Policy for civil society
In February 2010 the Riksdag adopted the bill 'A policy for civil society' (2009/10:55), which contains proposals for objectives and directions for the policy on civil society. The new policy has replaced the former policy on non-governmental organisations and aims to highlight the significance of civil society, develop and clarify the relation between the state and civil society and take a comprehensive approach to general matters regarding civil society and its conditions.
The Government's objective is that the policy will improve the conditions for civil society as a cornerstone of democracy. This, in dialogue with civil society organisations, is to be achieved through developing civil society's ability to get people involved, strengthening its conditions for contributing to the development of society and welfare, and deepening and disseminating knowledge about civil society.
The reform contains concrete proposals on:
- a system for regularly monitoring the policy for civil society in relation to its objective
- an interdisciplinary research programme on civil society
- development of statistics on civil society
The bill also covers initiatives relating to dialogue and consultation with civil society organisations, civil society entrepreneurship, issues of participation, equal opportunities and diversity, state aid to civil society organisations, civil society's other sources of financing and matters relating to public meeting places.
Dialogue with values-based organisations
Within the framework of the policy in the area, intensive dialogue with values-based organisations is taking place. On 23 October 2008, the Government entered into an agreement with values-based organisations within the social sphere and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, a total of some 90 organisations were included. On 14 April 2010 an agreement was adopted between the Government and values-based organisations in the area of integration. The agreement concerns relations between the Government and the organisations in the introduction and improved integration of newly arrived immigrants.
The term 'civil society' is used to refer to an arena - separate from the state, the market and private households - where people, groups and organisations act together for common interests. Non-profit organisations, foundations and registered religious communities are active within civil society, as are networks, temporary associations and other actors.