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Swedish youth policy – that includes guidelines and actions for social inclusion of all young people - is based on the fundamental human rights, in accordance with Swedish legislation and with those international conventions that the Swedish Government has ratified.
The government guidelines for youth policy are not limited to government decisions and actions, but should be taken into account in all public activities involving young people. They are, though, not mandatory for municipalities and regions/county councils, due to the extensive municipal autonomy in Sweden.
Sweden has 290 municipalities with local governments. Local authorities have a considerable degree of autonomy and independent powers of taxation. Many decisions that concern young people are taken at municipal level. The municipalities are responsible (partly in some policy areas) for youth policy issues such as schools, employment and training, health care, social care and services, youth work, culture and leisure.
Top-level authority responsible for social inclusion of young people
The Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) is in charge of youth policy. The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF) works to ensure that the objectives of youth policy will be achieved. Various government agencies share the responsibility for social inclusion of young people, each within their sectorial responsibilities. More information can be found in section 1.4, Youth policy decision-making.
Health and Social care
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Socialdepartementet) is in charge of healthcare and care for people with social difficulties, including the disabled and the elderly. The ministry’s work includes human rights, especially rights of the child, rights for people with disabilities and gender equality.
The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, with a wide range of activities and duties within the fields of social services, health and medical services, patient safety and epidemiology. The board works to ensure that people’s need for health and social care is met throughout their lives. Where resources are limited, they should be used for those who need them most.
The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, responsible for benefits, compensation and allowances for families with children, as well as people with disabilities or illnesses, including benefits for early retirement of young adults aged between 19 and 29 years of age (aktivitetsersättning).
Employment and labour market
The Ministry of Employment (Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet) is responsible for the labour market. Labour market policy includes measures to get young people into work, to improve the matching of jobseekers with job vacancies, labour market policy programmes, unemployment insurance and the European Social Fund. The ministry is also responsible for coordinating the introduction of newly arrived immigrants.
The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) is a government agency under the Ministry of Employment, responsible for matching between jobseekers and employers, with special priority given to jobseekers that experience extra challenges in being able to find employment. The Public Employment Service’s tasks also include vocational rehabilitation, in collaboration with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). This aims to help individuals with a limited work capacity due to disability or illness to be able to start to work again.
The Public Employment Service has a coordinating responsibility for labour market integration for certain newly arrived immigrants, mainly for adults that are 20 years of age or older. The task is to give these newly arrived immigrants the support they need in order to learn Swedish, find work and become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
Democracy and human rights
The Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) is responsible for issues relating to culture, media, democracy, youth, sports, human rights at national level, national minorities and the language and culture of the Sami people. The ministry is also responsible for anti-discrimination work and issues concerning civil society and faith communities.
The Ombudsman for Children (Barnombudsmannen) is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, tasked with representing children regarding their rights and interests. The Ombudsman for Children monitors how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is complied with in society and pushes for its implementation in Sweden's municipalities, county councils/regions and government agencies.
The Ombudsman for Children shall, by law, provide information and build opinion on issues relevant to children's rights and interests. Therefore, the Ombudsman holds regular dialogues with children up to 18 years of age, particularly with those in vulnerable situations, to obtain knowledge of their conditions and their opinions on relevant issues. Panels of experts, including children, are tied to the Ombudsman for Children for varying amounts of time. The Ombudsman for Children has legal powers to request information and to summon parties to talks, but has no regulatory powers. The Ombudsman for Children may not interfere in individual cases, but does have a duty of notification.
The Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia) is a government agency under the Ministry of Culture, tasked with serving as a national forum for promoting democracy, tolerance and human rights using the Holocaust as its starting point. It has a particularly responsibility to inform about the Holocaust and communism's crimes against humanity. The goal is to teach about historic patterns and through continuous contacts with teachers and other experts within education, the forum develops methods and tools for reaching the key target group, young people.
The Equality Ombudsman (DO) is a government agency under the Ministry of Culture, responsible for works to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
The Equality Ombudsman examines complaints concerning discrimination and harassment, and assesses how employers, higher education institutions and schools work to prevent discrimination. The Ombudsman shall also work in other respects to promote equal rights and opportunities regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
The Delegation against Segregation (Delegationen mot segregation) is a government agency mandated to help reduce and combat segregation. It is responsible for ensuring that the government’s long-term reform programme to reduce segregation is implemented in collaboration with municipalities, regions, agencies, civil society, researchers and others. The Delegation’s work aims to improve the situation in socio-economically disadvantaged areas and counter the structural causes of segregation.
Main non-public actors taking part in the implementation of social inclusion of young people
The National Federation of Youth Centres and Settlements (Fritidsforum) is a civil society organisation formed in 1937 in Sweden. Fritidsforum member organisations run non-profit venues, community centers (hemgårdar) for all ages and youth centres. Every third public youth centre in Sweden is associated to Fritidsforum. Fritidsforum works to develop the quality of open recreational activities by building networks and providing training for its members and for the actors involved in the area.
All government decisions are taken jointly. Additionally, an institutionalised mechanism, the Joint preparation procedure (Gemensam beredning) is a common process for all government ministries.
The Joint preparation procedure implies that government affairs that fall within the remit of several ministries should be prepared in consultation with other ministers concerned. This also applies within a ministry when a case involves more than one minister.
Related to youth policy, the Joint preparation procedure takes place relatively often because of the cross-sectoral character of youth policy.
A national coordinator is a person appointed by the government who operates outside ordinary government structures in order to coordinate and implement government policy. The coordination may take place between national government agencies and also between actors at national and local level.
Where governance is based on agreements and other initiatives of a negotiative nature, national coordinators are becoming increasingly common. To appoint a national coordinator is a non-traditional form of central government steering.
National coordinator for young people who neither work nor study
A national coordinator for young people who neither work nor study (Samordnare för unga som varken arbetar eller studerar) was appointed for the period 2015-2018. The coordinator for young people who neither work nor study had the task of promoting cooperation between authorities, municipalities, county councils and organisations at national, regional and local level.
The coordinator's mission has been cross-sectoral. Several social sectors and policy areas are important for young people's conditions and opportunities. During the assignment, the coordinator has had close cooperation with selected municipalities, met with most other municipalities, collaborated and conducted dialogue with authorities, national organisations, government investigations, and besides that, a number of companies and actors in civil society and in public education.
The coordinator submitted its final report (SOU 2018:11 Vårt gemensamma ansvar – för unga som varken arbetar eller studerar) to the Government in February 2018.
Financial Coordination of Rehabilitation Measures
The Act on Financial Coordination of Rehabilitation Measures (Lag 2003:1210 om finansiell samordning av rehabiliteringsinsatser) entered into force in 2004. The law allows the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), the Swedish Social Insurance Office (Försäkringskassan), municipalities and regions to form Coordination agencies (Samordningsförbund) and to allocate their resources at the local level in order to finance activities to support individuals in need of coordinated services from two or more of the organisations involved. See 4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people for more information.