Logotype The Swedish NAO, link to startpage.

Poor control of supervision in the transport sector

The Swedish Transport Agency has an extensive and important supervisory remit. The Swedish National Audit Office audit shows that the Swedish Transport Agency has not ensured that supervision is carried out where it is most useful. Furthermore, the Swedish Transport Agency does not spend all of its appropriations, despite the fact that supervision is deficient in several areas.

Spårområde nära hamn och stadsbebyggelse i motljus.

Foto: Kentaroo Tryman

The Swedish Transport Agency carries out supervision in around 100 areas within aviation, maritime transport, road traffic and rail traffic. The overall objective is to maintain traffic safety, reduce environmental impact and safeguard well-functioning markets in the transport sector.

The Swedish National Audit Office (Swedish NAO) audit shows that the Swedish Transport Agency has not produced a comprehensive priority model. Therefore, the Swedish Transport Agency does not know whether supervision is carried out where the risks are greatest, and thereby have the most benefit. To lay the foundation for this, the Swedish Transport Agency needs to follow up and analyse its supervisory activities to a greater extent.

The results are corroborated in particular by a questionnaire survey carried out by the Swedish NAO addressed to the Swedish Transport Agency’s inspectors. Less than half of the inspectors consider that the agency is giving priority to the supervision that is most useful.

Two relatively new areas in which the Swedish Transport Agency has barely carried out any supervision at all is the supervision in accordance with the Protective Security Act and the Act on Network and Information Security. The supervision of national maritime transport in Sweden is also severely deficient.

“For several years, developing supervision in these areas has formed part of the Swedish Transport Agency’s remit. It is a shortcoming that work has not progressed further,” says Magnus Landergren, Project Leader for the audit.

The Swedish NAO also notes that the Swedish Transport Agency has not spent all of its appropriations in recent years. In spite of this, the agency has requested, and received, increased funds from the Government.

Furthermore, in some of the supervisory areas that the Swedish Transport Agency describes as being deficient, the agency has collected more fees than the cost of supervision and has amassed large surpluses.

“The Swedish Transport Agency has not spent its appropriations for fee-based activities, while some of the objects of supervision pay for a supervision that has not been effectuated. That is not effective, and exposes shortcomings in the agency’s internal governance,” says Auditor General Helena Lindberg.

The Swedish Transport Agency has informed the Government that its supervisory activities have been deficient. Despite this, the Government has not followed up or requested supplementary information to be able to assess the gravity of the supervisory shortcomings.

Furthermore, the Government did not take action when the Swedish Transport Agency refrained from providing information which, according to its instructions, it must report annually.

Recommendations in brief

It is recommended that the Swedish Transport Agency start a regular agency-wide analysis to determine which supervisory areas have the greatest supervisory needs and where supervision can be most beneficial.

The Swedish Transport Agency should also introduce objectives for the supervisory activities and associated metrics that can be used to evaluate operations.

The Government is recommended to, in particular, clarify what reporting requirements are to apply for the Swedish Transport Agency.

See the report for the full recommendations.

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

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

Updated: 01 March 2023

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