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Securing Danish welfare through digitalisation

| Text: Marie Preisler

Municipalities, regions and the central Danish government authority will explore new digital opportunities while maintaining citizens’ experience of the public arena as an accessible partner. Many public sector institutions are already well underway.

A central tenet to Denmark’s new cross-public sector digitalisation strategy is that citizens should to a greater degree be co-players in the delivery of their welfare services. The strategy covers the central government authority, municipalities and regions.

Administrative units like government ministries, administrations, municipalities and regions as well as individual public institutions like social services, hospitals, schools and universities are all committed to the new strategy.

Big potential

The strategy has been developed by the Danish Agency for Digitalisation on behalf to the Danish government, Local Government Denmark (KL) and Danish Regions. The overarching aim is to make Denmark a stronger and safer digital society.

The vision behind the strategy is that public digitalisation should create value, growth and improved efficiency and maintain the Danish people’s trust in the digital society. It has also identified untapped potentials: Digitalisation can improve the quality of public service and a more cohesive and efficient public sector which creates value for citizens and businesses.

The new digitalisation strategy covers the period 2016 to 2020 and has identified three main goals for the development of a more digital public sector:

  • Digital services should be easy, fast and secure good quality
  • Public digitalisation should create good growth potential
  • Safety and trust should remain centre stage

Citizens as partners

Digitalisation can, according to the strategy, help make citizens more active ‘co-players’ in the delivery of their welfare services in many different ways. It can for instance strengthen citizens’ experience of user centricity and influence over their own life situation, because they can easily access high quality services and information from their own home or their local area:

‘Digital services are becoming increasingly more adaptable to the needs of the individual, i.e. they are becoming ever more user-centric.’

The strategy also says that the welfare state has no choice – digitalisation is a must:

‘It is not whether or not the changes will happen, but how, as a society, we are prepared to adapt and to exploit the opportunities offered by the new technologies to produce more prosperity and welfare while still preserving the uniquely Danish sense of security and confidence in each other and in society.’ 

Denmark has worked systematically with public digitalisation strategies for the past 15 years. Concrete digitalisation measures have been introduced in the public sector, including Digital Signature, NemKonto, Digital Post and digital self-service solutions for issuing passports and applying for sick pay.

Read more here 

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