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Governance of authorities in the judicial chain is not adequately integrated

The Swedish NAO’s audit of the judicial chain shows that the Government has not had sufficient focus on the entire chain in its governance. The judicial chain consists of the police, prosecutors, courts, and the prison and probation service.

Gavel on table in courtroom.

Photo: Hasse Bengtsson

The services that form the judicial chain are linked, and the various authorities are affected by each other’s work. Consequently, to avoid bottlenecks, for example, governance needs to be integrated and take into account effects throughout the entire chain.

The Swedish NAO’s audit shows that the Government and authorities responsible are aware of this. Despite this, governance has mainly focused on the individual authorities, and thus not taken sufficient account of effectiveness and efficiency throughout the entire judicial chain.

“This is partly due to the internal work processes and division of responsibilities at the Ministry of Justice, which are based on the individual authorities. But we also see that the chain perspective has not been sufficiently evident in allocation of resources and in important policy documents,” says Auditor General Stefan Lundgren.

The fact that the judicial chain is not governed in an integrated way ultimately entails a risk that the judicial system will not be as effective and efficient as it could be. This could, for example, lead to inadequate handling of criminal cases and growing processing times, which has an adverse effect on individuals.

The Swedish NAO also notes that follow-up needs to be more consistent with a chain perspective, and that better knowledge of relationships in the judicial chain is needed.

“Today it is difficult to follow the entire chain’s work and outcomes fully. Our assessment is therefore that access to analyses from an overall perspective needs to be strengthened,” says Helena Fröberg, project leader for the audit.

Recommendations

The Swedish National Audit Office recommends that the Government:

  • clarifies a more long-term judicial chain focus in its governance
  • increases the holistic perspective in contacts with authorities
  • strengthens access to follow-up and analysis from an overall perspective.

It is recommended that the authorities to a greater extent hold joint discussions on strategic questions to achieve consensus on priority areas and on what should be done to ensure the judicial chain is efficient and effective.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

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Updated: 29 May 2019

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