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Denmark

Principles for Collaboration on the Modernisation of the Public Sector as Well as the Establishment of a Centre for Public Innovation (DK0040)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Denmark Action Plan 2013-2014

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building

IRM Review

IRM Report: Denmark End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Denmark IRM Progress Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Together with employers and employees from the public labour market, the Government has adopted seven principles for collaboration on the modernisation of the public sector. The principles are to promote a performance of public tasks and a culture with a focus on trust, collaboration, results, efficiency, innovation, quality and professionalism. At the same time, these principles serve the purpose of supporting the many good initiatives across sectors and authorities that rethink and improve the public sector.
The adoption of the principles will be followed up on in 2014-2016 by initiatives that are to contribute to spreading the principles and supporting modernisation and innovation in the public sector. The initiatives comprise the development of new forms of governance with a focus on trust and collaboration as well as the establishment of a centre for public innovation that is to support the spread and embeddedness of innovation across the public sector. The centre is also to strengthen employee and user-driven innovation in the public sector.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitments 7 and 8: Modernization of the public sector & free municipalities

Commitment 7. Modernization of the public sector & establishment of a center for public innovation

Together with employers and employees from the public labour market, the Government has adopted seven principles for collaboration on the modernisation of the public sector. The principles are to promote a performance of public tasks and a culture with a focus on trust, collaboration, results, efficiency, innovation, quality and professionalism. At the same time, these principles serve the purpose of supporting the many good initiatives across sectors and authorities that rethink and improve the public sector.

The adoption of the principles will be followed up on in 2014-2016 by initiatives that are to contribute to spreading the principles and supporting modernisation and innovation in the public sector. The initiatives comprise the development of new forms of governance with a focus on trust and collaboration as well as the establishment of a centre for public innovation that is to support the spread and embeddedness of innovation across the public sector. The centre is also expected to strengthen employee and user driven innovation in the public sector.

8: “Free Municipality” pilot projects

Known as “Free Municipality” pilot projects, these projects are part of the Government’s work on the modernisation and innovation of the public sector. Lessons learned from free municipality pilot projects are to contribute to the Government’s general reform of the public sector with a focus on trust, professionalism, leadership and deregulation, which are significant parameters for a user-orientated sector.

Nine municipalities are free municipalities. They have been granted exemption from government rules and documentation requirements for the purpose of testing new ways of doing things. The objective is to find smarter, more resource-efficient and less bureaucratic solutions.

Responsible Institution: None specified for any commitment

Supporting Institutions: Commitment 7: none specified;

Commitment 8: The nine “free municipalities”

Start date: Not specified........                         End date: Not specified

Commitment Aim:

Commitment 7 set out seven principles for modernization of the private sector,[Note 17: Seven principles for public innovation, COI, http://coi.dk/om-os/7-principper/]such as factoring citizens’ resources into public services. A series of follow up initiatives as well as the creation of a new Centre for Public Innovation followed.

Commitment 8 predates the action plan,[Note 18: http://www.kl.dk/Fagomrader/Okonomi-og-dokumentation/styring/Frikommuneforsog/De-9-frikommuner/] and entails a series of pilot projects held in “free municipalities.” [Note 19: Denmark’s Self-Assessment Report to OGP, September 2015, http://goo.gl/GUIr6a] These municipalities have been granted exemption from government rules and documentation requirements for testing new ways of doing things in order to find smarter, more resource-efficient and less bureaucratic solutions. There were nine “free municipalities” in the period 2012-2015, and results from their experience will be included in future reforms of the public sector.

Status
Commitment 7:

Mid-term: Substantial

As remarked in the IRM progress report, this commitment is vaguely worded, resulting in significant scope for interpretation to what exactly the commitment is attempting to achieve. Nevertheless, the IRM researcher finds this commitment to be substantially completed.

The evaluation of the adopted principles and implementation of initiatives to spread the principles was still on going during the first-year assessment. As noted in the IRM Progress Report[Note 20: Denmark IRM mid-term report 2014-15, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Denmark_IRM%20Progress%20Report%202014-15_Final_eng.pdf] the government had conducted governance workshops to develop new governance models focused on trust, collaboration, and civil engagement. It also established a Center for Public Sector Innovation that produced the world’s first Public Sector Innovation Statistic.

