Denmark

   

Executive Capacity

#2
Key Findings
With a tradition of policies oriented toward the long term, Denmark falls into the top ranks internationally (rank 2) with respect to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has gained 0.1 point relative to 2014.

Strategic-planning capabilities are strong, with major reforms typically produced by commissions, and long-term strategic plans playing a strong policy role. Ministries are fairly autonomous, with policy coordination taking place in cabinet and coordination committees. Decision-making is consensual, with informal coordination important.

RIAs are required, and are generally of high quality. Experimental programs are sometimes used to test new policies. Interest groups are consulted throughout the policy cycle. A strong e-government push has resulted in tax reporting and most government communications taking place online. The country is deemed the EU’s most advanced with regard to using digital technologies.

Regulations are fairly enforced, with substantial checks and balances. Municipalities levy income tax, with equalization formulas assisting poorer regions. However, many local governments currently face financial difficulties. An efficiency drive has led to across-the-board 2% budget cuts, and a structural health-care reform has been proposed.

Strategic Capacity

#1

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
9
Government policies have traditionally been consensus driven. This applies both to parliament, as most governments have been minority governments, and in relation to negotiations involving organizations and the political system, most notably in relation to labor market issues.

Major reforms in Denmark are usually prepared through committees or commissions established to produce reports outlining issues and options. In recent years, commissions have played an essential role in the policy formation process, including Strukturkommissionen (infrastructure commission), Velfærdskommissionen (welfare commission), Arbejdsmarkedskommissionen (labor market commission), Skattekommissionen (tax commission), Produktivitetskommissionen (productivity commission) and Dagpengekommissionen (unemployment insurance commission). In addition, it is quite common to appoint expert groups to prepare inputs for important policy discussions and reforms. The members can be experts, representatives of organizations or civil servants. Moreover, professionalism in ministries has increased.

A tradition has developed in formulating overarching strategic policy plans (usually with a horizon of about 10 years), such as the government’s 2010, 2015, 2020 and (most recently) 2025 plans. The 2025 plan was presented by the previous Liberal minority government in August 2016 and subsequently reaffirmed by the current three-party government in May 2017. The plan sets policy targets for, among other areas, fiscal sustainability and living standards.

There has been a continuous effort to modernize the public sector to make it more efficient. Economic policy plans have included expectations on productivity increases in the public sector, although there are obvious measurement problems in assessing the outcome of such initiatives. As a sign of the ongoing process, the new coalition government includes a minister responsible for public innovation. Reforms of the tax authority have been criticized for being excessively focused on cost savings, which results in less effective tax administration and reduced control over tax compliance.

Citations:
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Modernisering af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsen, 2005.

DK2025 - et stærkere Danmark. August 2016. http://stm.dk/publikationer/DK2025_web/index.htm (Accessed 17 October 2016).

The Danish Government, “Vækst og velstand 2025,” https://www.regeringen.dk/2025/ (Accessed 16 October 2017)

“Afhøringer i skandalesag om udbytteskat for milliarder indledes,” https://www.berlingske.dk/politik/afhoeringer-i-skandalesag-om-udbytteskat-for-milliarder-indledes (Accessed 7 November 2018).

Does the government regularly take into account advice from non-governmental experts during decision-making?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Expert Advice
8
Denmark’s political administration draws to some extent on in-house expertise. For most policy areas, however, policymakers rely on advising councils or expert committees. On a more permanent basis, the Danish Economic Council plays an important role as an independent institution, as politicians heed its recommendations. Since 2007, the number of chairmen of the Economic Council have increased from three to four and the responsibilities of the chairmen have been expanded. They now also head the Environmental Economic Council and the productivity council (meeting EU requirements), and act as the fiscal watchdog (related to the new budget law). The chairmen prepare reports that are then discussed by members representing unions, employers, the central bank and the government. The reports typically garner media attention. The chairs are non-partisan and usually serve for several years before returning to academia.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munck Christiansen og Marius Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning. 3. udgave. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2011.

Website of the Danish Economic Councils: www.dors.dk/ (accessed 20 April 2013).

Det Økonomiske Råd 1962-2012 - Et jubilæumsskrift, De Økonomiske Råd, København.

Interministerial Coordination

#4

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills according to the government’s priorities?

