An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government (NO0001)
In order to avoid conflicts of interest in the public administration, we have introduced guidelines on quarantine and a prohibition against dealing with specific matters for senior officials and civil servants who transfer to a new post. These guidelines apply both to civil servants and politicians, and entail that, in some cases, a person must wait for six months before taking up a new post and/or refrain from dealing with certain types of matters for up to one year in a new job. These guidelines were introduced in 2005, and we believe that they have helped to enhance confidence in the public administration.
Having a good user orientation does not necessarily mean that users’ applications are always granted. The most important thing is that their inquiries are dealt with seriously, that the person concerned has an opportunity to express his or her opinion, that they are listened to, that applications are dealt with fairly and quickly, that replies are given in a user-friendly language, that grounds are given when applications are refused, and that it is easy for those who feel they were treated unfairly to lodge an appeal.
The challenge will be to stimulate in a systematic way a user-friendly culture in the public administration, i.e. ensure that the employees do what they can to ensure that citizens experience their meeting with the public sector as a positive one. We must also introduce electronic systems where this is most suitable. We must further develop our systems for getting feedback from and involving citizens. We must also take their feedback seriously and make it public. This will put extra pressure on the public administration to develop more user-friendly systems and procedures.