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A good start for "Udbetaling Danmark"

13-03-2014 News UK

About a year after it was put into operation, Udbetaling Danmark (“Payment Denmark” - a new public authority) is by and large functioning well. That is one of the conclusions of a joint public evaluation, which is about to be completed.

The transition of Udbetaling Danmark into operation has been successful and has taken place on time due to a close cooperation between Udbetaling Danmark and the municipalities. Udbetaling Danmark has succeeded in getting ICT systems and informations from 98 municipalities into place and reassigning about 1,000 employees. At last the new public authority is on track to reap economic gains of almost DKK 300 million per year to be realised no later than 2015. 

Udbetaling Danmark is, among other things, responsible for the payment of state pensions and housing benefit and expects to pay approx. DKK 200 billion to about 3 million beneficiaries in 2014. Based on the evaluation it is generally the impression that citizens receive a satisfying service and that the employees are pleased with their new employer.

Still room for improvement

However the evaluation also indicates,that there is still room for improvement e.g. regarding the division of responsibilities and tasks between Udbetaling Danmark and the municipalities. There have been individual examples in which citizens have experienced challenges - both in relation to the guidance of Udbetaling Danmark and the service that the municipals deliver to citizens who still need personal contact with the authorities. But there is a strong focus on ensuring that all citizens receive the necessary help and guidance.

The evaluation also shows a need to develop the cooperation in the new joint efforts against fraud with social benefits. The access of Udbetaling Danmark to merge data and the municipalities’ knowledge of local conditions has not yet been fully utilised. But there are signs of improvement in the cooperation.

The work ahead

The evaluation is rooted in a steering group with representatives from relevant ministries and Local Government Denmark and was conducted from September 2013 to February 2014. A draft of the evaluation of Udbetaling Danmark is available. The draft has been handed out in connection with a request for public access to documents. The steering group for the evaluation of Udbetaling Danmark has not finalised the evaluation and the draft has not yet been dealt with politically. 

Following the evaluation an analysis of the possibility of transferring more tasks to Udbetaling Danmark has been initiated. The analysis includes the payment of sickness benefits and aided place subsidy. The analysis is carried out in collaboration with Local Government Denmark and the work is still in progress. 

Both the evaluation and the analysis are expected to be a comprehensive basis for decision for the negotiations with the municipalities on their finances for 2015.