10
 9

The GO / PMO provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO evaluates most draft bills according to the government’s priorities.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
7
The Danish Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is relatively small. It normally has a staff of about 80, spread between three groups (i.e., academics, technical and administrative staff), the academic group being the largest.

The office is divided into two main sections, one dealing with foreign policy and the second with domestic political and economic issues. There is also a law division and an administrative division. The High Commissioner for the Faroe Islands and the High Commissioner for Greenland also fall under the PMO. The prime minister’s portfolio tasks include the North Atlantic area (e.g., Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the press, constitutional law and relations with the Royal Family.

Given its small size, the PMO does not have the capacity to evaluate the details of all laws. But some officials are seconded from important line ministries to give the PMO a certain capacity. This capacity has been strengthened since the 1990s.

There is a strong tradition of so-called minister rule (ministerstyre). A minister is in charge of a certain area, but the cabinet is a collective unit and is supposed to have only one policy focus, for which the prime minister has the overall responsibility. Coordination takes place through special committees. Most important is the government coordination committee which meets weekly. Other committees are the committee on economic affairs, the security committee and the appointment committee. There is also a tradition of two-day government seminars once or twice per year where important government issues are discussed.

Citations:
Website of the Prime Minister’s Office: http://www.stm.dk/_a_2570.html (accessed 16 October 2017).

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munk Christiansen og Marius Ibseb, Politik og forvaltning, 4. udgave, Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen and Jørgen Elklit (eds.), Det demokratiske system. 4. udgave. Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2016.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination between GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
9
The norms of “minister rule” and the “resort” principle (where ministers are in charge of certain areas) give the line ministries a fair amount of autonomy. It is also the line ministries that have the most technical expertise. Nonetheless, to achieve coherent government policy, interdepartmental coordination takes place. Since most governments are coalition governments this is particularly important. This is not a hierarchical coordination, but is rather based on negotiations. The prime minister has a special position given his/her constitutional prerogatives as the person who appoints and dismisses ministers. Major issues and strategic considerations are dealt with in the government coordination committee (regeringens koordineringsudvalg) involving the prime minister and other key ministers. The standing committees are also important coordination devices. In addition, there are ad hoc coordination meetings between the leaders of the parties constituting the governing coalition. The current three-party government formed in November 2016 is a minority government. The prime minister must maintain contact with the leaders of the other government parties, the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance, as well as the parliamentary support party, the Danish People’s Party.

The Ministry of Finance also plays an important role whenever financial resources are involved. No minister can go to the finance committee of the parliament (Folketinget) without prior agreement from the Ministry of Finance. The position of the Ministry of Finance has been strengthened by the “budget law” adopted in 2012, establishing a clear top-down approach for the budget process.

Apart from coordinating the preparation of next year’s finances, the Ministry of Finance is also involved in formulating general economic policy and offering economic and administrative assessments of the consequences of proposed laws.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017.

“Regeringen indgår aftale om ny budgetlov,” http://www.fm.dk/nyheder/pressemeddelelser/2012/03/regeringen-indgaar-aftale-om-ny-budgetlov/ (Accessed 10 October 2015)

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The vast majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
9
Policy preparation tends to take place in cabinet committees (regeringsudvalg) involving a smaller number of ministers. The number of such committees has varied over time. Currently, the following standing cabinet committees exist: the government coordination committee (chaired by the prime minister), the economy committee (chaired by the finance minister), the security committee (chaired by the prime minister), the appointments committee (chaired by the prime minister) the government’s EU implementation committee (chaired by the minister of employment), and the Ministerial Committee for Public Renewal (chaired by the minister for public innovation).

This system was strengthened under the previous liberal-conservative government in the early 2000s and there are parallel committees of high-level civil servants.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017.

Oversigt over faste regeringsudvalg, http://www.stm.dk/_p_8011.html (Accessed 4 October 2018).

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
9
Coordination through the cabinet is collegial, and officials largely carry out interdepartmental coordination through negotiations between their affected ministries, often via interdepartmental committees or working groups. There is a certain degree of congruence between such interdepartmental committees and cabinet committees, with different ministries leading on different issue areas. The PMO plays an important role, especially for issues that involve the parliament. Other important ministries are the Finance Ministry, which prepares the annual budget, the Justice Ministry, which checks the legal aspects of all bills, and the Foreign Ministry, which gets involved in security, defense and development policies.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christiansen, Peter Munk Christensen and Mariun Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning. 4. udgave. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
8
The Danish administrative system is a mix of formal rules and norms and more informal traditions. As a few examples, officials hold informal talks in the halls of government, over lunch and during travel to and from Brussels. The informal mechanisms can make formal meetings more efficient. Of course, important decisions must be confirmed in more formal settings. At the political level, informal mechanisms are probably more important than formal ones among officials. The fact that most governments have been coalition governments (and often minority governments) has increased the importance of information coordination mechanisms.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munk Christiansen og Marius Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning, 4. udgave, Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.

