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Swedish Public Employment Service increases efficiency with regulatory compliance


Automation of benefit application processes


Yearly reduction in incorrect payments since 2020


Swedish citizens helped into employment in 2022


Support for Swedish citizens when they need it most 
Helping citizens find their way back into the workplace is a cornerstone of any democratic society. The Swedish Public Employment Service, Arbetsförmedlingen (AF), exists to fulfil this exact function; matching jobseekers with employment opportunities, implementing government labour market policies to qualify applicants, and ensuring that welfare payments reach those citizens who need financial support most.

In December 2022 alone, the Swedish Public Employment Service helped almost 21,000 Swedes into employment*. Each year its teams process more than four to five million benefit applications and Sweden has provided a home for more than 50,000 Ukrainian refugees. 

But for all public authorities in Europe, the impacts of COVID-19, rising energy prices and economic turbulence are putting added pressure on already squeezed government budgets. For the Swedish Public Employment Service this means achieving more with less, moving quickly to implement new programmes to support Swedish citizens and businesses. 

And in the current economic climate, it’s never been more important to reduce fraud, payment errors and other inefficiencies in the welfare system.

Ensuring a fair, transparent and consistent welfare system 
“Transparency and public confidence in what we do is fundamental to our organisation”, explains Kian Wingård Sten, Head of Information Management, Legal Department, Swedish Public Employment Service. 

As the pace of change accelerates, the Swedish Public Employment Service has been replacing traditional processes and ways of working with digital infrastructure, digital tools, and services, providing new, flexible, and easy to use channels to connect jobseekers with employers and new skills training opportunities. 

“The Nordic countries are highly digitalised, and our people are very skilled and experienced using digital tools and technologies”, explains Krister Dackland, CIO, Swedish Public Employment Service. “But we want to make a major leap forward, from a digital organisation to a digitally transformed organisation.

“In a digital organisation you put digital tools in the hands of caseworkers, which makes them more efficient. In a digitally transformed organisation, you utilise the possibilities that digital infrastructure and tools provide to transform the entire way of working, the operational model and the business logic.

“It’s the difference between a workshop and a factory. In a factory everyone is a specialist rather than a generalist. By decoupling a client from an individual caseworker, and instead having specialists at every stage, we’ll help unemployed people to take control of their own job hunting themselves”.

“We’ll provide specialist support when they need it, with a mix of automated services and expert personal guidance for those people who need it most. The ServiceNow platform is playing an important role on our journey to become a truly digitally transformed organisation”. 

The Swedish Public Employment Service is determined to ensure that every citizen is treated fairly, equally and consistently when accessing the welfare system. This requires a transparent system with every activity and decision carried out in strict compliance with Swedish laws and regulations.

For this part of its digital transformation journey, it wanted to be able to move at high speed, often within days, to implement new government policies to support citizens, in response to today’s fast-moving world. 

The organisation also wanted to deploy secure digital technologies to fight back against benefit fraud, automate core processes to help reduce incorrect payments, and eliminate time-consuming manual tasks to unlock time for staff and make efficient and effective use of taxpayers’ money. 

“The citizens of Sweden are our customers, and we are using their money. Treating people equally, complying with laws and rules, and being transparent with our information is vital. If we do these things well, our citizens will trust us”, explains Stephan Eggimann, Product Manager, Swedish Public Employment Service.

Delivering a secure, seamless service for citizens and agents 
“As we digitise and increase the level of automation, it is important that we ensure our digital services can replace the capabilities of our physical agents. Concretely, this means we must ensure that our automations act as ‘digital administrators’, handling cases correctly and legally, following the interpretation of regulations and treating everyone equally”, explains Stephan Eggimann. 

After developing a high-level concept and detailed specification for the most important parts of the concept, Stephan Eggimann and his architect collaborated with ServiceNow architects to bring the concept to life, completing a proof of concept for a unique low-code custom application that ultimately became known as Regulated Workflows. 

The concept of Regulated Workflows focused on three main areas:

  • Compliance: Establishing compliance by design. Creating a workflow with an inbuilt understanding of regulatory requirements to ensure compliance is ascertained without the need for human intervention.
  • Traceability: Ensuring every aspect of the workflow is tracked and recorded in real time, including the interpretation of legal and non-legal regulations. 
  • Equal treatment: Enabling the use of one process for all case management, regardless of whether the case is processed manually, automatically or a combination of both.

Regulated Workflows combines elements of ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) and Integrated Risk Management (IRM), connected by App Engine, to deliver a seamless experience for citizens applying for benefits and for its agents providing information, advice and guidance. 

With the integration of the IRM module, Policy and Compliance Management, the system can automatically check based on the information provided and the laws and regulations attached to that benefit, such as if the citizen meets the benefit requirements, ensuring every individual is treated equally and in a timely manner. 

“With ServiceNow we have a configurable, legally secure solution that can be adapted very quickly to meet any new or changed law or regulation, without the need for IT interventions”, comments Kian Wingård Sten. 

As soon as a new piece of legislation or a new initiative is announced, the organisation is able to make the necessary plans to ensure that it is integrated into the system on the launch date. 

“It’s a very innovative approach to solving a complex problem, all contained within a single platform. Every benefits case is treated the same way and decisions made are fully traceable back to current legislation, whether the case management process is manual, semi-automated or fully-automated”, adds Stephan Eggimann.

Swedish Public Employment Service logo
Swedish Public Employment Service
Swedish Public Employment Service
Stockholm, Sweden

The ServiceNow platform is playing an important role on our journey to become a truly digitally transformed organisation.

Krister Dackland



Increased automation and efficiency
Currently more than 50% of the Swedish Public Employment Service’s benefit application processes have been automated in ServiceNow, with steady further increases over time. There’s no customisation and very little coding which makes the system very easy to maintain and update.

“While 100% automation is technically achievable in a legal and secure environment in ServiceNow, there may be circumstances where it’s not appropriate to automate workflows”, explains Stephan Eggimann. 

“Sometimes regulations are open to interpretation, so it’s important to be able to manually intervene in these cases. In time, Artificial Intelligence will be able to support us by learning from our past manual interventions when a regulation is ambiguous”. 

Regulated Workflows, and instant access to data history, is enabling agents to be more focused and productive with more time to spend on tasks which require manual intervention and cases needing in depth investigation.

Collaboration delivers process focus and agility
“Our ServiceNow account team are very good at collaboration, and we have combined our respective skills very effectively to find solutions to many challenges and meet our targets”, explains Krister Dackland. 

“ServiceNow helps us to work in a process-oriented way, moving from a person-to-person approach, supporting people to rely on an automated system, which is how digitally transformed organisations function. 

“The process steps remain the same, but we’re now much more agile, able to respond quickly to decisions or rule changes by the government, to target support toward different demographic groups or sectors of the economy. 

“Whether support is delivered by automated services or skilled people, the same process steps are being used, which delivers fairness, transparency, consistency and the best results”. 

Next on the organisation’s ServiceNow roadmap is to use the toolkit to build further controls that will further reduce the volume of incorrect payments, fight fraud and enhance risk management capabilities. 

Overpayments have already been reduced by more than €28 million every year since 2020. And with automation freeing up teams to work specifically on fraud and overpayment, this figure is expected to increase in the years ahead. 

“Public service organisations in Sweden are always looking for opportunities to collaborate and share best practice”, concludes Stephan Eggimann. “I’m convinced that there is a huge opportunity for our Regulated Workflows solution to be applied to meet similar challenges in other government departments and agencies—and even outsourced into the private sector too”.

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*Source: Månadsstatistik (


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