About the Government Offices

The Government Offices form a single, integrated public authority comprising the Prime Ministers Office, the government ministries and the Office for Administrative Affairs.

The Rosenbad building Photo: Martina Huber/Government Offices of Sweden

The Prime Minister leads and coordinates the work of the Government, the eleven ministries handle government business in their respective fields, while the Office for Administrative Affairs provides the administrative services required by the Government Offices. Approximately 4,600 members of staff are employed at the Government Offices, of whom around 200 are political appointees.

The Government consists of the Prime Minister and 23 other ministers. The number of ministers or ministries is not subject to regulation. It is up to the Government to decide how the various duties are to be divided up. The Government takes decisions collectively when the Cabinet convenes on Thursdays. A minimum of five ministers must attend the Cabinet meeting before a formal decision can be taken.

Political executive

The ministers head the work of ministries with State Secretaries as their immediate subordinates. The various ministries also have Press Secretaries and Political Advisers who serve as political aides to the ministers. This group is generally referred to as the political executive. In contrast to other members of staff, ministers and political appointees relinquish their posts when there is a change of government.

Senior officials

In addition to the political executive, each ministry has a number of senior officials who are not political appointees. The Director-General for Administrative Affairs is responsible for ensuring that the principles of legality, consistency and uniformity are observed in the conduct of ministerial business. The principal duty of the Director-General for Legal Affairs is to ensure that the laws and other statutes drafted at the ministries are consistent, uniform and in compliance with the law.

Departments and secretariats

Day-to-day ministerial business is conducted by the various departments or divisions headed by a Director. These departments prepare items of business prior to the Government taking the actual decisions. They also handle contacts with the government authorities attached to the ministries.

Matters of a general or interdisciplinary nature are dealt with by a legal affairs or administrative department.

Government agencies

The police force, the Swedish Migration Board and the tax authorities are just a few examples of Swedish government agencies. Their task is to implement the laws adopted by the Riksdag. The Government supervises the operations of the agencies by issuing appropriation directions and ordinances that contain instructions about their activities. These serve as guidelines, stating what direction activities should take and the issues that should have priority. However, the Government may not determine how the agencies should act in individual cases or how they should apply legislation. Certain decisions taken by government agencies may be appealed to the Government.

Committees and commissions of inquiry

Some of the issue handled by the Government are more complicated than others. Some matters may affect the whole of Swedish society for a long time to come, while others may be a of a complex, technical nature. Before certain decisions are taken, the Government may choose to appoint a commission of inquiry to examine a particular issue in accordance with guidelines, terms of reference, set out by the Government. These commissions are made up of experts, public officials and politicians who are familiar with the matter concerned.

On completion of their work, the committees publish their findings in a final report, sometimes preceded by an interim report. These reports are published in the Swedish Government Official Report series. A committee proposal is first circulated for comment before it is drafted as a Government Bill. This gives government agencies, interest groups and the general public an opportunity to express their views on the matter.

Salaries

Government ministers receive SEK 121,000 a month. The Prime Ministers monthly salary is SEK 152,000.