How extensively and effectively are digital technologies used to support interministerial coordination (in policy development and monitoring)?

10
 9

The government uses digital technologies extensively and effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


The government uses digital technologies in most cases and somewhat effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


The government uses digital technologies to a lesser degree and with limited effects to support interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

The government makes no substantial use of digital technologies to support interministerial coordination.
Digitalization for Interministerial C.
9
According to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Denmark is the most advanced country in the European Union when it comes to using digital technologies. The index is based on connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology, digital public services, the EU ICT sector and its R&D performance, and research and innovation. Public services are highly digitalized in Denmark, including e-government and e-health care services.
At the beginning of 2018, the Danish government presented a strategy for Denmark’s digital growth that included 36 initiatives, many of which were geared toward the economy, including SMEs and e-commerce, but also strengthening computational thinking in elementary schools.
Although these reports and strategies do not focus on interministerial coordination as such, there is no reason not to assume that digital technologies are also increasingly used to facilitate interministerial coordination.

Citations:
European Commission, “The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI),https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/desi (Accessed 4 October 2018).

Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, “Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth,” file:///C:/Users/Finn/Downloads/Digital%20growth%20strategy%20report_UK_WEB.pdf (accessed 4 October 2018).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The Danish Government presents ‘Digital Growth strategy,’ https://investindk.com/insights/the-danish-government-presents-digital-growth-strategy (Accessed 4 October 2018).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Denmark once again the most digital country in the EU,” https://investindk.com/insights/denmark-once-again-the-most-digital-country-in-the-eu (Accessed 4 October 2018).

Per Byrge Sørensen, Forvaltningsret med et digitalt perspektiv. København: Karnov, 2017.

Evidence-based Instruments

#2

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
8
For all proposed legislation and administrative regulations there is an explicit requirement for impact assessments to determine economic consequences for state and local governments, administrative consequences, effects on business and environmental impact. The relation to EU legislation must also be assessed.

Thinking about consequences starts during the initial consideration of a new law or regulation (screening stage) and continues while the content and degree of new measures are considered (scoping stage). A detailed RIA is then worked out during the final stage (assessment stage).

When new legislation is based on EU legislation the impact assessment will be included in the document (samlenotat) that goes to the European Affairs Committee in the parliament. According to a rough estimate, about 40% of new Danish legislation is based on or related to EU regulations.

In recent years, studies have focused more on analyzing the effectiveness of policy initiatives in, for example, labor market and social policies. To assess labor market policies there has even been some experimental studies (e.g., in relation to activation programs).

Citations:
Prime Minister’s Office (Statsministeriet), Cirkulære om bemærkninger til lovforslag og andre regeringsforslag og fremgangsmåden ved udarbejdelse af lovforslag, redegørelser, administrative forskrifter m.v., No. 159, 16. september 1998, https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0900.aspx?s21=cirkul%C3%A6re+om+bem%C3%A6rkninger+til+lovforslag+og+andre+regeringsforslag+og+fremgangsm%C3%A5den&s19=159&s20=1998&s22=|10|&s113=0 (accessed 20 April 2013).

Ministry of Finance, Vejledning on konsekvensanalyser, Maj 2005, http://www.lovprocesguide.dk/sw2104.asp (accessed 20 April 2013).

Ministry of Finance, “Ny EU-regulerings økonomiske konsekvenser for den offentlige sektor,” http://www.fm.dk/publikationer/2004/budgetredegoerelse-2004/7-ny-eu_regulerings-oekonomiske-konsekvenser-for-den-offentlige-sektor/ (Accessed 2 May 2013).

Maibom, J., M. Svarer and M. Rosholm, 2014, Can active labor market policies combat youth unemployment, Nordic Economic Policy Review, 215-262.

