Man at the centre of a scrum of people with microphones and cameras.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven commenting on the outsourcing scandal at the Transport Agency. Credit: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Political analyst: IT scandal reveals government communication failure

Torbjörn Larsson: "The co-ordination seems to have broken down"
5:59 min

The IT outsourcing scandal at the Swedish Transport Agency reveals a serious communication failure within the centre-left government, political scientist Torbjörn Larsson tells Radio Sweden.

The political fallout continues after this summer's scandal where the government’s Transport Agency was found to have deviated from several laws in order to be able to outsource its IT services. 

There is no doubt that this is very troubling for the government, said Torbjörn Larsson, an associate professor at Stockholm University’s political science department. "They admit it themselves; they talk about a catastrophe in communications internally in the government," he told Radio Sweden.

Larsson noted that several civil servants in different government departments as well as ministers have known a lot more about the situation at the Transport Agency than the prime minister himself. That sends a signal that the government is not very well managed, Larsson insisted.

The opposition Alliance, on its part, has been criticised for over-reacting when threatening a vote of no confidence, not just for the transport and home affairs ministers, but also for the defence minister, who knew about the security breach relatively early on and took precautions in his own ministry but did not alert the prime minister.

On Tuesday, Swedish Radio reported that the four centre-right parties in the opposition Alliance are still planning to go ahead with trying to de-seat the Minister for Defence, unless new information emerges. Parliament resumes its work on September 12th, which is when the opposition at the earliest will be able to demand a vote of no confidence in the defence minister, Peter Hultqvist.

Torbjörn Larsson believes the government as well as the opposition will try to cool the situation. Not least from the perspective of the biggest opposition party in parliament - the conservative Moderates - is the timing not great, as the party's leader has announced she will be stepping down in about a month's time.

For a timeline of the IT scandal, see here.

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