Productivity commission attacks bureaucracy

Councils would become more effective at providing services if their employees had more freedom to choose how to achieve targets and create results, commission concludes

The public sector should focus more on results and less on systems and procedures, according to the latest recommendations from the government’s Productivity Commission.

In a press release today, the commission states that Denmark’s 800,000 public employees should be given more freedom, and be rewarded when they achieve results and given new demands if they don’t.

“Instead of introducing a lot of rules about how public employees should do their work, there is a need for clear demands about which results public institutions need to accomplish,” the commission's chairman, Peter Birch Sørensen, wrote. “The public needs to know if a school, daycare or nursery is providing the desired results.”

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Sørensen added that despite political pressure to reduce bureaucracy, the amount of red tape is actually increasing.

Reducing bureaucracy and giving employees and managers more freedom about how to accomplish their targets, he argues, will motivate employees and increase flexibility.

Councils vary widely in their ability to provide cost-effective services. According to the committee, the government could save five billion kroner a year if all councils were as effective as the most effective ones at providing schooling.