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
9
The ministry in charge of preparing a specific piece of legislation or regulation includes relevant stakeholders in the RIA process, such as affected ministries and interest organizations. If, for instance, a proposal is expected to involve costs for business, the Ministry of Business would be consulted. The ministry would also consult with business interests. The proposal to be submitted to the legislature would list all departments, agencies and organizations that had been consulted. The rules require the assessment to be in non-technical language so that it is accessible to the public. The corporatist aspect of preparing laws may have decreased in the last decade, but organizations are still very involved in administrative structures.

There is a strong tradition of publishing impact assessments as reports or special publications. In addition, parliamentary committees and members of parliament can request further information and documentation.

Citations:
Cirkulære om bemærkninger til lovforslag og andre regeringsforslag og om fremganhsmåden ved udarbejdelse af lovforslag, redegørelser, administrative forskrifter m.v. https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=20940 (accessed 3 May 2013).

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munk Christiansen and Marius Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning. 4th edition. Copenhagen. Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
9
The RIAs have to cover all consequences, whether they be positive or negative, of an economic, administrative and environmental nature, affecting the state, municipalities, regions, business, citizens and relations to the European Union. This includes questions of sustainability. Sustainability is a central concern in government policy and includes economic, fiscal as well as environmental sustainability.

Citations:
Cirkulære om bemærkninger til lovforslag og andre regeringsforslag og om fremganhsmåden ved udarbejdelse af lovforslag, redegørelser, administrative forskrifter m.v. https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=20940 (accessed 3 May 2013).

To what extent do government ministries regularly evaluate the effectiveness and/or efficiency of public policies and use results of evaluations for the revision of existing policies or development of new policies?

10
 9

Ex post evaluations are carried out for all significant policies and are generally used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 8
 7
 6


Ex post evaluations are carried out for most significant policies and are used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 5
 4
 3


Ex post evaluations are rarely carried out for significant policies and are rarely used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 2
 1

Ex post evaluations are generally not carried out and do not play any relevant role for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
Quality of Ex Post Evaluation
8
Existing regulations of RIAs do not require ex-post evaluations. Such evaluations are part of the ongoing political process. Political agreements either explicitly or implicitly settle policies for some period. Though various events and developments may require subsequent action, which would provide a chance for citizens, media outlets and policy entrepreneurs to advocate policy reforms. This happens regularly in the Danish political system and very often the government or the opposition will suggest new policies. Sometimes expert committees will be set up to analyze the issues. Most significant policies are regularly debated and policy reforms are common.
The annual budget preparation is one occasion for evaluating policies. The parliament’s Rigsrevision (auditor general) also issues an annual report, which may lead to policy reforms. In some cases, an assessment is made an explicit part of a political agreement (e.g., labor market policy).

Citations:
Vejledning om konsekvensanalyser Maj 2005 (afsnit 3.2, 7.1 og 7.2 revideret i 2018). https://modst.dk/media/19528/vejledning-om-konsekvensanalyser-maj-2005-afsnit-3-2-7-1-og-7-2-revideret-i-2018.pdf (Accessed 10 October 2018),
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al, Politik og forvaltning. 4. udg. Reitzels Forlag, 2017, p.300.

Societal Consultation

#3

Does the government consult with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner?

10
 9

The government always consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 8
 7
 6


The government in most cases consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 5
 4
 3


The government does consult with societal actors, but mostly in an unfair and clientelistic manner.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Public Consultation
9
There is a long tradition of involving economic and social actors at all stages of the policy cycle, sometimes even in the implementation phase. Both formally and informally, there are valuable contacts between the government and main interest organizations (e.g., trade unions, employers, various business organizations and NGOs) as well as heads of major companies. This is also formalized in terms of the Economic Council, where the large organizations are represented. Interest organizations provide important information for politicians and civil servants. Corporatism still plays a role, although it has changed over the years. Recent examples of tripartite cooperation between the government, labor unions and employers include initiatives to improve the integration of immigrants into the labor market, and life-long learning. Engaging societal actors is a way for the government to gain information and create legitimacy for adopted policies.

Citations:
Henning Jørgensen, Consensus, Cooperation and Conflict: The Policy Making Process in Denmark, 2002.

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning. 4. udg., 2017.

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen and Jørgen Elklit (eds.), Det demokratiske system. 4. udgave. Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2016.

