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Evaluation of the governance of the strategy for Roma inclusion (2018:13)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has been commissioned to evaluate the governance of the government’s strategy for Roma inclusion. The assignment was to analyse whether the structure of state governance has been appropriate and has made an effective contribution to achieving the overarching goal of the strategy. The assignment also involved evaluating to which extent state governance has been characterised by the Roma minority participation and influence over governance. Statskontoret’s assignment did not include analysing governance at a municipal level or the results achieved so far through the strategy. Statskontoret’s conclusions

The strategy should be viewed as a reinforcement of the policy for the national minorities. It covers the period until 2032, with the overarching goal that a Roma who reaches the age of 20 that year will have the same opportunities in life as a person who is not a Roma.

The government has decided on initiatives in all areas of the strategy. Central government agencies such as the Public Employment Service, the Swedish National Agency for Education, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society have been engaged through government assignments. The additional funding approved by government for local development activities has, however, only reached a small number of municipalities, and few initiatives have been targeted at county councils or regions.

Many of the government’s central initiatives have been characterised by short notice and a short-term perspective. This means that municipalities and the agencies concerned have not had sufficient time to plan and gain acceptance for development work in administrative organisations and within the Roma minority. Statskontoret believes that the far too short-term perspective that has characterised the government’s governance means that there is a risk that initiatives for Roma inclusion are confined to temporary projects. There was a problem with many of the initiatives implemented before the strategy was produced, which the government wanted to avoid through the strategy.

In the strategy, the government describes a structure for governance that is based on ordinary structures and the prevailing division of responsibilities. The government also uses the strategy to describe how the initiatives are to be coordinated. Statskontoret’s evaluation shows that the government’s governance in these respects has largely worked well. Statskontoret does, however, note that some agencies, including the Swedish National Agency for Education and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, have had assignments that were far too narrowly defined. These relate primarily to the bridge-building course, in which the agencies shared operational responsibility with the Government Offices of Sweden.

The County Administrative Board in Stockholm County has played a central role in coordinating initiatives within the strategy, and the agency has been passing on relevant data to the government on an ongoing basis. The County Administrative Board has not, however, had adequate conditions under which to work systematically on its assignment to disseminate knowledge.

Government agencies and the Government Offices of Sweden have organised many meetings with the Roma minority with a view to providing the Roma with an opportunity to participate and have an influence. These meetings took place before decisions and in connection with the implementation of individual measures. Statskontoret confirms, however, that the government’s assignment with regard to consultation sometimes had an unclear purpose and the meetings had low participation levels, which made it more difficult for the Roma to have an influence.

Statskontoret’s recommendations

The strategy has a long time perspective, and 14 years remain of the 20-year strategy. Statskontoret has a number of recommendations that aim to make future work with the strategy more effective. Statskontoret recommends that the government

  • present an overarching emphasis for the government initiatives in continued work with the strategy,
  • give a more comprehensive responsibility for development initiatives to the agencies with central assignments to realise the strategy’s goal
  • reinforce the strategy’s knowledge-building function,
  • involve more municipalities and county councils in work with the strategy and
  • create better conditions for the Roma to be able to participate in and have an influence over the governance of the strategy.