Complaints to the Civil Ombudsman
The Civil Ombudsman is appointed by the parliament (Stortinget) to control the public administration. As a citizen, you may appeal to the Civil Ombudsman if you feel that an administrative error has occurred or if you feel you have been treated unfairly. Public administration here relates to the state, the county and the municipality. A complaint may refer to:
- a breach of administrative procedures, for example a failure to reply, or delayed response to your case
- that an administrative decision has been made which you consider to be wrong.
If a decision has been made in your case, this shall contain information on how you may appeal to a higher authority which may reverse the decision. First, you must have used the opportunity to appeal to lower authorities before making a complaint to the Civil Ombudsman.
The complaint must be in writing and signed. You may use a normal letter or a complaints form (see under "Forms" below). It is important that you specify the authority to which the complaint applies (municipality, directorate, ministry or other). You should state which errors you consider the authority has made. If you feel that a specific decision is incorrect, then you should state the date of the decision, and preferably attach a copy. If you need assistance in formulating the complaint, you may contact the Ombudsman’s office for an appointment – either for this to be made over the telephone or by visit.
The time limit for lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman is one year. This is calculated from the final decision being made by the authority, or from the time when the circumstances apply. The complaint is sent to the Sivilombudsmannen, Postboks 3, Sentrum, NO-0101 Oslo.
All documents you consider important to the matter. It is not necessary to obtain all documents., If the Ombudsman takes the matter up, all documents will be obtained from the administrative authorities involved.
If your complaint cannot be considered, you will be informed of this. An assessment of whether there are grounds to take up your complaint with the authority this applies to will take between four and ten weeks. After this, the respective administrative authority will have four weeks within which to reply. The amount of time taken to complete the assessment will depend, among other things, on how complicated the matter is and how comprehensive the necessary enquiries are.
An executive officer will first examine the complaint and determine whether this should be further considered by the Ombudsman. If there are grounds for this, the administrative authority which you are complaining about will be asked to give an explanation of the matter. You will be given the opportunity to comment on the reply. Finally, the Ombudsman will express his opinion in the matter. The administrative authorities will follow his views, but are not obliged to do so by law.