Public Organization Review

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 439–456 | Cite as

Joined-Up Government for Welfare Administration Reform in Norway

  • Tom Christensen
  • Anne Lise Fimreite
  • Per Lægreid


One of the largest public sector reforms in Norway is the welfare administrative reform of 2005. The aims are to get passive beneficiaries back into work and to make the administration more user-friendly, holistic and efficient. The aims are to be achieved by increasing the administration’s capacity to address “wicked issues” by cutting across existing policy fields and administrative levels. This joined-up-government approach poses three main challenges: 1) to get a merged central government agency to work, 2) to establish constructive cooperation between the central and local authorities and 3) to coordinate front-line services with user-oriented employment and welfare offices. The article shows that increasing the capacity of government to cut across existing policy fields and handle transboundary wicked issues are still struggling to be implemented. Cooperation between sectors is however easier to achieve than cooperation between levels. The joined-up-government-approach also tends to make accountability relations more ambiguous.


Joined-up government Accountability Administrative reform Wicked issues 



This paper is part of the Evaluation Program of the NAV Reform and the research paper “Reforming the Welfare State. Democracy, Accountability and Management”, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and managed by Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Studies. The research leading to these results has also received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 266887 (Project COCOPS), Socioeconomic Sciences & Humanities. The Norwegian part of this project is managed by the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Christensen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anne Lise Fimreite
    • 2
    • 3
  • Per Lægreid
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Administration and Organization TheoryUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Stein Rokkan Centre for Social StudiesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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