The “State as a Role Model” report (Staten som förebild?) deals with the observance of the federal politicians’ regulatory instructions and ethnic diversity work in government authorities. The general idea is that the integration policy be taken seriously, both through giving concrete substance to the objective, of the state serving as a model, when it comes to ethnic diversity, and through examining adherence to this objective. The report focuses on planning, initiatives and outcomes. Working on the basis of the regulations set out by Swedish parliament and Government, the action plans of 17 federal authorities are examines with respect to ethnic diversity, the 17 authorities are asked about their work with diversity, and the outcome in their personnel numbers are mapped. The relationships between planning, initiatives and outcomes are considered, as are the regulatory instructions.
Of the 17 authorities selected, 15 have drawn up action plans for promoting ethnic diversity. Generally speaking, most of these programs are weak from a content perspective, and the authorities’ diversity work is in need of holistic thinking. Methods for incorporating the integration policy into current day-to-day activities need to be developed.
One overall impression gained from the interviews with the authorities is that internal work to increase and better utilize the diversity found in Swedish society is perceived as fairly new, and as yet both given relatively little reflection and rather shaky. All of the authorities interviewed need to further develop their diversity work, some more than others.
When it comes to the outcome in personnel numbers, the percentage of foreign-born individuals working at the 17 authorities is in general considerably lower than the corresponding figure for foreign-born workers otherwise employed in the nation. The fact that foreign-born individuals are generally under-represented in federal administration is reflected in their also being under-represented in different occupations at the 17 authorities, especially with respect to management positions.
One important observation is that, at most of the authorities surveyed in the study, there was a decline in the total number of employees between the years of 1997 and 2001, although this has not affected foreign-born employees, as is otherwise often the case. The need to hire new people at the 17 authorities during this period, as a whole, has been small. This means that any substantial changes in the composition of personnel through new recruitment have not been possible during the initial years of the integration policy.
When focus is directed to the local and regional levels, and to the more concrete day-to-day work of the authorities, it becomes clear that an authority’s diversity work is characterized by the nature of its activities. Indepth study on the local and regional levels also shows the importance of organizing the work, as well as the importance of diversity for externally-oriented activities, and that diversity can be perceived as somewhat of a sensitive, new or unfamiliar issue. The closer analyses also show that organizations can follow independent strategies in relation to their plans for ethnic diversity.
Even if no strong connections can be demonstrated between planning, initiatives and outcomes in the analysis in this report, the Swedish Integration Board feels it is too early to rule out the federal stipulation that authorities use special action plans in their work to promote ethnic diversity. One must remember that the integration policy is a new policy that involves long-range development processes, not all of which are subject to immediate impact. Before the policy is abandoned, the directives on diversity should be implemented in full. One way to make the policy more clear may be to write more specific demands into the directives and budget appropriations to the authorities.