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How is the Swedish Migration Agency’s new organisation evolving? (2019:19)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has been commissioned to analyse the organisation of the Swedish Migration Agency which has been in effect as of 1 April 2018. We have, among other aspects, monitored how the Migration Agency has implemented the proposals submitted by Statskontoret in 2017.

We consider the basis for the organisation to be appropriate, and that it therefore provides the conditions necessary for the Migration Agency to work effectively and to achieve better operational results. However, the Migration Agency needs to develop its strategic steering, clarify how they will work with digitalisation, and also implement the reorganisation in full.

Progress on the strategic steering

Since our last report, the Migration Agency has carried out measures to reinforce its strategic steering. We note that the management is now discussing strategy issues in a different way than before. The new operational strategy is a good basis for the steering of the agency.

Since 2018, the Deputy Director-General and the agency staff are supporting the agency's internal steering. We believe that these functions can reinforce the steering even further than they already have. The agency staff should be more involved in producing documentation for the management, and the Deputy Director-General can be assigned the specific role of developing effective internal steering.

Detention needs to be better integrated into the steering

The detention activities have increased substantially and their conditions have also changed. At present, the agency is not systematically analysing the consequences of the detention when making inter-agency decisions. In our report, we give examples of how the Migration Agency must better integrate the detention into steering and support activities, while at the same time the agency must take into account the unique nature of the detention activities.

Development needs within the digitalisation work

The conditions for conducting digitalisation and development have been improved thanks to the new joint Digitalisation and Development Department (DUA). However, the agency's system environment is complex, with overlapping IT systems and dependencies between old and new IT systems. This impedes the development of IT support, causes additional work for administrators, and prevents streamlining of the activities. Nor does the agency have clear, guiding goals for the digitalisation of its activities, which makes it harder for the management to prioritise between various IT projects.

The process management is progressing, but some steps remain

The process management is making progress but has yet to make a full impact. One reason is that the work on the processes is not sufficiently linked to the operation. We are therefore proposing that the process manager role is placed within the regional authorities, rather than at DUA. This would allow the process management to make more of an impact on the activities. DUA can instead focus completely on strategic process management, for example, in developing the collaboration forums within the agency. As these forums are currently set up, they have not yet made a sufficient contribution towards coordinating the agency's processing. The mandates to propose changes in the processes are not sufficiently clear either.

Resources need to be used more efficiently

So far, the Migration Agency has had no plan for utilising the streamlining potential that arose due to the latest reorganisation. We have also identified other factors preventing the efficient use of resources. One example is that the agency is not sufficiently flexible when it comes to moving resources between regional authorities.

The Migration Agency needs especially to analyse the functions that were transferred to the National Coordination Department (NSA) and DUA. These functions were essentially transferred straight into the two new departments without the agency analysing the possibilities of streamlining and whether the functions were appropriately located. One point of departure should be that the responsibility for the head office follow-up is as cohesive as possible and that existing synergies between IT and organisational development must be reinforced.

Roles and responsibilities should be clarified and established

Statskontoret makes the assessment that the Migration Agency needs to continue clarifying and establishing its organisation. Roles and responsibilities need to be communicated to the entire organisation. We propose that this work is led by the Deputy Director-General.

There are still roles and responsibilities that need clarifying. Managers, for example, do not always have the authority to exercise their leadership, which makes it harder for them to establish support for decisions and ensure that they are effective. The agency also needs to develop the process for coordinating issues within the head office. The operational activities sometimes receive conflicting signals, as the head office does not sufficiently coordinate its line and process management.

Statskontoret's proposals

Statskontoret proposes the following:

  • Ensure that the agency staff is supportive of the strategic efforts.
  • Integrate the detention activities in the agency's steering and support activities and at the same time develop ways to take the unique nature of the detention activities into account.
  • Define guiding targets for the digitalisation process, prioritise the most important IT projects in order to achieve the targets, and develop a long-term action plan for how to unify and improve the IT system.
  • Place the responsibility for process managers with the regional authorities and ensure that DUA focuses entirely on strategic process management.
  • Develop a plan for how to use human resources as efficiently as possible. This plan should consider the factors pointed out by Statskontoret and which prevent human resources from being efficiently utilised.
  • Investigate whether the localisation and working methods of the functions that were transferred to NSA and DUA are appropriate considering that the follow-up should be as unified as possible and that the agency should reinforce synergies, for example, using transverse methods.
  • Assign the Deputy Director-General to lead a project to clarify and establish responsibilities, mandates and roles in the organisation.