How the Government and Government Offices Function
Every four years, Swedish citizens go to the polls to elect their representatives in the Riksdag (Swedish parliament). The Riksdag appoints a Prime Minister who is given the task of forming a Government. The Government governs the nation, implementing the Riksdag's decisions and initiating new laws and law amendments. It is assisted in its work by the Government Offices and around 400 government agencies.
The Government Offices form a single, integrated public authority comprising the Prime Ministers Office, the eleven ministries and the Office for Administrative Affairs. It is a politically controlled body. The Government determines its policies and sets its priorities. All the ministries are led by a minister.
Political appointees in the Government Offices
Each minister has a staff of political appointees, usually comprising a State Secretary, a Press Secretary and one or more Political Advisers who assist the minister with policy-making. If the minister leaves the Government, their appointments come to an end.
Approximately 4 600 members of staff are employed at the Government Offices, of whom around 200 are political appointees. All the other members of staff retain their posts regardless of the political orientation of the government that is in power.
The officials employed at the ministries assist the Government in supplying background material for use as a basis for decisions and in conducting inquiries into both national and international matters. They are also responsible for supervising the operations of the public agencies that answer to the respective ministry by producing the basis for the annual appropriation directions and following up the agencies' activities. International negotiations, e.g. in the EU context, may also be among their duties.