1 Underestimated issues related to relocation
Citizens and businesses affected
The relocation of the four institutions in the study has affected the citizens and businesses, as the processing of certain types of cases has taken longer than before the relocation. Furthermore, Denmark has been unable to observe its agreement with the Government of Greenland concerning the Danish Geodata Agency’s production of new nautical charts and as a result, the safety of navigation has not been improved as planned. The Danish Agricultural Agency had to downgrade more tasks in order to perform its high-priority core tasks. Nævnenes Hus had to re-prioritise its work in order to manage a vast backlog of open cases. Many of the cases had accumulated over several years, but the problem was aggravated by the relocation. The institutions have implemented various retention measures depending on their current situation. The Danish Geodata Agency was established as a new organisation with a new management and decisions concerning retention measures were there- fore delayed which contributed to a temporary high outflow of staff.
2 Underestimated issues related to relocation
Several years of affected production
Production at the Danish Agricultural Agency, the Danish Geodata Agency and Nævnenes Hus continued to be adversely affected by the relocation in 2017. Statens Administration maintained its output targets during the relocation and production was on plan in 2017. Rigsrevisionen notes that the consequences of the relocation implemented in Denmark are in line with the experience of Norway and Sweden, where evaluations show that relocations of government jobs affected production for several years.
3 Lack of guidelines on cost calculation
Based on figures reported by the affected departments, the Ministry of Finance estimated the direct one-off costs of relocating all the concerned institutions at DKK 910 million in its plan Better balance I. Still, the ministry’s most recent estimate from April 2018 indicates that the cost will be lower, namely DKK 808 million, due, among other things, to the fact that in some institutions, fewer employees than expected have moved with their jobs. However, the estimate is subject to some uncertainty, because the institutions have not had access to accurate guidelines on how to record their relocation costs. To this should be added that the estimate does not include possible cost relating to, for instance, lower productivity and quality, and longer processing times.
4 Increase of sickness absence and recruitment problems
In Rigsrevisionen’s survey, just under half of the institutions stated that sickness absence increased in the relocation phase, whereas the rest of the institutions did not experience any change or saw a fall in sickness absence. The survey shows that approximately one third of the relocated institutions have had difficulties recruiting staff with relevant qualifications after relocating. Particularly recruitment of managers, experts, academics and staff with relevant experience has been difficult. It should be noted, though, that sickness absence as well as recruitment may be affected by other factors than the relocation. Half of the relocated institutions have indicated that their task performance has been adversely affected by the relocation, particularly in respect to productivity and quality, resulting in extended processing times. The other half of the relocated institutions have not experienced any negative consequences for their task performance.
With its plan Better balance (in the following referred to as Better balance I) from October 2015, the government decided to move 3,899 government jobs away from the metro- politan area. The purpose of the relocation was to attain a better balance and development across Denmark and ensure that government institutions were located close to the citizens and businesses. Additionally, the relocation was to be implemented whilst maintaining a professional environment and efficient operation of the government institutions and authorities. The plan reflected the government’s political ambitions to place more government jobs outside the Copenhagen metropolitan area. The decision was made in the knowledge that the relocation would represent a considerable challenge to the institutions and their staff, and that it would, temporarily, make it more difficult for the institutions to perform their duties.
By April 2018, 32 institutions had completed their relocation and approximately two thirds of the affected man-tears had been relocated. Well over one third of the institutions were behind their original schedule. Approximately one fourth of the staff had decided to move with their jobs.
This report concerns the first round of the relocation of government jobs and its preparation that started in June 2015.
The purpose of the study is to assess whether the departments have implemented the relocation of government jobs in an appropriate manner. The report answers the following questions:
- Did the basis for the decision to relocate government jobs include assessments of the financial and operational consequences of the relocation?
- Did the departments’ implementation of the relocation have focus on sustaining a reasonable production in the process?
- What is the preliminary state of play of the relocation of government jobs relative to economy, office space and staff?