The government has announced the abolition of municipal job centres, tasked with ensuring people on unemployment benefits follow the requirements aimed at helping them get back on to the labour market.
But municipalities say they have so far not been informed as to how this work is to be done once job centres are closed. The local authorities want to retain responsibility for the area in its new form.
No specific plans have been set out according to Peter Rahbæk Juel, the leader of the labour market section of the national organisation for municipalities, Kommunernes Landsforening (KL), who was speaking in an interview with newspaper Berlingske.
According to government policy set out in last month’s coalition agreement, job centres are to be closed to enable savings of three billion kroner annually by 2030.
One objective of the closures is to give municipalities more freedom to decide how to operate employment initiatives and comply with welfare rules.
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“The aim of the initiatives must be for jobseekers to find work faster,” the government states in its policy agreement.
Juel said he was concerned that savings from the decision had been specified before a plan for what will replace job centres is announced.
“There is actually an expectation that we must save 40 percent on employment initiatives without knowing what the target actually is and how we will get there,” he told Berlingske.
As a result, focus could turn to making savings on services rather than improving them, he said.
However, Juel said KL was in support of giving municipalities more freedom over how they manage employment schemes locally.
KL wants a system under which municipalities would be rewarded for getting people into jobs, he said.
Under such a system, parliament and the government would not be able to intervene in municipalities with poor results, the model suggested by KL sets out. Instead, voters would be able to penalise local authorities in elections.