A complainant who accused several bodies of violating human rights and fundamental freedoms in the case of entrusting the care and education of children, stipulating contacts and child support related the benefits of children, turned to the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia (Ombudsman). The Ombudsman found that the Centre for Social Work Koroška, Ravne na Koroškem unit (CSW Ravne na Koroškem) and the Social Affairs Inspection Service violated the principle of good administration and that the Social Affairs Inspection Service additionally also violated Article 24 of the Inspection Act. Both authorities have rectified their violations, which is welcomed by the Ombudsman and is regarded as an example of good practice.
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A complainant who accused several bodies of violating human rights and fundamental freedoms in the case of entrusting the care and education of children, stipulating contacts, and child support related the benefits of children turned to the Ombudsman. Based on Article 24 of the Human Rights Ombudsman Act (ZVarCP), the Ombudsman refused to consider the complaint in the part that referred to the procedure before the competent court due to lack of jurisdiction. He however considered the complainant’s accusation, a) that CSW Ravne na Koroškem did not fulfil the promise given to the claimant that a certain caseworker would no longer participate in further proceedings in her matters, and b) that the Social Affairs Inspection Service did not inform her of the findings of the inspection procedure.
CSW Ravne na Koroškem confirmed the claimant's statements that a specifically appointed caseworker was appointed to prepare an opinion in the complainant's case for the issuance of a temporary decision due to assigning a child to care and education and establishing contacts. She was appointed because she knows the family and the family situation very well and because, due to the short deadline of the competent court, another case worker would not be able to carry out visits and interviews in such a short time.
The Ombudsman judged the behaviour of CSW Ravne na Koroškem described above on the basis of the principle of sound management, which requires public administration to be open, transparent, responsible, responsive, successful, efficient, ethical, and fair. According to the Ombudsman's opinion, the value criteria ethics and fairness also include the general moral principle, that given promises must be fulfilled, therefore we have taken the position that the non-fulfilment of the given promise in the present case is a violation of this principle. CSW Ravne na Koroškem subsequently included another caseworker for the consideration of and drawing-up the opinion. The Ombudsman regarded such action as appropriate.
The Social Affairs Inspection Service, too, confirmed the complainant’s accusation that she was not informed of the finding or the suspension of the procedure that was initiated on the basis of her report. They explained that the complainant submitted the request that she be informed on the measures or suspension of the inspection procedure subsequently and the inspector overlooked this request and did not inform the complainant about the suspension of the procedure, for which she sincerely apologises. On 03/01/2022, the information system was supplemented at the Inspectorate, in order to reduce the risk of such overlooks, and this information system reminds the inspector of the complainant’s request to be informed.
The Ombudsman judged the action by the Social Affairs Inspection Service using the principle of good administration and on the basis of Article 24 of the Inspection Act (ZIN), which stipulates that the inspector is not obliged to inform the complainant of the findings of the inspection procedure, unless the complainant expressly requests to be informed, at the latest after the inspection has been carried out and the last adopted measure or the suspension of the procedure. Considering that the Social Affairs Inspection Service confirmed the complainant's statements that the inspection did not inform her of the suspension of the procedure, we judged that the Social Affairs Inspection Service violated Article 24 of ZIN, because it did not inform the complainant of the suspension of the inspection procedure, even though she specifically requested it. By her actions, the inspector acted contrary to the principle of good administration.
Notwithstanding the above, the inspectorate's apology upon warning that a mistake was made, and the preventive action to prevent similar mistakes from occurring in the future, is considered an example of good practice that pursues the purpose of the principle of good administration. We welcome and support the actions undertaken by the Social Affairs Inspection Service. 21.0-29/2022
 If these are not contrary to the law; of course, it would also be unethical to give assurances to users of the centres for social work that are against the law.