Civil Society Public Partnerships – A new way for CSO:s and public actors to work together

Partnerships between civil society organizations and public actors are an important way to solve many of our current problems. In more and more contexts, partnerships between civil society organizations and the public sector are in high demand in order to bring about necessary change in a variety of fields. It can be about the transition to ecological sustainability, about integration and inclusion, about reducing segregation and about raising the results in schools in vulnerable areas. In the last ten years, a new form of working together, Civil Society Public Partnerships (CSPP), has emerged in Sweden, where more and more local and regional authorities and CSO:s are trying to find new ways to cooperate. Forum created CSPP and there are now about a hundred CSPP agreements in Sweden.

What is a CSPP?
Different actors define CSPP in slightly different ways, but overall it can be described as an agreement on collaboration or a form of collaboration between a local, regional or government
authority and a CSO in order to achieve a certain non-profit/societal goal. Forum developed the model in 2010 to enable problem solving between sectors for a more sustainable society. CSPP has been used, among other things, to counteract men’s violence against women, reduce vulnerability
among EU migrants and in the work with migrants seeking asylum. CSPP:s differ from public procurement, where the parties have a customer-contractor relationship and from grants where the amount of ongoing collaboration and communication is very limited.

Civil Society Public Partnership is a non-market solution
Each regional/local authority shall, according to the EU Commission’s legal experts and the Swedish government, first and foremost consider what the purpose of an activity is and the person’s/patient’s needs and rights, then decide which financial tool that fits this specific need.
That is to say that the public authorities are not obliged to procure all activities from external parties. The partnership relationship is a possibility especially if:
– The operation is initiated by the civil society organisation
– The activity can be seen as a step in the realization of a political program or plan in which the civil society organisations are specifically mentioned
– There is not a market or a financially competitive situation to nurture
– Both parties are involved in financing the activities (via money or other
contributions, i.e “in kind” )
– Operations are not regulated in detail by the public authority

Civil Society Public Partnership should not be confused with the more general contracts or grants from different government funds.

How CSPP have been carried out in the city of Östersund to work with migrants

Transitional housing for young people without housing
The municipality in Östersund, together with the Church of Sweden, has worked out an agreement with the aim of offering transitional housing for young people covered by the so-called upper secondary school law. Since neither the Swedish Migration Agency nor the municipalities have a clear responsibility to arrange housing for this group, they have so far ended up not beeing covered by the existing support systems. The CSPP was made after private individuals and civil society organizations drew attention to the municipality on how young people found it increasingly difficult to focus on their studies as many do not know where to stay for the night. This CSPP has been extended from the first of September 2019.

Hello Stranger

The CSO Hello Stranger contributes with an in-depth knowledge of migrants who are to be matched against internships and work in the municipality. Through their other activities with migrants, they often know the target group (or a large part of it) better than an employment agent or establishment coordinator does. That knowledge is used to make the match with a possible internship more accurate. Through Hello Stranger, newly arrived migrants have also improved their school attendance and gained new networks within the community. The popular homework help, organized by Hello Stranger, that many native Swedes also go to has also made it possible for young people from many different ethnicities to meet.