In Norway, a state secretary (Norwegian: statssekretær) is a partisan political position within the executive branch of government. Contrary to the position secretary of state in many other countries, a Norwegian state secretary does not head his or her ministry, rather, they are second in rank to a minister. Resembling a de facto vice minister, the state secretary, however, cannot attend a Council of State, and does not act as a temporary minister in case of illness or other leave of absence.
The modern state secretary institution was established in 1947, following a 78-41 vote in the Norwegian Parliament. The Labour and Communist parties voted for, whereas the Agrarian (Centre), Christian Democratic, Liberal, and Conservative parties voted against. The cabinet at that time was a single-party Labour cabinet led by Einar Gerhardsen, and one state secretary was appointed seven of the ministries. State secretaries in the Office of the Prime Minister followed in 1956, having originally been known as Secretaries to the Prime Minister. When the cabinet Lyng (Conservative, Christian Democratic, Centre, Liberal) assumed office in August 1963, they appointed state secretaries in nearly all ministries, and when the cabinet Korvald (Christian Democratic, Centre, Liberal) assumed office, it became the first cabinet to employ two state secretaries in one ministry.
In 1968 the Conservative representative Paul Thyness, himself a former state secretary, had proposed a parliamentary resolution which requested the sitting cabinet to "take the function and status of State Secretary position into closer consideration." A public reporting committee convened in 1970; in 1971 Thyness became a member of this committee. In 1972, Thyness and fellow committee member Guttorm Hansen proposed four changes to the Norwegian Constitution in order to cement the state secretary position in Norwegian law. A Norwegian Official Report was also produced; in 1974 (NOU 1974: 18). In 1976 the constitutional change was passed, following a 146-9 parliamentary vote. The only party which opposed the change was the Anders Lange Party; its four representatives voted together with individuals from other parties. One proposal was scrapped, though; the idea that state secretaries should meet in parliamentary sessions, allowing for closer scrutiny of the executive branch of government by the legislative branch.
Originally, the position was typically given to external technical experts or young politicians with little or no prior experience as elected politicians. In 1980, a landmark was made as Helen Bøsterud became the first state secretary with prior experience in parliament. However, this is still not the rule. On the other hand, becoming a member of parliament or even minister after serving as a state secretary is common. Jan P. Syse (State Secretary 1970–1971) and Kjell Magne Bondevik (State Secretary 1972–1973) would serve as prime ministers, and Thorvald Stoltenberg (State Secretary 1971–1972 and 1973–1979) and Jonas Gahr Støre (State Secretary 2000–2001) would serve as ministers of foreign affairs.
The title state secretary was first used in 1814. While Norway was still a part of Denmark, in March 1814, Crown Prince Christian Frederick created a Government Council (Regjeringsråd), with a regular secretary who was titled Secretary to the Government (Regjeringssekretær). According to the Norwegian Constitution of May 1814, the name of the Government Council was changed to Council of State, the secretary position being renamed to the state secretary at the same time. The name remained until 1925, when it was changed to Secretary to the Council of State (Statsrådsekretær). Following restructuring in 1969 and 1987, the position were transformed into a civil servant position in the Office of the Prime Minister, and is today known as Secretary to the Government (Regjeringsråd).
|Office of the Prime Minister||Svein Fjellheim||Labour|
|Torbjørn Giæver Eriksen||Labour|
|Kjersti Markusson||22 October 2007 –||Socialist Left|
|Hilde Singsaas||1 December 2006 –
(acting since 17 March)
|Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen||1 December 2006 –||Labour|
|Per J. Jordal||3 March 2008 –||Centre|
|Jan-Erik Larsen||15 September 2008 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs||Raymond Johansen||28 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Elisabeth Walaas||21 September 2007 –||Labour|
|16 November 2007–||Socialist Left|
|Ministry of Defence||Eirik Øwre Thorshaug||Labour|
|Ministry of Industry and Trade||Rikke Lind||26 January 2007 –||Labour|
|Øyvind Slåke||14 December 2007 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Government Administration
|Wenche Lyngholm||21 October 2005 –||Socialist Left|
|Ministry of Finance||Roger Schjerva||Socialist Left|
|Roger Sandum||Socialist Left|
|Ole Morten Geving||12 October 2007 –||Centre|
|Henriette Westhrin||18 October 2007 –||Socialist Left|
|Ministry of Local Government
and Regional Development
|Aase Marthe J. Horrigmo||17 January 2018 –||Conservative|
|Dag-Henrik Sandbakken||21 October 2005 –||Centre|
|Janne Sjelmo Nordås||2 November 2007 –||Centre|
|Ministry of Health and Care Services||Rigmor Aasrud||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Kari Henriksen||3 December 2007 –||Labour|
|Dagfinn Sundsbø||20 June 2008 –||Centre|
|Ellen Birgitte Pedersen||27 June 2008 –||Socialist Left|
|Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs||Mette Gundersen||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Wegard Harsvik||3 December 2007 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion||Jan-Erik Støstad||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Libe S. Rieber-Mohn||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Laila Gustavsen||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Raimo Valle||26 October 2007 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Transport and Communications||Geir Pollestad||8 October 2008 –||Centre|
|Lars Erik Bartnes||Centre|
|Ministry of Fisheries||Vidar Ulriksen||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Ministry of the Environment||Henriette Killi Westhrin||Socialist Left|
|Ketil Raknes||Socialist Left|
|Ministry of Agriculture||Ola T. Heggem||28 October 2005 –||Centre|
|Ministry of Justice and Police||Astri Aas-Hansen||9 February 2007 –||Labour|
|Pål K. Lønseth||Labour|
|Ministry of Children and Equality||Kjell Erik Øie||21 October 2005 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Petroleum and Energy||Liv Monica Bargem Stubholt||21 September 2007 –||Centre|
|Robin Kåss||8 October 2008 –||Labour|
|Ministry of Education and Research||Lisbet Rugtvedt||Socialist Left|
|Jens Revold||18 October 2007 –||Socialist Left|
|url=value (help) (in Norwegian). Storting.
|url=value (help) (in Norwegian). Storting.