Policy Communication

#3

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

Ministries are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 8
 7
 6


Ministries most of the time are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 5
 4
 3


Ministries occasionally issue public statements that contradict the public communication of other ministries or the government strategy.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually consistent with the government’s strategy.
Coherent Communication
8
Effective communication is increasingly important for policymakers, and communication strategies and media attention have become important aspects of politics, and political survival depends on efficient communication. Good communicators are more likely to get ministerial posts than poor communicators. The PMO plays an important role in communication, but many ministries have upgraded and employ media advisers.

There are only a few examples of ministers speaking out on issues that were not in accordance with the government’s policy. In such cases, the prime minister will act swiftly and a corrective statement will follow from the minister in question – or he or she will most likely be replaced.

The nature of coalition governments, which are typical in Denmark, can occasionally create problems in policy communication. This may arise both due to different viewpoints within the coalition and the need for the different government parties to communicate their views and visions, especially as the next election approaches. In the current government, the three coalition parties all feel a need to communicate their policy positions, even if the agreed government basis (regeringsgrundlag) will impose strict limitations.

Citations:
Henning Jørgensen, Consensus, Cooperation and Conflict: The Policy Making Process in Denmark, 2002.

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning. 4. udg., 2017.

Implementation

#3

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Effectiveness
8
The Danish government administration has a reasonable track-record in implementing its agenda. It is important to point out that local governments carry out a large part of implementation, as Denmark is a relatively decentralized state. Decentralized units provide much of the services of the welfare state and the intention is actually to allow some geographical variation. Even so, through stipulations in framework laws and budget constraints, the government is quite successful in steering agencies and administrative bodies even if they are not in a direct hierarchical relationship with the central government.

In recent years, however, tensions have developed between the municipalities and government. Specifically, tensions have resulted when policymakers at the national level have not accepted the choices made by local governments and thus attempted to control local actions via rules and regulations. The difficult financial situation in most municipalities and the need to coordinate local needs with national budget constraints have caused tension. In the past, the municipalities failed to keep expenditure growth below the level agreed to with the central government. As a consequence, a tighter system has been implemented that includes possible financial sanctions for municipalities that exceed the agreed targets.

A major structural reform effective in 2007 changed the organization of the public sector. Fifteen counties were replaced with five regions, that were mainly responsible for health care provision, and 270 municipalities merged into 98 larger units. There are now proposals to abolish the regions, which are largely responsible for hospitals, as part of a health care policy reform. The government wants the reform to be adopted before the next parliamentary election, which must take place before June 2019.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017, chapter 2.

Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen and Jørgen Elklit (eds.), Det demokratiske system. 4. udg., Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2016.

To what extent does the organization of government provide mechanisms to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
9
Denmark has parliamentary rule. The government can be forced to retire any time if in the minority in parliament. The prime minister is the leader of the government, and he or she does not allow ministers to pursue interests that are not compatible with the declared goals of the government. Close scrutiny by parliament, including by parliamentary committees and an attentive press, seldom allows rogue ministers to behave this way for long. The prime minister can both fire and promote ministers, so there are incentives to do what the prime minister expects. Party members can of course revolt against a prime minister, but this happens rarely in Denmark. There is a high degree of party discipline.

Citations:
Carsten Henrichsen, Offentlig Forvaltning. 2. ed. Copenhagen: Forlaget Thomson, 2006.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
8
For sensitive political issues, the prime minister has a strong incentive to monitor line ministries. Yet when it comes to less important issues or details, he or she has neither the time nor the means for close monitoring. The prime minister’s control is indirect. It is exercised through the members of the cabinet. Non-implementation will quickly become a political issue.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård et al. Politik og forvaltning. 4. ed., 2017.

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies|Bureaucracies
8
Executive agencies have some autonomy, but given the formal norms of minister rule, the minister is ultimately responsible for what happens in the agencies. It is therefore in a minister’s political interest to monitor activities closely.

