealt with in accordance with this Act.

 

§ 11. The Ombudsman shall provide the Løgting with an annual report on his work. The Report shall be published before 1 July.

(2) If the Ombudsman notifies the Løgting, a minister or a municipal council of a matter or if he includes a matter in his annual report, he shall inform what those concerned have pleaded in their defence.

 

§ 12. If the Ombudsman becomes aware of faults in statutes, secondary legislation or administrative decisions, the Ombudsman shall notify the Løgting and relevant minister. If this pertains to municipal matters or inter-municipal administration, the Ombudsman shall also notify municipal councils.

(2) The Ombudsman oversees that legislation in force and administrative regulations are concordant with international obligations to secure children’s rights, including United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child. If the Ombudsman becomes aware of faults in this respect, the Ombudsman shall notify the Løgting and the relevant minister. In case of municipal matters, the Ombudsman shall notify the relevant municipal council.

 

§ 13. If the Ombudsman so demands, the law courts may refuse to admit civil litigation against the Ombudsman for decisions that he has made based on this Act.

 

Part 6
Pay and Pension

 

§ 14. The remuneration of the Ombudsman, hereunder also the question of pension and severance pay shall be provided in an Act of the Løgting.

(2) The Ombudsman cannot without the consent of the Løgting serve in the employment of public or private companies, undertakings or entities.

(3) Possible questions of the impartiality of the Ombudsman in a given matter shall be submitted to the leadership of the Løgting, which shall appoint another to deal with the particular matter if lack of legal impartiality is determined.

 

§ 15. The Ombudsman may request to be released from office giving six months notice effective from the first day of a calendar month.

 

Part 7
Administration

 

§ 16. The Ombudsman shall hire and terminate the institution’s staff.

 

§ 17. The expenses incurred by the Ombudsman institution shall be authorised by the Budget Act of the Løgting.

(2) The Ombudsman shall file a statement of accounts for the institution; it shall be audited by the auditor of the Løgting.

 

Part 8
Provisions on Entering into Force

 

§ 18. This Act shall enter into force on 1 January 2001.

(2) Complaints on activities in the period from 1 January 2000 until this Act enters into force can nonetheless be submitted to the Ombudsman.

 

The role of the Faroese Ombudsman

The role of the Parliamentary Ombudsman is to monitor the governmental administration as well as the local authorities and safeguard the rights of the citizens. The Ombudsman shall ensure that the principle of equality is observed and, in other respects, that the administration is conducted in conformity with the law and good administrative practice.

 

The Ombudsman is an independent organ and not under the influence of any other administrative body, including the legislator.

The childrens ombudsman

Hanna Vang is the childrens ombudsman

 

Hanna Vang is the childrens ombudsman.

The Ombudsman oversees that authorities and insititutions listen to children and respect their rights.

Children and adults on behalf of children can file a complaint to the ombudsman.

Call us at 35 85 00 from 09.00 to 15.00 from monday to friday og send us an email at bum@bum.fo

Examples of how the ombudsmand can help

I am not happy about a decision from an authority

I am not happy with a decision from an authority.

If an authority has made a decision, that you do not agree with or you are not happy with, you can complain to the ombudsman. 

We can investigate, if the authority has followed the rules. If the authority has not, we can ask them to review the case. We can not decide, what the authority must do, but the authorities usually allways do, what we ask them to. 

Sometimes a decision from one authority can be tried by another autority. If that is the case, we can help you to send the complaint to the right authority. 

The authority does not listen to me

If a case worker with an authority does not listen to what you say, or does not understand, what you mean, you can call or write to the ombudsmand. We can write a letter to the case worker and explain, what you have told us. 

Mother and father are divorced and I want to live with my father

We cannot decide, that you can live with you father. But we can tell you, what you can do be with him. We can also help you write a letter to Familjufyrisitinging, which is the autority that decides, if children live with their mother or father. 

I am not feeling well in the fosterhome 

If you are living in a fosterhome or an institution, and you think they are not treating you right, you can complain to the ombudsman. We can examine the circumstances where you live, and ask the institution og the fosterfamily to change the things, we do not think are right. 

File a complaint

You can file a complaint by using the form, by sending an email or letter, or by calling +298 358500
 

Information about you
Which authority you would like to file a complaint about? Explanation: An authority is e.g. a municipality, an institution or a ministry Which authority you would like to file a complaint about
Have you lodged a complaint to an administrative authority superior to the authority compained?Explanation: The Ombudsman can not deal with a complaint, which can be appealed to a superior administrative authority, before this authority has reached a decision. A superior administrative authority is e.g. an appeals committee or a ministry.
If you file a complaint concerning a decision, when did the authority reach a final decision?Explanation: The deadline to file a complaint to the Ombudsman is 1 year. The deadline is calculated from the day the authority reached a final decision on the matter.
Explanation Please give a short explanation about your complaint. Try to explain what kind of injustice or mistakes the authority has made in this matter.