In Sweden, there are 290 municipalities.
The municipality is responsible for many issues in the local environment, for example, preschools, schools, upper secondary schools, elderly care, support to children, families, to people with disabilities and to people with abuse problems.
The municipality is also the responsible licensing authority for various matters, for example, planning permission and permits to restaurants that serve alcohol.
In addition, the municipality is responsible for streets and traffic, sanitation, water and sewerage, environmental and health protection, as well as fire brigade and emergency services.
The municipality also offers library services and cultural activities, tourist information, sports and recreational activities as well as provides support to businesses and associations.
Political organisations and administrative organisations
All municipalities have a political organisation as well as an administrative organisation.
The political organisation consists of the municipal council, the municipal executive board, and advisory boards that are responsible for various issues. The municipal executive board and advisory boards have their own administration. These administrations handle daily work within the municipality.
Politicians in the political organisation decide what needs to be done, while the employees in the administrative organisation determine how these things will be done.
Municipal sources of income
Municipal taxes represent a large share of municipal income. Each municipality itself determines how much the municipal tax will be and how those funds will be distributed.
Municipalities also receive a national grant from the state. Certain national grants are general, others may only be used within certain areas that the state has determined.
The municipality also collects payment for some of their services, for example within elderly care and child care, or for water and sewerage.
Controls and supervision
The state audits and supports the municipality's work through state supervisory authorities. One example of a supervisory authority is Skolverket (The Swedish National Agency for Education), whose task is to check that both municipal schools and independent schools fulfil the requirements stated in the school laws and curriculum.
In other areas, it may be the municipality itself that is responsible for supervision, for example fire safety and waste management.
Municipal operations are audited by municipality auditors.
Municipal autonomy is a fundamental principle that is laid down in the system of government, one of Sweden's constitutional laws.
The municipality must follow the laws and other frameworks that the parliament and the government legislate. But in addition, municipal autonomy gives the municipality the right to make independent decisions and to tax the inhabitants, in order to meet its obligations.
As an inhabitant, you are able to influence the decisions of your municipality in various ways; for example, by contacting politicians, offering your point of view, voting in referendums, and appealing decisions.
Laws that steer the municipality's work
Municipal law, administrative law, and laws concerning the general public and confidentiality steer all municipal administrative work as it pertains to issues to be dealt with, decisions, and other administration.
There are also laws for various areas of operation, such as school law, planning and building ordinances, laws about support and services to various disabled people, social service legislation as well as health and medical care law.