Helsingborg invests SEK 250 million in welfare solutions for the future

The City Council in Helsingborg has decided to invest SEK 250 million (just over EUR 23 million) in H22, a welfare solution for the future. This is an investment in innovation and the development of new, smarter and more efficient ways to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Short background

Over the course of the last few years the City of Helsingborg has received a number of accolades. Sweden’s IT municipality 2015, Growth municipality of the year 2016, Sweden’s Environment municipality 2017, 2018, 2019 and Quality municipality of the year 2017, to mention a few.

All the same Helsingborg, like other municipalities in Sweden – faces great challenges. The number of children and elderly is increasing compared to the working population which means the city’s expenses are rising faster than its income. At the same time, expectations on the public sector continue to rise. Citizens want simpler, faster and more flexible service. The challenge going forwards is to offer service that is as good, or better, at a lower cost.

This equation can only be solved by changing how we work and finding smarter solutions. We need to get rid of the things that create little value, develop more efficient methods and create space for testing and developing new welfare solutions.

In short, we need to save money while also investing in the future.

The investment

The investment is financed through dividends amounting to 250 million SEK (23 million euro) paid by the Port of Helsingborg. Out of this money, 118 million (ca 11 million euro) will go to a city expo: H22 – A Smarter City. The remaining money will go to the city’s committees where they will be used for testing and developing better and more efficient welfare solutions over the course of the next three years. These solutions should preferably be developed in collaboration with industry, academia and citizens – and, if possible, across organizational boundaries within the city. The level of ambition should be high enough that the results can be presented at the city expo in 2022.

The city expo H22 will be a powerful tool to help the city change and grow. Partly because it gives the organisation a clear and inspiring target to work towards, and partly because it opens up opportunities for new collaborations across both industrial and national boundaries.

Conclusion

The pace of development is moving so quickly today that municipalities often struggle to keep up. Old approaches, methods and solutions often drive costs and the full potential of digitalization is rarely tapped into. In order to handle the tougher economic conditions that lie ahead we must invest in developing new and more efficient ways to offer welfare service.

Apart from that, we and our municipal colleagues across the globe need to get better at planning and building cities in which both the people and environment can thrive.

For this reason, the City Council of Helsingborg has now created space for all parts of the organisation to find new, smarter and more efficient ways to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. A very broad political majority supports this investment in welfare solutions for the future.