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Citizen today, December 2011 - Sweden embraces lean government - EY - Global

Citizen today, December 2011

Sweden embraces lean government

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"We need to look at how the public sector continues to work with the lean model." Dan Eliasson, Director General of the Swedish Migration Board

Sweden's public sector is increasingly looking to the private sector in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its services.

Borrowing from business leaders

Lean businesses create systems that need less human effort, less space, less capital and less time to make products and services at considerably far less cost. The Swedish government found those qualities appealing, and starting incorporating lean principals into their practices.

In Sweden, the Migration Board is widely regarded as one of the most prominent public authorities to have adopted the lean model. In 2008, the Board launched a pilot project at its Gothenburg office, which deals with asylum seekers.

"The handling time for asylum cases was reduced from approximately 240 days to 75 once we'd introduced lean," says Dan Eliasson, Director General of the Swedish Migration Board.

Södertälje Municipality, situated just south of Stockholm, is also known for successfully adopting lean techniques in Sweden.

Ulla-Marie Hellenberg, Director of Södertälje Municipality, worked with Scania, the Swedish international truck and bus manufacturer, to learn how their lean process could be adapted to the public sector.

Private sector versus public sector benefits

Eliasson and Hellenberg are acutely aware that there is a stark difference between what the private sector and public sector can achieve by being lean.

"It's not all about money," says Ulla-Marie Hellenberg. "It's not about that kind of efficiency. Lean helps us provide better experiences, support and care for the inhabitants of Södertälje. It's all about the people."

Still, they continue to look for best practices.

"We need to look at how the public sector continues to work with the lean model. There's a still a lot that we can learn from each other," says Eliasson.



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