End of term: Substantial

This commitment has not seen further implementation since midterm evaluation. Since the IRM progress report, the Centre for Public Innovation has hosted many activities, meetings, and workshops (for a complete list, see the news on the COI-website[Note 21: News from COI, http://coi.dk/nyheder/]), however it is unclear how many of these pertain to this commitment. Together, the work of the Centre for Public Innovation and the adoption of the seven principles are an on-going process, scheduled for conclusion in 2019.[Note 22: COI to continue their work, COI, http://coi.dk/nyheder/2016/coi-fortsaetter-arbejdet/]

Commitment 8:

Mid-term: Substantial

According to the Danish government’s mid-term self-assessment report, municipalities piloted 250 experimental approaches to almost all municipal tasks. Examples include beginning foreign language instruction in earlier grades of schools, or indeed in kindergarten, and new ways of welcoming citizens into job service functions. For further information, please see the IRM mid-term report.[Note 23: Denmark IRM mid-term report 2014-15, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Denmark_IRM%20Progress%20Report%202014-15_Final_eng.pdf]  A midterm evaluation of the experimental pilot projects performed by Rambøll and released in January 2014 confirmed that implementation was advancing according to the specified timeline.[Note 24: Midterm evaluation of the free municipalities, January 2014, Rambøll, http://www.kl.dk/ImageVaultFiles/id_75799/cf_202/Tv-rg-ende_rapport_-_Midtvejsevaluering_af_frikomm.PDF]

End of term: Complete

The period for the free municipalities ended in 2015, the commitment is now considered complete. The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior announced that the participating municipalities would publish self-evaluations of their experiments by 30 April 2016.[Note 25: Free Municipalities 2012-2015, Ministry of Social and the Interior, http://sim.dk/frikommuneforsoeg-ii/frikommuneforsoeg-i-(2012-2015).aspx] Only Fredensborg Kommune[Note 26: Evaluation of free municipality trial, Fredensborg Kommune, https://www.fredensborg.dk/Admin/Public/Download.aspx?file=Files%2FFiles%2FKommunen%2FFrikommune%2FFrikommune_Evalueringsrapport_endeligt+udkast.pdf] had published such a report at the time of writing, and there is no aggregated assessment like the evaluation performed by Rambøll.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

Civic Participation: Did not change

Public Accountability: Did not change

Neither of the commitments are eligible for the “did it open government” question, a neither of them had any OGP value relevance.

Commitment 7 aims to establish the Centre for Public Innovation, have a series of activities and adopt seven principles for innovation in public offices. However, as implemented it remained unclear how the commitment is relevant to OGP values. As noted in the end of term completion, it is also unclear what relation the activities held at the COI, have to the commitment. Since the adoption of the seven principles is still on-going, any effects or indication of changes in government practice is hard to determine. Especially, given the unclear relevance to any of OGP values.

Commitment 8 aims to perform a series of experiments in the “Free Municipalities”, but it does not specify how these experiments were to be adopted into policy on the national or local level. During the period the pilot project lasts, “free municipalities” are allowed to be exempt from complying with policy or legislation in order to find smarter, more resource-efficient and less bureaucratic solutions. As noted in the IRM progress report the relevance of this commitment, as written, to OGP values is unclear.[Note 27: Denmark IRM mid-term report 2014-15, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Denmark_IRM%20Progress%20Report%202014-15_Final_eng.pdf] From desk research and interviews with government officials responsible for commitment implementation, the IRM researcher has not found concrete evidence of policy changes. There is no evidence that the experiments conducted by free municipalities in Commitment #8 changed how government discloses information, opens spaces for participation, or is held accountable. Since the commitment is at the local level, it is beyond the scope of this research to examine each action.

Carried forward?

According information found on the COI website,[Note 28: COI to continue their work, COI, http://coi.dk/nyheder/2016/coi-fortsaetter-arbejdet/] activities of the Centre for Public Innovation will continue until 2019.

A new free municipality project was announced spanning 2016-2019,[Note 29: Free Municipalities 2016-2019, Local Government Denmark, http://www.kl.dk/Okonomi-og-administration/Okonomi-og-dokumentation/styring/Frikommuneforsog/] and 43 municipalities have applied to conduct this next round of municipal experiments.[Note 30: Free Municipalities 2016-2019, Local Government Denmark, http://www.kl.dk/Okonomi-og-administration/Okonomi-og-dokumentation/styring/Frikommuneforsog/Frikommuneforsog-II/] In late August 2016, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior postponed the appointment of new free municipalities.[Note 31: Free Municipality appointment delayed, Ministry of Social and the Interior: http://sim.dk/nyheder/nyhedsarkiv/2016/aug/udpegning-af-frikommunenetvaerk-udskydes.aspx]


Commitments

Open Government Partnership