On commission by the Government, Statskontoret (the Swedish Agency for Public Management) has carried out an agency analysis of the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten). The commission includes a description of how the authority carries out its mission and whether the government's control is appropriate.
The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority fulfils its commission
Statskontoret's overall assessment is that the Authority in general fulfils its commission to promote the rights of victims, to address their needs and interests and to operate as an information and knowledge centre for crime victim issues. Most of its operations function well, although processing times for crime injury compensation should be reduced. The target groups appreciate the work of the Authority.
Control of the Authority could be improved
Nevertheless, Statskontoret considers that there is potential for improvement and that the Authority could be of even greater benefit in the area of crime victims. Government control gives the Authority a large responsibility to make their own priorities in their operations. The Authority is responsive to the government's control signals, but is not fully able to break down the objectives for its operations and to take its own initiatives in the area of crime victims. Both the Authority's internal control and the government's control should therefore be improved.
The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority should improve its follow-up and identify priority areas
The Authority makes no systematic summary of the needs and situations of crime victims, and does not follow up how crime victims are affected by the Authority's operations. Thus, the Authority misses an important basis of facts for planning, prioritising and controlling its operations.
The Authority should therefore analyse developments in the area of crime victims, such as identifying new groups of crime victims and following up how they are treated, and stating what measures and target groups the Authority considers to be high priority.
The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority should continue to develop its operation plan
From 2016, the Authority has been developing its operation plan and it now provides better potential for managing operations. It is Statskontoret's assessment that the Authority should further develop the operations plan by breaking down the objectives more systematically and focusing on a smaller number of objectives.
The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority should shorten processing times for crime injury cases
The Authority's processing times for examining claims of crime injury compensation has more than doubled in the last five years. Statskontoret considers that the Authority is able to improve its efficiency in this respect.
The Authority should decide what is a reasonable level of service and processing time, based on the needs of crime victims and its own resources. The Authority should also set aside time to train case preparation assistants, one category of staff that has been assigned more responsibility. Benchmarks should be established for how many cases that will be prepared and decided each week. The Authority should also to a higher extent perform follow ups and analyse statistics to identify time wasting and bottlenecks when processing crime injury claims.
The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority should develop and publish assessment criteria for the Crime Victims Fund
The Authority has criteria when assessing applications to the Crime Victims Fund for research funding. However, the Authority does not have corresponding criteria for prioritising between other applications to the fund, in particular from non-profit organisations.
The Authority should therefore develop clear assessment criteria for all types of applications to the Crime Victims Fund. These criteria should be published on its web site to increase transparency. Clearer assessment criteria could facilitate future evaluation of the effects of financial support from the Crime Victims Fund.
The government should prioritise between the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority's target groups
The Authority must work towards broadly defined target groups, including crime victims, other authorities, other social actors and the general public. The Authority does not have the resources to work systematically towards all these target groups. There is thus good reason for the government, as well as the Authority, to state more consistently which target groups that should be given highest priority.
The government should clarify the role as a knowledge centre
Statskontoret considers that the Authority's role as a knowledge centre for crime victim issues would be strengthened by a more analytical approach. More specifically the Authority would benefit from analysing the current state of crime victim knowledge within the academia and by performing follow ups regarding the treatment of crime victims by authorities. . Such an approach is necessary when the Authority prioritises and identifies areas of development in support of crime victims.
The Authority has limited resources at hand and the government should therefore consider clarifying what they expect of the Authority in its role as a knowledge centre. This would also clarify the Authority's role in the judicial system, both for the Authority itself and for other authorities.
The government should review the control of the Crime Victims Fund
The Crime Victims Fund is increasingly being used to support witnesses and provide operational support to non-profit organisations. The government stipulated how the fund's resources are to be used in its annual appropriations directives of 2015 and 2016. If the government views operational support to non-profit organizations and the financing of the witness support activities as a long-term commitment, financing through grants could be an option. Another option is that the government considers updating the ordinance on the Crime Victims Fund, which could be a more appropriate tool than official appropriation documents for indicating a long-term strategic direction for the fund.
The government should consider increased follow-up of crime injury compensation
There is currently no information on how many people that have the right to crime injury compensation. The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority claims that follow-ups is needed from the Public Prosecution Office, the Swedish Courts and the Enforcement Authority to enable an assessment of how many crime victims do not currently receive the compensation to which they are entitled. The government may therefore consider demanding detailed follow-ups that will provide a reliable picture of the situation.
Another option is that the government gives a commission to the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority or the National Council for Crime Prevention to make an estimate of how many people that have the right to crime injury compensation.