The Swedish Agency for Public Management
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From public to private. A survey of transfers of municipally-operated activities (2017:24)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has conducted a survey to map out the transfers that have been implemented by municipally-operated activities in municipalities and county councils during the period 2007-2016. The survey has encompassed activities within the school system, the social services agencies, as well as health and medical care facilities.

Statskontoret has identified 46 transfers in 10 municipalities, and 17 transfers in 2 county councils. Each transfer concerns to one or more entities, such as pre-schools or healthcare centres. In addition to this, 4 municipalities and 2 county councils have stated that they have transferred municipally-operated activities, however they have not provided further details of the activities that have been transferred and therefore we have been unable to verify that the information is accurate.

A significant proportion of the transfers in the municipalities occurred in Stockholm County, and this applies to primary and secondary schools or social care services at home. Thirty-nine of the 46 transfers in the municipalities were implemented or decided upon in 2007 or 2008. At that time it was common that previous employees took over the activities, sometimes referred to as “hiving-off.” The transfers that were identified in the county councils have been implemented in Stockholm County and Uppsala County, and primarily concern healthcare centres. Fourteen of the 17 transfers in the county councils were implemented in 2010 or earlier. Some of these activities have been taken over by personnel previously employed at the county council.

Some municipalities have transferred rural schools, i.e. preschools and primary schools in smaller communities. This concerns activities that the municipalities have announced that they intended to decommission, but instead have been transferred to parental cooperatives, local associations, or similar entities. Some of these transfers have been made without financial payment to the municipalities.

Most of the transfers have included premises and equipment, and also have resulted in personnel transfers which are governed in the transfer agreement. Most commonly, students, patients or users have also followed along with the transfers, according to the lists that were in place prior to the transfers.

With the transfers that were made in 2007 and 2008, often only the equipment formed the basis for the valuation of the transferred operations. In these cases, the amount transferred has usually not exceeded SEK 1 million. With the transfers implemented at later dates, to a greater extent the entire operations have been valued, and then also including intangible assets. The amounts transferred for the later transfers are generally higher than those implemented at the beginning of the time period.

There are also indications that activities previously carried out under municipal governments are today conducted on a private basis without a formal transfer of the operations. This concerns situations where municipalities and county councils have decommissioned a municipal activity and at a later stage private operators and owners have taken over the premises and equipment for the purpose of carrying out a similar activity.