The work of the agencies is often based on specialized expertise; as long as an issue is not politicized, the minister will normally defer to the decisions made by the agencies.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al., Politik og forvaltning. 4. udgave, 2017.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
8
Part of the income tax paid in Denmark is a municipal tax and municipalities have discretionary powers to set the taxes. The municipalities also receive funding from the state (bloktilskud), and there is an equalization arrangement that reallocates funds from richer to poorer municipalities. There are annual negotiations with both the municipalities and regions about the financial framework agreement. Since municipalities act independently – though coordinated via their organization (Kommunernes Landsforbund) – the budget decisions of the municipalities have not always been consistent with the overall targets set by the Ministry of Finance. This implied for some years that expenditure growth exceeded targets. This has led to a new system, part of the Budget Law from 2014, which includes financial sanctions. The sanctions have both an individual and collective element. If the sum of expenditures exceeds the agreed target, the “bloktilskud” is reduced by an equivalent amount. This reduction is levied 60% on the municipalities which exceeded expenditure targets and 40% on all municipalities (distributed according to population size). The new system has been very effective and municipalities have been well within targets in recent years. Since 2002, municipalities have been part of a so-called tax freeze implying that taxes (e.g., income and building sites) cannot increase. If one municipality increases some tax it should be matched by a decrease in another municipality.

Many municipalities currently find themselves in a very tight financial situation and have had to reconsider resource use on core activities like child- and old-age care and schooling.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christiansen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017.

Andersen, T.M., J. Bentzen, S. E. Hougaard Jensen, V. smith and N. Westergaard-Nielsen, The Danish Economy in a global perspective, Copenhagen: DJØF Publishing, 2017.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
8
Section 82 of the Danish constitution dictates that “The right of municipalities to manage their own affairs independently, under state supervision, shall be laid down by statute.”

The constitution thus assumes some autonomy of municipalities, but leaves it to parliament to determine the scope. Indeed, in a comparative perspective, Denmark is a decentralized state, but it is not a federal state. In recent years there has been a tendency to curtail the effective discretion of lower layers in the public sector, in particular the municipalities. The parliament can, at any time, change the scope of local autonomy and its organization.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christiansen et al., Politik og forvaltning, 4. udg., 2017.
Carsten Henrichsen, Offentlig Forvaltning, 2006.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
9
National laws set standard with varying degrees of discretion for local authorities. The central government can supervise whether standards are met through benchmarks and tests and can require that performance indicators be published, such as hospital waiting lists, school performance results, and so on. Here, too, an active press plays a role in exposing problems, and the central government, which is ultimately responsible politically, can intervene by setting stricter standards or transferring extra money to certain activities. Rhetorical action, such as shaming underachievers, is also sometimes part of the strategy.

An example of the tension between central government concerns for welfare arrangements and local authorities’ push for flexibility and freedom are proposals to introduce minimum standards for various public services, which intend to reduce variation across the municipalities.

Citations:
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen et al, Politik og forvaltning. 4th ed., 2017.

To what extent is government enforcing regulations in an effective and unbiased way, also against vested interests?

10
 9

Government agencies enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 8
 7
 6


Government agencies, for the most part, enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 5
 4
 3


Government agencies enforce regulations, but ineffectively and with bias.
 2
 1

Government agencies enforce regulations ineffectively, inconsistently and with bias.
Regulatory Enforcement
8
The government is fairly effective in enforcing regulations. It is difficult for the government to protect resourceful interests, and any such effort would most likely be noticed by the media and thus potentially exploited by the opposition in the parliament.
The tradition of coalition and minority governments, and tripartite consultations are further mechanisms that ensure the effective and relatively unbiased enforcement of regulations. Moreover, there are a number of formal checks and balances in the Danish system that also ensure the effective and unbiased enforcement of regulations.

Adaptability

#2

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures, no matter how beneficial adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
9
Being a small and open economy, Denmark has a long tradition of participating in international cooperation. The most intrusive form of international/supranational cooperation is Denmark’s membership of the European Union. Since joining in 1973, an elaborate system of coordination within government administration has developed. It involves all affected ministries and agencies, and often also interest organizations. In parallel, the European Affairs Committee in the parliament (Folketinget) has become an efficient democratic control of Danish-EU policy. Denmark speaks with one voice in Brussels.

Citations:
Finn Laursen, “Denmark: in pursuit of influence and legitimacy,” in Wolfgang Wessels, Andreas Maurer and Jürgen Mittag (eds.), Fifteen into one? The European Union and its member states. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2003, pp. 92-114.

Rasmus Brun Pedersen et al., “Dansk europapolitik og det danske EU-koordinationssystem.” in Jørgen Grønnegård and Jørgen Elklit (eds.), Det demokratiske system. 4. ed., Reitzels, 2016, pp. 248-284.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively with international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
9
For a small country, Denmark has a strong role in the provision of the global public good and Danish politicians are proud to promote Danish values internationally.

