Digital-ready legislation supports the promotion of daycare
With the aim of preventing and eradicating parallel societies, the government has carried out the political proposal ‘A Denmark without parallel societies — No ghettos in 2030’.
The law on mandatory learning programs for 1-year olds living in vulnerable housing areas is an element in the implementation of this agreement. The aim of the legislation is to ensure that more children develop their Danish language skills and readiness to learn as early as possible.
The legislative proposal
Legislation obliges parents living in vulnerable housing areas to enroll their children in a mandatory learning program at the age of 1, if they are not already enrolled in a day care facility. If the parents do not comply with their obligation, the municipal authorities must decide to stop the child benefit.
The act on mandatory learning programs for 1-year olds living in vulnerable housing areas is an expression of a good application of the principles of digital-ready legislation. In the following it is further elaborated how a number of principles are addressed in the legislation. Each example starts with a brief introduction of the relevant principle.
Principle # 2 on digital communication
The explanatory notes of the legislative proposal prescribes that municipal authorities can use digital post (e-boks) to inform the parents that their children have to register in a mandatory learning program (p. 5).
Furthermore, citizens who are not digital are also accommodated, as the municipal council may choose to use other forms of dialogue, in case this is deemed appropriate.
The use of digital communication enables the municipal councils to streamline and automate the process of contacting the families for whom the offer is relevant, while accommodating non-digital citizens.
Principle # 4 on the use of similar concepts and reuse of data
The act on mandatory learning programs for 1-year olds living in vulnerable housing areas is an example of how principle four can be implemented in legislation, as it is stated in the explanatory notes that the act applies the same criteria for vulnerable housing areas as the Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing use (p. 5). Using the same criteria to define what constitutes an affected housing area ensures greater consistency across different areas of act and ensures that data can be reused.
Principle # 6 on the use of public infrastructure
As mentioned above, the act on mandatory learning programs for 1-year olds living in vulnerable housing areas shows that use of public infrastructure, in this case digital post (e-boks), can be used. The legislation therefore demonstrates how existing common public solutions can be used.
Impact and perspective
The legislation has financial implications for the municipalities in terms of the cost of establishing the mandatory learning programs. Furthermore, the act has financial consequences for the municipalities due to the registration of children, the cost of assessing the scheduling of the weekly 25 hours, etc. To a limited extent, the legislative proposal has administrative consequences. In particular, the municipalities must send out written communications to parents and lay down guidelines for withdrawal from the mandatory learning program.
The act on mandatory learning programs for 1-year olds living in vulnerable housing areas is a good example of how authorities can design legislation using digital communication, while at the same time demonstrating the effective use of existing digital infrastructure. To this end, the legislation is an example of how similar concepts and criteria can be applied across areas of authority, which help to ensure a coherent public sector.