Call for tenders

Report on “The future of health and elderly care in Sweden in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact”

Jul 6th, 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic Sweden has received unusual international attention owing to its ‘outlier’ approach in responding to the disease. Largely met with incomprehension across the rest of Europe, the high numbers of deaths both in total and per capita are often attributed to the public health strategy which did not introduce the “lockdown” measures seen elsewhere.

Less discussed is that especially with regard to public health and elderly care the crisis hit sectors which had seen substantial restructuring in the aftermath of the recessions of the 1990s and 2000s as well as in the context of European policy. The adoption of New Public Management in the running of public services with the aim to “modernise” the public sector, i.e., to make it more efficient and cost-effective, but also to increase functionality and accountability, has arguably eroded the safety net once provided by the Swedish welfare state. Both public health and elderly care sectors are particularly affected by marketisation and cuts, impacting their management and capacity as well as working conditions and staffing.

Welfare retrenchment and structural change in public health and care sectors are, of course, known across many countries. Using Sweden as a case study we want to analyse the role of marketisation and ‘taylorisation’ of Swedish health and elderly care in the system’s failure to prevent so many deaths during the pandemic despite huge efforts to improve capacity. Have these earlier and fundamental changes to public health and care created the fault lines that resulted in the high number of deaths?

What can we expect for the future? While health care professionals and experts draw important lessons from the crisis, pointing to the need to make health and elderly care more resilient for future challenges, will these lead to substantial changes in the system? How can that be achieved amid the ‘health care debt’ of postponed treatment in the coming months and anticipated economic decline in a system financed by tax revenue in the years ahead?

The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels is calling for tenders to write a report addressing and contextualising the questions raised above.

Specifically, tenders are asked to:

  1. Describe and analyse the public health and elderly care crisis affecting Sweden during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Explain the political, economic and social context that led to the destructive changes in the Swedish welfare system.
  3. Analyse the direct effects of NPM, privatisation and deregulation of the Swedish public sector on Swedish public health and elderly care sectors as well as the effects on the quality of public services and conditions for claiming them.
  4. Analyse the direct and indirect effects of these processes on the system’s ability to respond to the pandemic.
  5. Provide recommendations based on the results from the report on
    1. How a sustainable, crisis-proof and resilient approach to economic, financial, social policy and an alternative to the current practice would look like in both public health and elderly care?
    2. Potential protagonists, partners and allies for implementing such an approach.
  6. Employ sound empirical data, both quantitative and qualitative, including own data from interviews and/or other fieldwork, if applicable.
  7. Adopt an intersectional approach/methodology throughout.

Formal requirements

  • Total word count approx. 10,000 words (excluding bibliography).
  • Report to be written in English.
  • Availability for presenting results of the report highly desirable, subject to negotiation.
  • Availability for producing a short video interview on results of the report for publication on the RLS Brussels website desirable, subject to negotiation.


  • Submission of an abstract (750-1,000 words) indicating focus/aspects covered and structure of report/study, specifying the methodology applied and data that will be used and a comprehensive CV including list of publications by 2nd September 2020, 11AM CEST.
  • Notification by 7th September 2020.
  • Submission of full draft report for comment by 4th November 2020.
  • Submission of revised report by 22nd November 2020.
  • (Further loops, including language editing in December 2020 or early 2021.)
  • Publication in early 2021.
  • Presentation of report and video production in spring 2021, if applicable.
  • After completion of services: Invoice to Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung after completion of agreed services.

What we offer

  • 6,000 EUR, VAT excluded;
  • Publication of report online and as a hard copy, which will be available free of charge.

Applicants are advised that renewal of this contract is not envisaged.

Application process

Please send your proposal of 750-1,000 words outlining the proposed focus/aspects covered and structure of report/study, specifying the methodology applied and data to be used, as well as a comprehensive CV and list of publications by 2nd September 2020, 11AM CEST to Ada Regelmann at