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Short description / Current status and future steps / Lessons learned:
= Case description =
In 2005 the Immigration Service received serious criticism for being an
inflexible administration characterised by faulty work. In addition, there
was a general desire to change the Immigration Service to suit the new
realities surrounding migration in Denmark, which meant that there
were fewer foreigners applying for asylum or family reunification, and
more applying for residency in order to work or study.
In this context, the project ‘From bureaucracy to service provider’ was
initiated in 2006 by the Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration
Affairs. The project aimed to facilitate the Immigration Service’s
transformation into a modern public service provider with value-based
management style and a focus on public service, effectiveness and
During this transformation, senior management has focused on improving
communication using strategic, value-based management. The goals
and values of the Immigration Service have been re-evaluated, and
changes have been instigated to boost internal and external coherence,
communication and conformity.
This has been a true turnaround. Not only has the project affected the
organisation’s stated goals, its whole structure has shifted its focus from
administering rules to delivering a public service, with emphasis on the
public. The Immigration Service no longer focuses on what it cannot
change but rather, on what it is in control of; there has been a marked
change from the illusion of a no-error culture to a culture marked by
a willingness and ability to involve its customers and transform their
feedback into concrete improvements. An important source of inspiration
for senior Immigration Service managers has been the ‘Public Governance
- Code for Chief Executive Excellence in Denmark‘, developed by the
Forum for Top Executive Management as a joint management project for
senior managers from across the Danish public sector.
The immediate results are: a marked increase in customer satisfaction;
greater trust amongst key stakeholders; shorter application processing
times and better service; better image and greater employee satisfaction.
Fundamental changes have taken place in the organisation’s culture,
characterised on the one hand by pride in the results achieved and on
the other hand by an open acknowledgement that the organisation can
and will be better at performing its work, to the benefit of the public.
The negative cycle has been broken and replaced by a cycle of increasing
public recognition of results, which motivates employees to focus even
more on customer-friendliness.