Swedes have ‘little faith’ in jobs agency: survey

Swedes have a low-level of confidence in the agency tasked with helping their out of work compatriots find jobs, according to a new survey.

Swedes have 'little faith' in jobs agency: survey

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.”

TT/The Local/og

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Sweden Democrats climb in new poll

The Sweden Democrats are Sweden's fourth largest political party, according to a new poll, while the opposition parties maintained their lead over the Alliance government.

Sweden Democrats climb in new poll

The Social Democrats, Green Party and Left parties together polled 48.6 percent to the Alliance parties’ 42.2 percent in the Sifo poll, published in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Sunday.

The Sweden Democrats meanwhile came in at a record 7.7 percent, up 0.5 percentage points on the previous poll.

The Green Party are behind the opposition bloc’s climb, up 1.1 points on the previous month’s poll. The Social Democrats meanwhile declined 1.2 points.

The Moderates climbed marginally by 0.1 points to 28.8 percent.

The Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) was down 1 point, the Centre Party down 0.4 points and the Christian Democrats dropped further below the 4 percent threshold for parliamentary seats.

Göran Hägglund’s Christian Democrats polled 3.4 percentage points, down 0.4 points on the previous poll.

At about the halfway point in the Swedish parliamentary term, it remains unclear however whether the Red-Greens are ready and able to form a coalition in time for the election in 2014.

The Sweden Democrats have enjoyed fairly stable support since the 2012 election and the latest poll indicated that the party will retain its balance of power status in the Swedish parliament after 2014.

The party on Friday announced a “clean out” of its rank and file with party leader Jimmie Åkesson declaring that he was eager to curb the stream of racist and homophobic comments made by party members since the 2010 election.