Statskontoret (The Swedish Agency for Public Management) has evaluated the Delegation for the Employment of Young People and Newly Arrived Migrants (Dua) on behalf of the Swedish Government.
Dua has the task of promoting local cooperation between the municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service) in order to reduce unemployment among young people and newly arrived migrants. Dua commenced its work in December 2014 and a final report on its mandate is to be submitted in February 2021.
Statskontoret's main conclusion is that Dua has thus far implemented its mandate effectively and has contributed to the development of collaborative processes in accordance with the goals for the organisation. Dua's status as an autonomous committee has worked well as regards initiating and pursuing cooperation. However, in the long-term work, both the Government and the collaborative parties need to develop forms for governing the cooperation.
Dua is an operations committee with a clear focus
Dua is an operations committee that focuses on supporting local cooperation. The committee consists of a delegation with eleven members and a secretariat of about ten people. Dua's main tools have so far been voluntary local agreements between the municipality and Arbetsförmedlingen. The committee's work has gained legitimacy through extensive communications work, presence in the field and availability in terms of advice and support. The work has also gained significance and weight due to Dua's ability to allocate state subsidies.
Dua's work has promoted local cooperation
Almost all of Sweden's municipalities have signed a local agreement with Arbetsförmedlingen in accordance with Dua's model. Statskontoret's inquiry indicates that Dua's work has affected cooperation in the following way:
- The work with the agreements has contributed to increased consensus and understanding between the parties.
- The agreements have served as a support for the parties to develop their structures and practices for cooperation.
- The agreements have also served as a steering document and as a commitment to the joint prioritisation of cooperation.
No measurable effects on unemployment
It is not possible to measure the effects of Dua's work on unemployment. There is confidence at the local level that collaboration on planning and initiatives has helped to reduce youth unemployment, but there is nothing to support this assertion.
Among newly arrived migrants, unemployment continues to be high during the initial period in Sweden. The municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen have a positive outlook on the initiative with local routes to work for the individual that Dua has launched, but it still concerns an activity that the municipalities and local employment offices are in the process of building up. This means that the work is not yet reflected in the statistics.
Long-term cooperation requires long-term governance
Statskontoret's assessment is that Dua's status as an autonomous committee has worked well as regards initiating and pursuing cooperation. There are several factors that have influenced its effectiveness. Dua has been perceived as an actor that is independent from Arbetsförmedlingen and the municipalities. Dua has also had a clear political mandate. Both of these aspects have afforded Dua a legitimacy that has increased its impact. Furthermore, the municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen both find that Dua's work has responded to their needs.
However, it is still the municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen that are responsible for the cooperation. Statskontoret's assessment is that both the Government and the parties involved may need to implement measures if the Government wishes to maintain or strengthen the results of Dua's work.
The Government needs to establish requirements for cooperation
If the Government wants local cooperation to continue to be a priority area, it needs to clarify this in its regular governance of Arbetsförmedlingen.
One way to do this is to clarify Arbetsförmedlingen's responsibility for the continued development of local cooperation in accordance with Dua's model by encouraging and following up on cooperation in its ongoing contact with the agency. The same applies to the Government's contacts with representatives of the municipalities. If the Government wishes to further emphasise that cooperation is a priority area, the Government can highlight this responsibility in Arbetsförmedlingen's instruction.
Arbetsförmedlingen and the municipalities need to organise the cooperation
Statskontoret's assessment is that the parties need to manage and organise their work in a way that supports the cooperation, and in doing so ensure that the cooperation becomes a fully integrated part of the activities of Arbetsförmedlingen and the municipalities. This involves clarifying the responsibility for the cooperation and following up on the actors' work in this respect. However, it is also about developing a method for measuring results of the cooperation.
One particular question is how the municipalities and Arbetsförmedlingen can maintain the feeling of being equal parties that the activities of Dua have fostered. Statskontoret finds it reasonable that the national actor Arbetsförmedlingen should be responsible for facilitating the cooperation with the municipalities.
Dua needs to continue to strengthen the follow-up and knowledge transfer
During its last two years, Dua needs to clarify what the parties need in order for the cooperation to work without the external pressure represented by Dua. Part of this work should involve systematically building up a knowledge base regarding the experiences of local cooperation according to Dua's model. Other questions that Dua should prioritise during the coming years include how the cooperation should be followed up, who shall do this and how the results of the cooperation are to be measured.