lu.se

Ekonomihögskolan

Lunds universitet

Three levels of government

Public Management in Sweden

There are three levels of government in Sweden; national, regional and local. The central government agencies have central, regional and local departments.

The Local Government sector is divided into County Councils (regional level) and Municipalities (local level). Health Care, Public Transport and Regional Development are the main responsibilities for the County Councils. Elderly care, Nursery, Primary and Secondary Education and Social Services are some important responsibilities for the local government. Swedish municipalities are, by law and tradition, relatively autonomous from central government and have extensive powers of self-determination. Besides the right to levy their own taxes, the municipalities, to a large extent, can determine how various activities should be organized and implemented. However, a majority of municipal activities take place within the framework of specific regulations. This framework concern activities and services that the municipalities in compliance with specific legislation, which central government decide upon must provide for their residents. In 1996, an equalization system was introduced in order to level the playing field and give equal conditions to all municipalities.