Rating system proposed for ministries

Party would brand ministries with a frowning emoticon for lousy service

Anyone that has been anywhere that food is handled has seen the familiar yellow health and hygiene report, Kontrolrapport, hanging in the window of the establishment. The report rates the cleanliness of the business using a series of emoticons, rating them from ‘excellent’ (a smiling, happy face) to ‘poor’(a frowning emoticon or ‘bad smiley’).

Far-right party Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is now proposing that a similar system be imposed on the government. Ministries that are slow to respond to requests for access and information would be labelled with a bad smiley.

“The authorities brand small pizzerias with bad smileys, and it should work both ways,” DF's parliamentary legal committee member Pia Adelsteen told Journalisten.dk. “It can take so many months to get a reply from a ministry that the subject you inquired about may be obsolete.”

Adelsteen said that while a smiley scheme might not solve the problem of slow ministries, at least the public would be able to identify the worst offenders. Last year, for example, it was reported that the Finance Ministry responded too late to information requests in two out of three cases.

Journalist Ulrik Dahlin, who has written many articles for Information newspaper about the poor response times of the various ministries, agreed with the idea of a rating system.

"I think that there is a need for anything that can highlight the problem,” Dahlin told Journalisten.

Dahlin said that although he realised that some cases required longer response times, he believed that ministries often sat on difficult requests and issues simply to avoid problems.

“The less information that comes out, the fewer problems for the minister,” said Dahlin.





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