Sweden’s county authorities, who are responsible for regional growth and development, have been commissioned by the government to establish coordination platforms to communicate and coordinate the future supply of and demand for labour in their respective regions. Growth Analysis has in its turn been commissioned by the government to analyse the progress of the platforms and to ascertain whether the counties have experienced barriers preventing them from completing their commission. The purpose of this report (English title: Lessons from the coordination platforms – an example of multi-level governance put into practice) is to inform the Swedish government, through the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, of the progress of the work being done by the counties and if possible give advice on ways to improve governance.
Reports on the counties’ work on the coordination platforms have previously been published by the National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (2012) and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (2012). This report is partly based on those reports and puts a focus on (i) short and long term labour force coordination, (ii) if and how policies for integration and gender equality are addressed, and (iii) whether the platforms have succeeded in coordinating the demand for and supply of labour.
All the authorities appreciate being given the commission of establishing coordination platforms and think that they are an important and functioning tool to satisfy the demand for labour in their respective regions.
Most have incorporated the work associated with the coordination platforms into their long term growth and development strategies. This illustrates that labour coordination is considered to be an important factor in regional growth and development.
All counties acknowledge the importance of incorporating integration and gender equality into the work done by the coordination platforms, although several also stress that it is difficult to actually incorporate these issues into the platform and that these questions involve multiple stakeholders. There is therefore a need to develop methods for how the coordination platforms can incorporate integration and gender equality aspects to better satisfy the demand for labour.
The commission to establish coordination platforms assumes that functioning multi-level governance and mutual understanding and agreement exist. However, the findings in this report indicate that the counties are experiencing barriers to reaching mutual understanding and agreement. For example, the counties have no mandate to tell schools and universities what education to provide and schools and universities in general have little incentive to respond to the demands of the regional labour market. Since the primary objectives of the counties are different to those of, for example, most schools and universities, it is difficult to find mutual understanding and agreement.
The barriers encountered by the counties in their work on the coordination platforms, could perhaps be resolved by developing a more coherent system for mutual understanding and agreement, i.e. multi-level governance. This is in line with the recommendation of the state commission on regional responsibility (SOU 2007:10), which demands a more organized system of collaboration and Barca (2009) who states that the success of multi-level governance is dependent on a clear allocation of tasks between different levels of government, as well as formulating common goals.
Lessons from the coordination platforms - an example of multi-level governance put into practice