Swedish Regional Government Chooses Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to Improve Services for Citizens and Refugees

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — April 23, 2012 — The County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland, in collaboration with the European Refugee Fund, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, the Swedish Migration Board, the Swedish Public Employment Service, several local Swedish governments and IKEA, recently implemented Microsoft SharePoint 2010 as a first step in creating an integrated Web portal to give refugees access to information and resources, in five different native languages, for establishing themselves in Sweden.

“With the SharePoint deployment, our aim is to promote broader inclusion and democracy in our society as part of the overarching EU Digital Agenda,” said Kirsten Brogaard, process leader, County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland. “The goal of the agenda is to ensure all people in Europe experience the benefits of technology, and that technology is leveraged in such a way to ensure those most often marginalized or disenfranchised in society are included.”

In Sweden, there are 290 local governments, as well as 21 county administrative boards and the national government. Inevitably, this creates challenges both for the public looking to access services, as well as for the civil servants seeking the information they need to do their jobs.
Refugees in particular must often work with multiple government agencies to set up life in Sweden. This can include finding a job, applying for permits, accessing benefits and applying for asylum. The portal has been designed as a one-stop shop for all the information a citizen or potential new citizen of the country could need. The benefit is twofold: Refugees gain access to an improved and centralized source of information, and civil servants have a better work experience, with greater collaboration and increased effectiveness.

After the portal went live in early February, the board now plans to introduce Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Lync to support upcoming summer activities and events, as well as improve collaboration between government agencies and help refugees communicate with Swedish government representatives.

“The establishment process for incoming refugees is a long one that can be fraught with challenges,” said Crister Molander, industry market development manager, SE-Central Government, Microsoft Corp. “To propel the EU Digital Agenda forward, this project focuses on how cross-collaboration between national, regional and local governments, together with nongovernmental organizations and businesses, improves an individual’s chances for a more seamless implementation of his or her new life.”

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