Climate change and development aid are high on the domestic agenda, and the government tries to play an active international role in these areas. Denmark also has a long tradition of working to strengthen the United Nations. Denmark is among the countries that contribute the highest percentage of GDP to development aid.

As an EU member state, Denmark’s possibilities increasingly depend on the European Union. Since the European Union in recent years has adopted a relatively “progressive” environmental policy and has tried to exercise international leadership, there is no conflict in this area.

There is a long tradition for Nordic cooperation within various policy areas. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official inter-governmental body for cooperation in the Nordic region. The council takes various initiatives and there are regular council meetings were representatives of the Nordic governments meet to draft Nordic conventions and other agreements.

Citations:
Carsten Due-Nielsen and Nikolaj Petersen, eds., Adaptation and Activism: The Foreign Policy of Denmark 1967-1993. Copenhagen, DJØF Publishing, 1995.

Martin Marcussen, Den danske model og globaliseringen. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur, 2010.

Kristian Fischer and Hans Mouritzen (eds.) Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2017. Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, 2017.

Organizational Reform

#5

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
8
Monitoring and management within the public sector is crucial given the size of the sector. Tighter budget rules have increased focus on efficiency and productivity in the public sector, and the current government has formulated an ambitious plan to improve efficiency in the public sector at the same time as tightly monitoring budgets. The current public management and governance strategy includes contracts, result-oriented salaries, measurements, evaluations and efficiency reports.

The agency for modernization at the Ministry of Finance is responsible for innovation and efficiency in the public sector. The current government includes a minister for public sector innovation. There has been significant effort undertaken to digitalize public administration, including those services directly interacting with citizens. Annual tax reporting is digitalized and most communication utilizes the e-boks system. Since 1 November 2014, all citizens above 15 years must be connected to Digital Post (there is the possibility to receive physical post, for example, for the cognitively and physically handicapped). Denmark ranked ninth in the United Nation’s 2016 list of e-government development index, but has moved up to first place in the 2018 survey, ahead of Australia and South Korea.

Citations:
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Moderniseringen af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsens Forlag, 2005.

“90-årig mand taber sag: Glemte at tjekke sin e-Boks - og så faldt hammeren,” http://www.bt.dk/danmark/90-aarig-mand-taber-sag-glemte-at-tjekke-sin-e-boks-og-saa-faldt-hammeren (Accessed 17 October 2016).

UN E-government development index, https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2016, Accessed December 1st 2016. (Re-accessed 17 October 2017).

United Nations E-Government Survey 2018, https://publicadministration.un.org/en/Research/UN-e-Government-Surveys (Accessed 7 October 2018).

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
8
The last major reform within the public sector was the structural reform of 2007 and the 2012 Budget Law. The key element for the government’s effort to make the public sector more efficient is the 2% across-the-board budget reduction (omprioriteringsbidrag), with the savings reallocated to new initiatives. There is heated discussion about whether this will induce public institutions to increase efficiency and productivity.

The prime minister suggested a reform of health care governance in his speech at the first meeting of the parliament at the beginning of October 2018. The Danish Peoples’ Party, which supports the government, favors abolishing the regions, while the leading opposition party, the Social Democrats, is against the idea. The prime minister discussed creating 21 new health communities (sundhedsfællesskaber) to create a bridge between hospitals, municipalities and practicing doctors, without mentioning the regions.

Citations:
Ejersbo og Greve, Modernisering af den offentlige sektor, Børsens forlag, 2005.

The Danish Government, Denmark’s National Reform Programme, May 2011. http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/nrp/nrp_denmark_en.pdf (accessed 27 April 2013).

Lene Dalsgaard and Henning Jørgensen, Kvaliteten der blev væk: Kvalitetsreform og modernisering af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Frydenlund, 2010.

Carsten Greve and Niels Ejersbo, Udviklingen i styringen af den offentlige sektor. Baggrundspapir til Produktivitetskommissionen. http://produktivitetskommissionen.dk/media/142136/Baggrundsnotat%20af%20Greve%20og%20Ejersbo.pdf (Accessed 22 October 2014).

Statsministerens tale ved Folketingets åbning, 2. oktober 2018, http://fo.stm.dk/_p_14739.html (Accessed 7 October 2018).
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