Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2008, page 57-72.
English resume

Local employment councils in the intersection between state and municipalities

Thomas Bredgaard og Flemming Larsen

ince 2007, the local government reform has introduced new advisory councils in employment policy in Denmark. Representatives in regional and local employment councils – among others the labour market organisations – have become advisory to the new employment regions and local jobcentres, and are supposed to supervise and monitor the results and effects of the responsible authorities.

These are fundamentally different tasks and duties than their predecessors, the regional labour market councils and local coordination committees. During the political preparation of the local government reform the main labour market organisations strongly criticised the planned steering structure. They argued that the new advisory structure would undermine the unique Danish tradition of administrative corporatism and the commitment and responsibility of the labour market organisations, which could potentially reduce the legitimacy of employment policies.

In this article we present data from a survey of all members of the new local employment councils (response rate, 52 %) and the secretariats of the councils (response rate, 77 %). The survey focuses on the actions and reactions of the local member representatives in the councils (representatives of the trade union confederation, employers association, municipal representatives, general practitioners association, disability associations etc.).

We find that that there is some discrepancy between the sceptical attitude of the main organisations and their local representatives. Respondents suggest that there is a relatively good climate of cooperation, trust, and consensus in the councils, and that the councils have a relatively high degree of influence on local employment policies. Internally, it is mainly representatives of the trade union confederation (Danish LO) that are assessed as the most active and influential participants, while the employers representatives are less active and influential. Despite the relatively positive assessment of the internal functioning of the councils, the respondents tend to agree that the councils have diffi culties in fi nding a distinctive role and platform in the intersection between increasing central state control and municipal autonomy.

Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)




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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt