3.1 General description, history and key data of the administrative system

Denmark has a long-standing and unique tradition of a decentralised public sector where the majority of the welfare tasks are dealt with by the municipalities. In order to ensure that the municipalities are also capable of handling more responsibilities in the future, larger municipalities were introduced on 1 January 2007. The number of municipalities in Denmark was reduced from 271 to 98.

Each of the five regions is led by a Regional Council with 41 members, elected by the people every four years.

Responsibilities of the State after 1 January 2007:

  • Police, defence, legal system
  • Foreign service, Official Development Assistance
  • General planning within the health care sector
  • Education and research except primary school and special education
  • Activation of the unemployed with insurance in joint job centres with the municipalities, unemployment insurance, working environment and overall employment policy
  • Taxation and collection of debt to the public authorities
  • Social services: National knowledge and special counselling organisation (VISO)
  • The general road network and the state railway
  • General nature, environmental and planning tasks
  • Certain cultural measures
  • Business economy subsidies
  • Reception of asylum applicants

Responsibilities of the Regions after 1 January 2007:

  • Hospital service, including hospitals. psychiatry and health insurance as well as general practitioners and specialists
  • Regional development, i.e. nature, environment, business, tourism, employment, education and culture as well as development in the fringe areas of the regions and in the rural districts. Secretarial service for the regional growth fora.
  • Soil pollution
  • Raw material mapping and planning
  • Operation of a number of institutions for exposed groups and groups with special needs for social services and special education
  • Establishment of transport companies throughout Denmark

Responsibilities of the Municipalities after 1 January 2007:

  • Social services: Total responsibility for financing, supply and authority
  • Child care
  • Primary school, including any special education and special pedagogical assistance for small children
  • Special education for adults
  • Care for the elderly
  • Health care: Preventive treatment, care and rehabilitation that do not take place during hospitalisation, treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, home care, local dental care, special dental care and social psychiatry
  • Activation and employment projects for the unemployed without insurance in job centres run jointly with the state (10 pilot municipalities undertake the task for the unemployed with insurance on behalf of the state)
  • Integration and language education for immigrants
  • Citizen service regarding taxation and collection in cooperation with state tax centres
  • Supplies and emergency preparedness
  • Nature, environment and planning: E.g. specific authority and citizenrelated tasks, preparation of local plans and plans regarding waste water, waste and water supply
  • Local business service and promotion of tourism
  • Participation in regional transport companies
  • The local road network
  • Libraries, schools of music, local sports facilities and culture

You can also learn more by reading: http://www.im.dk/publikationer/government_reform_in_brief/index.htm

The document Kommunal_UK_screen (pdf, 638 KB) gives an overview of the Local Government Reform.