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Great potential for better resource utilisation in The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration

There is a considerable potential for higher productivity in the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration's (NAV) administration of benefits for users. -Greater efficiency and more targeted use of resources are necessary in order to improve the services for NAV's users and meet the Storting's expectations, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 3/6/2012 12:35 PM

Document 3:10 (2011-2012) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into efficient utilisation of resources by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration was submitted to the Storting on 6 March 2012.

From 2007 to 2010, NAV was allocated greater resources for the administration of benefits, but neither the number of unprocessed cases nor case processing times has been reduced during the same period. Seen in relation to the population figures, there is great variation in staffing levels between the administrative units in the counties. Employees at NAV offices and administrative units only spend 60 per cent of their total working hours on work relating to benefits.

- The Ministry of Labour must ensure that the agency allocates and utilises the resources efficiently, says the Auditor General.

There are considerable differences in productivity between the administrative units in the counties. Oppland, the most productive county, produces almost 50 per cent more per full-time equivalent than the county with the lowest productivity, Finnmark. Almost 300 full-time equivalents could have been freed up if all the counties were as productive as the five most productive counties.

The most productive counties also have the best results as regards, for example, case processing times and follow-up of users.

- There is no contradiction between high productivity and quality, on the contrary, Kosmo says.

The quality of the administration of benefits has not been sufficiently followed up by the directorate. The number of appeals by users has increased, and a high proportion of rejections are overturned.

- The high proportion of decisions that are overturned represents a risk to users' due process protection and it bears witness to a variable administrative practice in the agency. This is not in accordance with the expectations of an improvement in competence and in the quality of case processing over time, Kosmo says.

The Office of the Auditor General believes that, in their management, the ministry and the directorate must obtain better information about the utilisation of resources and goal attainment. Furthermore, the point of departure for a new resource allocation model should be that resources must be reallocated in order to achieve the necessary improvement in overall goal attainment.

The Ministry of Labour states that the Office of the Auditor General's investigation contains interesting findings and that it will form part of the basis for the work on improving the administration of benefits.

The document can be downloaded via the link on the right. Public institutions can order the document from the Government Administration Services, tel. (+47) 22 24 20 00, publikasjonsbestilling@dss.dep.no. Others can order it from Fagbokforlaget AS, tel. (+47) 55 38 66 00, offpub@fagbokforlaget.no.

The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document No 3:10 (2011-2012), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

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