City mistakes hurt residents

Over half of cases in Copenhagen mishandled, ombudsman says

Copenhagen residents are being seriously mistreated by their city according to a report by Copenhagen's council ombudsman, Johan Busse.

Mistakes were made in over half of the cases in which a resident came to the city looking for resolution to a problem or concern.

“There are too many errors,” Busse told Berlingske newspaper. “And every time the city makes a mistake, the residents suffer.”

Busse said that snafus run from problems like long waiting times for responses and unanswered letters to serious violations of civil rights, including demands to pay money to the council that the resident does not owe. In one case, the council insisted that a resident pay a quarter of a million kroner to social services that was not actually owed.

Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), called the report “disturbing".

“It is simply not good that there are so many mistakes in managing these cases,” Jensen told Berlingske.

Jensen said that his administration has been focusing on the problem, but that the results were obviously not good enough.

“I will propose that the City Council commits to showing where it intends to make concrete improvements in case management,” said Jensen.

Busse was sceptical of the mayor’s promises and suggested that the city was more interested in reducing awareness of the problem than actually fixing it. He pointed out that Jensen promised last year to reduce the number of mistakes being made by the city’s financial office by ten to 20 percent without knowing how many complaints had actually been filed.

"The fact is that we have not previously registered the number of complaints,” Jensen told Berlingske. “We started that this year, so it is only natural that we have set a goal for reducing the number of complaints, and we are working to make it happen.”

The number of mishandled cases has been over 50 percent since the citizen advisory board, Borgerrådgiveren, was established in 2004. The number of mistakes made by the city peaked in 2006, with errors reported in 76.2 percent of cases.





  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.