By law, municipalities are responsible for:
Other services provided on a voluntary basis include:
The municipality is a democratically governed organization, and elected representatives are responsible for municipal activities.
Every fourth year, Umeå elect a new Municipal Council - a "municipal parliament" - at the same time as County Council and parliamentary elections are held in Sweden. The 65 seats in the Council are allocated in a direct election process between candidates representing the political parties participating in the election. The Municipal Council then selects the members of the Municipal Executive Board and members of the other municipal committees and boards. The Executive Board, which has 15 members, is the local equivalent of the cabinet at the national level. The Municipal Council meets in accordance with a set timetable, and the general public is welcome to attend. The written documents and reports discussed are public information and are available at the municipal offices.
The Municipal Council is the municipality´s ultimate decision-making body, and takes key decisions that concern the municipal organizational structure, finances, and overall planning, the appointment of members of municipal committees and the terms of reference for these committees.
Anyone may attend meetings of the Municipal Council, and the time, place and agenda are always advertised in advance in the local press and on the entrance page on this website.
Municipal Executive Board
Members of the Executive Board are appointed by the Municipal Council, and are responsible for the overall management and coordination. The Executive Board is also responsible for municipal finances and it draws up budget proposals.
All matters on the Municipal Council`s agenda are first discussed by the Executive Board, assisted by municipal officials in the Executive Office.
The Municipal Council appoints three municipal commissioners from members of the Executive Board. One commissioner represents the political majority and chairs the Executive Board - this post is currently held by Lennart Holmlund (s) (Social Democrat). The two other commissioners represent the political opposition (1st Vice-Chairman) and the political majority (2nd Vice-Chairman).
The municipality`s operations are so comprehensive that the Executive Board cannot possibly take all the necessary decisions, and the Board is assisted by a number of politically appointed committees responsible for the various areas concerned. The members of these committees are elected by the Municipal Council.
The three municipal commissioners work on a full-time basis. This also applies to a limited number of other municipal politicians - for example the Chairman of the School Board and Social Services Committee. This is due to the workload involved. The remaining councillors and committee members are "part-time politicians", who have other professions in addition to their political duties.
As far as possible, municipal committees take decisions directly, without involving the Executive Board or the Council.
In addition, there are three Neighbourhood Councils in Umeå - in Sävar, Holmsund/Obbola and Hörnefors - which function as local executive boards and have their own administrations. The key concept is grassroots democracy i.e should be made as close to local inhabitants as possible. Matters raised in the Executive Board or the Council have often been discussed by a neighbourhood council, a municipal committees or a subcommittee to which the Municipal Council and Executive Board have delegated decision-making powers in certain questions. The Municipal Executive Board´s executive committee, for example, is entitled to take financial decisions, within specific limits.
Each municipal committee has an administrative unit, with employees who prepare items of business, implement political decisions and conduct all other business within the committee´s area of responsibility. Umeå´s current operations involve 11 different administrations. The City´s Chief Executive Officer is the senior municipal official. The executive heads of the various administrations manage the operations of their administrative units and are responsible for implementing decisions taken by municipal committees.
Some municipal operations are conducted by municipal companies that are wholly or jointly owned by the municipality - for example Umeå Energi ( The municipal energy company) and Umeå Hamn ( Umeå Harbour).
The municipal auditors report directly to the Municipal Council. They examine all the activities conducted by the municipality, irrespective of the legal or organizational form involved.