The Swedish public has strong trust in the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, but not in the National Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) nor Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen), which both ranked at the bottom when the country’s 25 biggest public authorities were ranked in a recent survey.
Following Sweden’s Riksbanken, the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) and the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) came in with the highest confidence rating of the 3,000 people surveyed by market research company Sifo.
The findings show that public authorities tend to have a better reputation when users have direct experience with the body.
However, the jobs and social insurance agencies proved to be the exception to the rule, as both received negative reviews.
The ranking is based on a 200-step scale from -65 to +135, where everything below zero is considered extremely negative.
While the Riksbank received a score of +48, the social insurance agency received a score of -21, while the social insurance agency achieved -18.
“Up until 2008, the Social Insurance Agency had really high figures, but then two things happened,” explained Dan Eliasson, the agency’s general director, told the TT news agency.
“It introduced new rules for health insurance that were heavily criticized and that we were forced to bear the brunt of. Many people were mixed up in politics and the exercise of public authority and that’s something we still live with.
“At the same time, we carried out a big reorganization that caused huge problems with delivering good services in 2008,” he said, adding that the issues have been resolved and that the services are much improved now.
The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), the Social Insurance Agency and the National Public Employment Agency are the three organizations most open to media scrutiny, but this is something that Eliasson encourages.
“It’s clear that the media’s scrutiny of individual cases influences the Swedish public,” he said.
“But I want to stress that this is a scrutiny we do not want to be without. These three organizations have especially responsible tasks, and we will be scrutinized and have the media on us like a blowtorch so that we can improve.”