Duties and authority of the Ombudsman for the older people

The Ombudsman for the older people is an autonomous and independent authority. The duty of the Ombudsman for the older people is to promote and assess the realisation of the basic and human rights of the older people in legislation and decision-making in the society. The duties of the Ombudsman for the older people involve advocacy. The duties of the Ombudsman are laid down in the Act on the Ombudsman for the older people (in Finnish).

The rights of the older people apply to people of many ages, and the activities of the Ombudsman for the older people are not restricted to any specific age group. However, as in the Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons, the age at which people are entitled to an old-age pension can be considered indicative of an age restriction with regard to the rights of the older people. 

From the perspective of the duties of the Ombudsman for the older people, the older people are understood to be a broad-ranged group, and their diversity is also taken into account. In addition to age, several other factors and characteristics related to the individual may also affect the challenges faced by the elderly, such as the ability to function, disability, native language, financial position, place of residence, sexual orientation or being a member of a minority. 

The Ombudsman for the older people assesses and promotes the position of the older people and the realisation of their rights extensively. This means that the Ombudsman does not focus only on compliance with a specific law or the realisation of rights safeguarded by an international convention in their duties. 

Duties of the Ombudsman for the older people 

The Ombudsman for the older people is tasked with cooperating with various authorities, organisations in its field as well as other parties in order to promote the realisation of the best interest of the older people. The duties of the Ombudsman for the older people are focused on monitoring the best interest of the older people and their rights as well as influencing matters proactively.

The duties and authority of the Ombudsman for the older people are laid down in the Act on the Ombudsman for the older people.

According to the Act, the Ombudsman for the older people:

  • monitors and assesses the position of the elderly and the realisation of their rights
  • monitors the legislation and decision-making in the society and assesses their effects on the elderly
  • makes initiatives, states opinions and participates in social discussion
  • draws up and commissions surveys and commissions reports
  • promotes providing information and disseminates information on the elderly
  • promotes cooperation between those who handle matters related to the older people and actors who represent the older people.

Authority of the Ombudsman for the older people

The duties of the Ombudsman for the older people involve advocacy. The Ombudsman for the older people works to ensure that the rights and status of the older people are taken into consideration in legislation and decision-making. 

  • The Ombudsman for the older people does not have the authority to resolve issues related to older individuals, and the Ombudsman for the older people cannot comment on such issues.
  • The Ombudsman cannot change the decisions of other authorities or process complaints concerning them.