The Swedish Agency for Public Management

Evaluation of the strategy for equal rights and opportunities regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (2016:31)

The Swedish Government has given the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) the task of evaluating the Government’s strategy for equal rights and opportunities regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (the LGBT strategy) This task has involved analysing whether the strategy’s structure and initiatives have contributed to achieving its overall objectives and issuing recommendations concerning how the structure and future initiatives should be structured.

Statskontoret’s overall assessment is that the strategy’s structure, with prioritised focus areas and associated strategic authorities, as well as the initiatives implemented have contributed to achieving the strategy’s overall objectives. Nevertheless, Statskontoret is of the opinion that there is potential to clarify and improve the division of roles and responsibilities, governance and coordination, monitoring and how initiatives are prioritised.

The aim and ambition of the strategy should be clarified

Our evaluation indicates that the Government has a view of the aim and ambition of the LGBT strategy that differs from that of the strategic authorities and advocacy organisations. The Government’s intention has been to define its ambitions in the LGBT area and to lay the foundations of a more coordinated, results-focused and sustained effort. Again, several public authorities and organisations have expectations of clear priorities, additional concrete initiatives and regular monitoring of impact.

Statskontoret proposes that the Government clarifies the aim an ambition of the strategy and communicates these to the authorities and organisations concerned.

The problem analysis should be revised

The problems that LGBTQ people come up against in society have changed since the strategy was adopted and new knowledge about the situation for LGBTQ people has emerged. Statskontoret therefore proposes that the Government revise its problem analysis in order to improve its priorities, including those that take the form of focus areas, strategic authorities and strategic initiatives.  The strategic authorities and advocacy organisations should be involved in this work.

Additional strategic authorities should be appointed

The choice of focus areas and strategic authorities needs to be reviewed as there has been a change to how the problems are viewed. Statskontoret is of the opinion that the Swedish Migration Agency should be appointed as the strategic authority for a new focus area concerning LGBTQ people who apply for asylum in Sweden. The increased number of asylum seekers in recent years has brought the issue of how LGBTQ people are treated in the asylum process to the fore.

Statskontoret also proposes that the Swedish National Agency for Education be appointed as a strategic authority for the focus area Young LGBTQ People, together with the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF). Schools have a great potential to influence norms at an early stage among children and young people and to promote equal treatment regardless of gender, gender identity or gender expression. The National Agency for Education is also already involved in work with the strategy in areas including the project Öppna skolan (Open Schools) which is implemented together with MUCF.

Roles and responsibilities need to be clarified

Statskontoret’s assessment is that management is currently insufficient to achieve the Government’s ambition for every focus area. Consequently, we propose that the Government clarifies the division of roles and responsibilities for the strategic authorities, either in the strategy itself or of the authorities’ appropriation directions. The Government should also clearly set out what role and responsibilities the Government Offices of Sweden have in this work.

Coordination can be improved

Statskontoret’s assessment is that contacts between the Government Offices and the actors concerned (strategic authorities and advocacy organisations) have been good. This coordination has led to the sharing of experience and knowledge, but no direct coordination of initiatives and resources. As the strategy is multi-sectoral, it is important that the work continues to be improved and firmly rooted in other policy areas.

Statskontoret proposes that the Government appoint one authority with specific responsibility for coordination. The authority that is given responsibility for coordination could be tasked, in partnership with other relevant actors, with developing the monitoring of LGBTQ work and with compiling and presenting information and knowledge in this area. It is proposed that an important aspect of this task could be focused on monitoring health status among LGBTQ people.

A requirement to integrate an LGBTQ perspective should be introduced

Statskontoret proposes that the Government, via appropriation directions, task all strategic authorities with integrating an LGBTQ perspective into their ordinary activities. A text of this type legitimises the LGBTQ efforts and gives it additional weight.

Monitoring of the strategy needs to be improved

Statskontoret further proposes that the Government clarifies, through specifications in the authorities’ appropriation directions, what is to be monitored and how this is to be reported.

Statskontoret also proposes that current overall objectives and levels of ambitions are complemented with a limited number of measurable targets that can be used in management by results. Clear measurable targets and clear requirements for monitoring will make it easier for the Government to monitor work with the strategy and to assess the degree to which targets are achieved.

Initiatives need to have a strategic direction

Both strategic authorities and advocacy organisations are demanding clearer strategic priorities for the LGBT strategy. Statskontoret proposes that the Government develop a strategic direction for the initiatives in the strategy. However, what is needed first is a common view of how great the gap is between the goal and the current situation. The Government, authorities and organisations should then jointly decide which strategic initiatives are required in order to reduce this gap.