Cutting bureaucracy is more than just reviewing the regulations
A daunting number of detailed regulations are bound to breed bureaucracy. However, citizens and businesses also experience bureaucracy in the public sector when there is no cohesion between the services delivered by the public authorities.
This is especially apparent when the same information and data has to be submitted many times to different authorities. Or when lack of communication between authorities means that cases stand still or become protracted.
Expert silos are important, but they must be aligned with each other
A specialised public sector with a clear division of responsibilities between the authorities enables the authorities to build up expertise within their own areas of specialisation and it ensures high-quality individual services. However, this can be at the expense of the overall service experienced by citizens and businesses when they need services from different parts of the public sector.
Less bureaucracy should not only mean simpler regulation, but it should also be about making citizens’ and businesses’ interactions with the public authorities as easy and as problem-free as possible. This in turn means quality for the users and it can also make public services more efficient. Therefore, reducing bureaucracy should not just address regulations, but also the interplay between regulations, processes and digitisation.
In other words, reducing bureaucracy and digitisation should help expert competencies at the individual authorities become more integrated and coordinated in order to improve the quality of the overall service.
Reducing bureaucracy from the perspective of citizens
In the Digital Strategy 2016-2020, the central government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions are launching a large number of initiatives together to establish greater cohesion between public services.
In order to secure a cohesive welfare pathway for citizens, each citizens’ contact with different public authorities is at the hub of the initiative. The aim is to secure a better user experience and greater impact from efforts by the authorities in areas in which several different authorities are involved in processing the same case.
The three welfare pathways under scrutiny are:
- Cross-sectoral, coordinating interventions for citizens with concurrent substance use and mental health disorders
- Unemployed young people on educational programmes
- Incarceration at institutions under the prison and probation services and subsequent reintegration into society.
The primary approach is to keep the citizen at the hub. Part of the initiative is to complete an analysis of citizens’ contact points with the authorities and their pathways through the system. The plan is to identify possibilities to improve adjustment of legislation and processes, and to support authority cooperation using digital solutions.
Read more about the Digital Strategy 2016-2020 here.
Expert silos are everywhere in the public sector. A requirement to ensure that reducing bureaucracy can create a more cohesive public sector and better services for citizens and businesses is therefore close cooperation between all relevant authorities and across public sectors.