The logo of the Federal administration of Switzerland, in the four national languages.

The federal administration of Switzerland[1] is the ensemble of agencies that constitute, together with the Swiss Federal Council, the executive branch of the Swiss federal authorities. The administration is charged with executing federal law and preparing draft laws and policy for the Federal Council and the Federal Assembly.[2]

The administration consists of seven federal departments and the Federal Chancellery. The departments are roughly equivalent to the ministries of other states, but their scope is generally broader. Each department consists of several federal offices, which are headed by a director, and of other agencies. The much smaller Federal Chancellery, headed by the Federal Chancellor, operates as an eighth department in most respects.

Federal Council

The administration in its entirety is directed by the Swiss Federal Council,[3] and the Federal Council and the administration are subject to parliamentary oversight by the Federal Assembly. Each member of the Federal Council is also, in his or her individual capacity, the head of one of the seven departments.[3] The Federal Council has the sole authority to decide on the size and composition of the departments, and to make all executive decisions that are not delegated by law to an individual department, or to the Chancellery. The Council also decides which department its members are appointed to lead, although it is customary that Councillors choose their preferred department in order of seniority.

The absence of hierarchic leadership within the Council has caused the departments to acquire a very considerable autonomy, to the extent that the federal executive has been characterised as "seven co-existing departmental governments."[3]

Size

From 1954 to 1990, roughly two per cent of Switzerland's resident population were federal employees. This percentage has since declined due to army cutbacks and the partial privatisation of federal enterprises such as PTT (now Swisscom and Swiss Post).[4] As of 2008, the Confederation employed some 102,000 people, all but 32,000 of which were working for federal enterprises such as the Post and the Swiss Federal Railways.[4]

Development

After the founding of the Swiss federal state in 1848, the Federal Council and its handful of officials took up residence in the Erlacherhof in Bern.[4] The entire administrative staff consisted of 80 persons in 1849, while the postal service had 2,591 officials and the customs service 409.[4] The first dedicated administrative building, now the western wing of the Bundeshaus, was completed in 1857.[4]

The number of departments and Federal Councillors has been constitutionally fixed at seven since 1848.[5] The number of the departments' subordinate entities, which are constituted by statute – generally as "federal offices" after the 1910s – has grown substantially in step with the expanding role of the state in the 20th century, even though some have been merged or abolished.[5]

A 1964 government reform made the Federal Chancellery into the general staff unit of the Federal Council, and created General Secretariats as departmental staff units.[6] A 1978 statute granted the title of secretary of state to the holders of two (later three) directoral posts whose functions require independent interaction with foreign authorities.[7] Since the 1990s, New Public Management models have been experimentally introduced; twelve offices are now run with autonomous budgets.[2]

Location

Governmental and administrative offices are located in the east and west wings of the Federal Palace of Switzerland, to either side of the central Parliament Building.

The seat of the federal authorities, including almost all of the administration, is Bern. The departments and offices are located in the east and west wings of the Bundeshaus and in numerous buildings in or close to the city center. In the 1990s, some offices were moved to other parts of the country, in part to aid economic development of these regions.[4] Also, some federal authorities have field offices in other cities.

Organisation and responsibilities

Federal Chancellery

Main article: Federal Chancellery of Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Chancellery is the staff organisation of the Federal Council and the federal administration. As of 2024, it is headed by Federal Chancellor Viktor Rossi. It is composed of several sectors, the Federal Chancellery sector headed directly by the incumbent Chancellor, while the other two sectors are led by the Vice-Chancellors. The Federal Council sector was led by Rossi until his election as Chancellor, and has been led on an interim basis by Rossi's predecessor, Jörg De Bernardi.[8] In July 2024, De Bernardi will be succeeded by Rachel Salzmann on a permanent basis.[9] The information and communications sector is led by Vice-Chancellor André Simonazzi.[10]

For administrative purposes, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) is affiliated to the Chancellery. The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner is responsible for the supervision of federal authorities and private bodies with respect to data protection and freedom of information legislation.

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Main article: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

See also: Foreign relations of Switzerland

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is Switzerland's ministry of foreign affairs. As of 2019, it is headed by Ignazio Cassis (FDP/PRD). It is composed of the General Secretariat and of the State Secretariat, which in turn is composed of the following directorates and agencies:[11]

Federal Department of Home Affairs

Main article: Federal Department of Home Affairs

The Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) is Switzerland's ministry of the Interior. As of 2023, it is headed by Élisabeth Baume-Schneider (SP/PS). It is composed of the General Secretariat and the following federal offices:[12]

Additionally, the following independent authorities are affiliated to the FDHA for administrative purposes:

Federal Department of Justice and Police

Main article: Federal Department of Justice and Police

The Federal Department of Justice and Police is Switzerland's ministry of justice. As of 2024, it is headed by Beat Jans (SP/PS). It is composed of the following offices and institutes:[13]

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports

Main article: Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) is Switzerland's ministry of defence. As of 2019, is headed by Viola Amherd (CVP/PDC). It is composed of the following administrative units:[14]

Federal Department of Finance

Main article: Federal Department of Finance

The Federal Department of Finance is Switzerland's ministry of finance. As of 2023, it is headed by Karin Keller-Sutter (FDP/PRD). It is composed of the following offices:[16]

The following independent authorities are affiliated to the FDF for administrative purposes:

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Main article: Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) is Switzerland's ministry of the economy. As of 2019, it is headed by Guy Parmelin (SVP/UDC). It is composed of the following offices:[17]

The following independent agencies are administratively attached to the EAER:

Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications

Main article: Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications

As of 2023, the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) is headed by Albert Röstli. It is composed of the following offices:[18]

The following independent authorities are affiliated to the DETEC for administrative purposes:

See also

References

  1. ^ (German: Bundesverwaltung, French: Administration fédérale, Italian: Amministrazione federale, Romansh: Administraziun federala)
  2. ^ a b Raimund E. Germann: Tasks of the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  3. ^ a b c Raimund E. Germann: Non-hierarchical government in the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Raimund E. Germann: Beginnings and Growth of the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  5. ^ a b Raimund E. Germann: Departments and Federal Offices of the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  6. ^ Raimund E. Germann: Federal Chancellery and Staff Units in the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  7. ^ Raimund E. Germann: Group Formation and Secretaries of State in the Federal Administration in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2006-09-25.
  8. ^ Federal Chancellery. "Vizekanzler ad interim". www.bk.admin.ch (in German). Retrieved 17 March 2024.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Federal Chancellery (8 March 2024). "Il Consiglio federale nomina Rachel Salzmann vicecancelliera". www.admin.ch (in Italian). Retrieved 17 March 2024.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Organisation of the Federal Chancellery". Federal Chancellery. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Organization chart". Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  12. ^ DFI, Département fédéral de l'intérieur. "Offices fédéraux". www.edi.admin.ch (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  13. ^ Police, Federal Department of Justice and. "Organization". ejpd.admin.ch. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  14. ^ "Administrative units". Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  15. ^ Federal Office of Sport Archived 13 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Organisation chart". Federal Department of Finance. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  17. ^ "Organisation of the FDEA". Federal Department of Economic Affairs. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
  18. ^ DETEC, Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications. "Organisation". www.uvek.admin.ch. Retrieved 11 September 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)