Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 4 2006, page 45-61.
Dorte Caswell og Bodil Damgaard
In the field of employment policy, the comprehensive reform of Danish local government taking effect by January 2007 appears to please no one. The reform implies the creation of jobcentres in all municipalities. In 77 of these, the municipality and the state will share responsibility for the attention given the unemployed whether insured or non-insured while in the remaining 14 jobcentres, the municipality alone will have full responsibility. Both the reform and the job-focused employment policy on which it rests have been severely criticised from many angles.
The article discusses four of the main worries commonly voiced. The first is that the reform will have adverse effects on the attention towards the ‘weak’ unemployed principally because of the job-focus inherent in the employment policy which is likely to be enhanced for several reasons. The second worry expresses the directly opposite, namely that the reform jeopardizes the attention towards the ‘strong’ unemployed. The main reasons voiced are an atomization of the attention in 91 jobcentres and the strong municipal influence on the policies. Yet the third worry is that the reform will reduce the hailed autonomy of the municipalities impairing efficient local solutions to employment problems. Finally, the reform is said to harm the involvement of the social partners which has previously assured successful employment policy. It is argued that a better understanding of the perceived problems also of other actors and groups is important in order to avoid infertile trench warfare in which everyone only care for themselves. In that case, the labour market is prone to be the one to suffer the adverse effects.