Introduction to Community in Sweden
In the RECENT context, local authorities are considered as “community” in Sweden. This is due to the strong role of public authorities in the context of energy use and provision as well as in water issues.
There is a long tradition of local self-government. The key concept for the Swedish model of public administration is decentralisation. Decentralisation also makes it possible to gear activities to particular local conditions. This means that existing resources can be used more effectively. Local self-government is bound up with democracy and opportunities for people to influence local authority decisions or call local politicians to account. The democratic system in Sweden includes some elements of direct democracy, like advisory referendums, citizens’ proposals to local assemblies and user management boards.
Local authorities have the right to levy taxes to carry out their tasks. There are important mandatory tasks for local authorities in Sweden which include planning and building matters, environmental protection task, water & sewage and waste collection. In many local authorities, energy provision is added to that as a voluntary task.