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For Denmark, public sector innovation is not a goal in itself but a means to reach a number of key political objectives. Being under the continued pressure of the recovery from the financial and economic crisis, forces the public sector to innovate. It is forced to take decisions on needed reforms, but not necessarily decisions following conventional or habitual approaches to finding solutions to a number of short- to medium-term financial and longer-term demographic challenges in a highly sophisticated welfare state as seen in Denmark.

Political and economic goals towards 2020

The Danish government launched in February 2013 a revised plan for job creation and economic growth towards 2020. The main focus of the plan is to increase job creation in especially the private sector and support increased competitiveness and economic growth in general by:

  • Reforming the framework conditions for private enterprises (with a growth contribution of EUR 2.7 billion).
  • Initiating reforms that increase the educational level and the employment (with a growth contribution of EUR 2.7 billion).
  • Initiating reforms of the public sector and ensuring sustainable public finances (with a growth contribution of EUR 1.6 billion).

Key elements for public sector innovation

For Denmark, public sector innovation is an important tool to achieve the political and strategic goals for public sector modernisation as an integrated part of an overarching policy for job creation and economic growth towards 2020.

The Danish government has identified eight areas for public sector modernisation:

  • Focus on impacts, results and mutual learning.
  • Digitisation in the public sector.
  • Use of welfare technology.
  • A service-minded public sector by supporting a continuous cultural transformation with the citizens in mind.
  • Work time regulation and working conditions in the public sector should support a more flexible usage of resources with a continuous improvement of productivity in mind.
  • Increased public-private co-operation.
  • Better regulation and goal-orientation.
  • Increased focus on exploiting capacities, economic management, leadership and better public procurement for all public institutions.

Digitisation - a key driver for innovation and cost-savings

For the period 2011-2015, the Danish government approved a strategy and action plan for public sector digitisation paving the way for the next ambitious steps towards full digital service delivery in Denmark – or “digital-by-default”. By 2015, Denmark has the goal of having at least 80% of all written communication between the public and public authorities digital only by law.

Towards a more efficient and smarter welfare state

A common public sector strategy for digital welfare was launched by the government in September 2013 and covers the period 2013-2020. It targets seven areas. The aim is to transform public frontline services within the health sector, social services, and education and learning and make them long-term sustainable in the light of increasing demographic challenges:

  • Dissemination of telemedicine throughout Denmark.
  • Effective collaboration in the health area.
  • Welfare technology in nursing and care.
  • New digital paths in case processing.
  • Digital learning and education.
  • Digital collaboration in education.
  • Preconditions for digital welfare.

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Highlighted innovation

NemID – Danish National eID and digital signature scheme

Digital, Public Service

NemID is a national electronic ID and digital signature infrastructure that has been developed in close cooperation with the banking sector and is operated by a private provider for the government and Danish banks. The system, which is provided free of charge to Danish citizens, offers a common identification method for citizens to access both public and private services.

The NemID itself is a credit card sized card that provides a single use password of six numeric digits which is used in conjunction with a traditional username and password combination to sign onto services securely and electronically. It was developed as an improved version of a prior identification system and offers a simpler procedure (single sign in without the necessity of other hardware or certificates). NemID provides a uniform way to identify citizens, companies and employees to any digital service, contributing to significant savings. 

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