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County councils' access to documentation from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration

The county councils use older documentation from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in their current case management. Novari has investigated how great the need is in the future, and what is the correct legal basis for requesting access to the documentation.

The need for access to documentation

In the fall of 2023, Novari investigated the need of the counties for access to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's documentation from before 2015, which is stored in the closed case archive system Sveis. The report from the survey - "Needs assessment and user survey: Sveis " - shows that more than 65% of the respondents need access to the documentation stored in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's old case archive system (Sveis). Half of the respondents need documentation at least once a month. Two-thirds of the users believe that the need for documentation from Sveis will remain the same or increase in the future.

Based on the responses regarding the documentation requested by the counties, it appears that much of the documentation the counties need is wholly or partially exempt from public access. Examples here are agreements with landowners, land acquisition cases, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's internal notes related to the development of specific areas, disagreements with contractors and any legal proceedings that entail a need for access to operating contracts and communication with contractors.

The legal basis

In connection with the survey, a question was also raised about what legal basis the counties should use to request access to the documentation, and whether the Norwegian Public Roads Administration is allowed to charge for this service.

The legal basis for access to the documentation (access) and the basis for SVV's payment is:

  1. The legal basis for the county authorities' requests for access to documents in SVV is the Act on amendments to the Road Act etc. (transfer of county road administration) - Lovdata chapter VII section 4.
  2. The basis for the pricing of the service is considered to be the ICT transition agreement between the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the county authorities with appendices. Pricing of services is discussed in section 7 of the ICT transition agreement, and in Appendix 3.

When SVV receives requests for access to documentation under this legal basis, SVV considers this to be sharing of documentation, so that the county authorities receive the documentation they request. SVV does not reject requests under this legal basis, as they are not considered access requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Novari's assessment

Novari's assessment is that the county authorities should continue to use the legal basis established for the county authorities to request access to documentation from Sveis. This ensures access to all documentation. The counties may risk that SVV rejects requests for access under the Freedom of Information Act, or that SVV only provides access to the public parts of the document. This means that the counties will not receive the documentation they need.

  • "It is important that county council employees receive all the documentation they need for their case processing," says Bjørn Harald Sti, Head of Section for the Transportation Department. Therefore, Novari recommends that the counties use the legal basis provided in the Act on Amendments to the Road Act, even if SVV charges for this service.

Novari, together with the counties and KS, will enter into a dialog with SVV about SVV's pricing of services they perform for the counties. Pricing for sharing documentation from SVV to the counties will be included in this dialog.


Photo: Salte bridge ca 1900. Photographer: Jens Laurits Arup Bassøe, Rogaland road office. Source:

Text: Anne Mette Dørum, special advisor Novari IKS

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