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Lack of central government responsibility in the guardianship system

There are major deficiencies in the oversight of legal representatives and chief guardians. The Government should increase its responsibilities in achieving greater legal security throughout the country, writes the Swedish NAO in a performance audit report.

Detail: person sitting at a table, hands and hat on the table.

Audit background

About two per cent of Sweden’s population has a mentor, administrator or other legal representative. Those in need of a legal representative are individuals with mental illnesses, various disabilities, dementia or generally weakened health, children whose parents cannot act as legal representatives, or unaccompanied minors. Many are in a vulnerable situation and in need of other people to manage their everyday life. A legal representative is publicly appointed for them in order to safeguard their personal, financial and legal interests. Municipal chief guardians ensure that legal representatives fulfil their remit adequately. In turn, regional county administrative boards oversee the chief guardians.

There are several problems and deficiencies in the guardianship system, and examples of individuals suffering financial, personal or legal injury appear regularly. The system largely rests on voluntary initiatives by private citizens. However, the number of people needing more far-reaching support has steadily increased, which has made it more difficult for chief guardians to find suitable legal representatives for those in need. The responsibility for the legal security of the system as a whole rests on the central government.

The overall purpose of the audit is to assess whether central government has created conditions to ensure that oversight of legal representatives and chief guardians is conducted in a legally secure manner. The audit answers the following questions:

  • How do the activities of the municipal chief guardians differ, and are there deficiencies regarding legal security and efficiency?
  • What central government initiatives exist, and how are they coordinated?
  • Does central government promote legal security?

In the audit, the central government initiatives are assessed partly in comparison with other central government oversight activities, and partly in comparison with corresponding systems in other Nordic countries.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.


Updated: 31 May 2018

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