New, bigger and modern

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

On 1 January, Norway opened a new, bigger ministry devoted to modernising and developing the public sector.

On 1 January, Norway opened a new, bigger ministry devoted to modernising and developing the public sector.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation (KMD) has great ambitions for simplifying, improving and modernising the public sector. We will contribute to remove unnecessary regulations, and we will spearhead the hunt for time-consuming and inefficient work methods," says Minister of Local Government and Modernisation, Jan Tore Sanner.

Sanner joined the Solberg Government in October, as the minister in charge of Government Administration and Reform, Local Government and Regional Development and the planning department in the Ministry of the Environment.

Now all of the 425 employees are gathered in a single ministry, presided over by one minister. Sanner sees this joining of forces as a natural and necessary move in order to realise the Government's ambitions for a public sector that both functions more smoothly, and provides citizens with faster, better assistance.

Sanner notes that two of the Sundvolden platform projects for the new government fall under the KMD's umbrella. One of these is more efficient public administration, and the other is to ensure that municipalities are equipped to meet the future.

"We will work systematically to make day-to-day life simpler for most people, whether they are in need of good social welfare services or efficient administration. Focusing on work methods and management in public administration will also be important. We must make sure that capable state and municipal employees can spend more time on solving important tasks," says Sanner.

"We have also initiated work to strengthen democracy at the local level. This means stronger local autonomy and less micro-management by the State, and it means implementing a municipal reform that will yield better services for citizens, both today and in the future. More robust municipalities could be assigned more tasks and more responsibility," says the Minister.

He admits that the problems and tasks entailed by such a reorganisation will be both numerous and comprehensive. "It will be important to establish clear requirements and objectives. We must view this in a larger context, and challenge the systems, if we are to succeed in making changes that will make a difference in our society," says Sanner.

He emphasises that the government wants to bring about social development characterised by more confidence in individuals, volunteer organisations, local communities and entrepreneurs. "Society should be created and developed from the base – and not micro-managed from the top-down. This creates more diversity, less bureaucracy and more robust implementation for major policy projects," says the Minister.

In addition to coordinating the government's modernisation policy, KMD is responsible for areas such as the Planning and Building Act, housing policy, national ICT policy and digitalisation, municipal economics, elections, protection of personal privacy, administrative policy, regional and rural policy, as well as Sami and minority policy.The Ministry is also responsible for a number of underlying agencies and enterprises.