Synopsis table Sweden Who plans and designs? Social assistance State (national or federal level) The legal framework for social assistance is the Social Service Act (2001:453). Mostly regulated is the part of the law focusing on cash allowance, where there is a national uniform benefit standard determined each year by the Swedish parliament. This part is regulated rather detailed (see policy area vignette summary). The other part focusing on the peoples responsibility for their own lives, help to self-support, activation, managing their economy… is not at all regulated by legislation. A monetary benefit standard was introduced by the National Board for Health and welfare in 1985, to at serve as guideline for the monetary standards established by the municipalities. Its purpose was to harmonize assessments of what a reasonable living standard Eligibility criteria (who defines them)) The right to social assistance is not conditioned, thus all people can apply for it –but eligibility will be tested through an individual means test. The Social Service Act is a framework law, only determining intentions and the frame of the activities, leaving rather great discretion to the municipalities. Financing (who pays) Evaluation of needs and access Inter-institutional allocation of resources (who carries it out) (from whom to whom) Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) and County Administrative Boards (Länsstyrelser) have a joint duty to supervise the work of the municipal Social Services. The supervision of the Social Services is aimed at ensuring that the Social Services monitor the quality of and strive to improve their activities with regard to individuals’ legal rights and the quality and legal correctness of the services provided. The National Board of Health and Welfare has general responsibility at a national level. Provision of services (delivery) is, to limit the variation between the municipalities and to simplify case processing routines by including as many items as possible in the standard. Nonetheless, several municipalities began to exclude some budgetary items included in the guidelines, supported by a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in 1994, and in 1996 about half of the municipalities had excluded one or several items from their local standards. A national benefit standard was introduced in 1998 that now serves as a kind of lowest standard the municipalities are obliged to follow. The right to appeal is one aspect that has changed over time. In the revised Social Service Act from 1998 the individual possibilities to appeal were restricted. Restricted possibilities to appeal resulted in a reduced influence of the administrative courts whereas municipal influence grew. This however was changed anew in the revised law from 2001 to the earlier status. That is the right to appeal applies both to decisions concerning basic living costs, as well as decisions about other types of assistance. Region (Specify) The County Administrative Board is responsible for routine inspection at county level. The National Board of Health and Welfare has general responsibility at a national level, but neither the National Board of Health and Welfare nor any other body has the right to contest the supervisory decisions of the County Administrative Board. The National Board of Health and Welfare and the County Administrative Boards collaborate to strengthen and develop the supervision of the Social Services. The County Administrative Board supervises both municipally and privately run services. Province (or other subregional authority, specify) Municipality (or other local authority, specify) Other institution (specify) Not for profit actors For profit actors Other social actors Users (Specify) Other (Specify) No one The municipalities normally formulate own policies regarding for example demands towards clients or amounts in granting other needs as those defined in the national standards. Eligibility criteria are also formulated in the municipal guidelines. Funding social assistance is a municipal responsibility and financed via local taxes. Social assistance is a municipal responsibility and the municipalities administrate and finance the benefit. They have the autonomy to choose the organizational form of their activities according to the local conditions Regarding the activation part of the law that means peoples responsibility for their own lives, help to self-support and activation other actors on the local level (such as the local public employment office or a local municipal employment centre) can be involved.