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Scenes from a Film Institute (2013:8)

Statskontoret (The Swedish Agency for Public Management) has been commissioned by the Government to conduct an analysis of the Swedish Film Institute (SFI). The assignment involves, among other things, describing how SFI fulfils its mandate and whether the Government's control is suited to the Institute's functions.

Statskontoret's assessment is that SFI fulfils its mandate in several respects. For example, SFI has tightened up a lot of their operations. For SFI to fulfil its mandate fully, however, requires their activities to be developed within certain areas. The weaknesses that exist risk affecting the efficiency of the business in a negative way.

The total impact of Swedish film is not measured

The Swedish Film Institute primarily reports cinema statistics, while statistics relating to other ways of consuming film such as dvd, TV and internet are only reported to a small extent. It is unclear what proportion of the consumption consists of Swedish film and how this film is seen.

Few effects are reported and the results are not linked to resources

In order for the Government to assess SFI's future needs, the results have to be linked to the resources that have been utilised. However, such links are not shown in SFI's profit and loss accounting. Furthermore, few effects of SFI's activities have been reported. This makes it difficult to assess whether the objectives of Swedish film are achieved, how SFI's activities affect the achievement of said objectives, or what efforts would be required in order to meet the objectives. There is also a need to complement the quality measures that the Swedish Film Institute uses. This is to reduce the sensitivity to trends and improve comparability over time. Furthermore, SFI's reporting of the Film Agreement needs to be developed.

The grounds for awarding production funding are too undefined

Production funding amounts to a total of almost SEK 230 million and is often crucial for a film to be produced. The grounds for awarding this funding are too unclear. The Swedish Film Institute has not established sufficiently clear criteria for their assessments, nor are the written rejections justified to any great extent. Therefore, neither the Government, the Film Agreement's parties nor the individual filmmakers can interpret the basis on which aid is awarded.

The Swedish Film Institute can be streamlined

The Swedish Film Institute is not organised in a fully effective manner. For example, SFI has worked with the Film Agreement more than the financing has allowed. Furthermore, SFI has internal governance and control weaknesses in certain areas and the Board has not adequately requested information on the business' internal control. Nor do SFI's proposals to the Government always constitute sufficient grounds for prioritisation. There is also a need to further improve cooperation across unit and departmental boundaries.

The chain of command needs to be strengthened

Whilst the Swedish Film Institute conducts activities within all areas identified by the Government, SFI's internal chain of command does not ensure that these activities are based on the Government's objectives. It is difficult for the employees to see what direction has been indicated to SFI and what tasks should be prioritised.

The Swedish Film Institute does not prioritise accessibility

Even though SFI has taken measures, the Institute does not sufficiently prioritise the objective of making film more accessible. For example, SFI has not yet conducted a detailed legal review of the possible options available for making film heritage more accessible. Furthermore, there is also a lack of clear priorities regarding making film accessible to groups with special needs. Nor does the Institute actively work with increasing revenue in the Film Agreement through an increased number of moviegoers.

Future challenges for government control

The Government's control of the Swedish Film Institute is essentially coherent. However, it is difficult for the Government to attain an overall picture of the Swedish Film Institute's results since the Institute reports its operations on two different occasions. SFI should report all activities in a single compiled report.

Uncertainty regarding the Film Agreement's future and content hampers the Swedish Film Institute's long-term planning of operations. It is therefore important for the Government to work towards long-term sustainability in the management of the area of film.