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KL - Local Government Denmark

KL - Local Government Denmark (KL) is the association and interest organisation of the 98 Danish municipalities. All of the 98 municipalities have voluntarily decided to be a part of KL. The mission of KL is to safeguard common interests of the municipalities, assist individual municipalities with consultancy services, and ensure that the local authorities are provided with up-to-date and relevant information.

KL as a Member Organisation

The various support and service functions take many forms and cover a long list of areas. More specifically and as examples, KL assists municipalities in the following ways:

  • Collecting and sharing knowledge and best practices
  • Supporting implementation of new acts
  • Clarifying legal issues – including issues related to EU legislation
  • Arranging conferences and inspiring events for municipal politicians, executives and employees
  • Assisting the regional networks, e.g. the five Local Government Regional Councils (one in each of the Danish regions) improving political cooperation between the municipalities
  • Representing the interests of the Danish municipalities in the EU institutions
  • Developing and offering a wide range of practical tools and guidelines for municipal politicians and officials
  • Issuing news and publications on political issues
  • Offering physical forums and digital platforms for dialogue

KL as an Employers' Association

The 98 Danish municipalities have assigned KL the right to negotiate binding agreements on salaries as well as terms and conditions of employment for employees in the municipalities.

Often the municipality is the largest single employer in a local community. As employers, the municipalities have more than 100 different groups of staff – from sports-centre managers to home-care helpers. Overall, the 98 municipalities have about 518,000 employees corresponding to approximately 431,000 FTEs (full-time equivalent jobs). This makes KL one of the largest employers' associations in Denmark.

KL cooperates closely with the municipalities so that their wishes and needs regarding wage and employment terms can be taken into account during negotiations. In addition, KL provides the municipalities with services such as information, guidance, courses, and consultancy regarding salary and personnel issues.

Overall, KL aims for simplification of collective agreements as well as other types of agreements. In order to turn wage formation into an active tool, that can be used to make some workplaces more attractive, KL seeks to further decentralise wage-formation processes.

In order to improve the quailty and attractiveness of municipal workplaces, KL is, moreover, involved in other personnel policy aspects. Specifically, the consulting business of KL focuses on managerial topics such af strategic management, personnel management and value-oriented management.

Being able to recruit sufficiently qualified manpower in the years to come will be one of the most important challenges for the Danish municipalities. Thus, an active personnel policy is crucial.

KL's Furthering of Interests

The mission of KL is to safeguard common interests of the municipalities, assist the individual municipality with consultancy services and in addition ensure that the local authorities are provided with up-to-date and relevant information.

The most important responsibilities of KL are:

  • KL safeguards local government interests within political, financial and administrative areas and functions as the spokesman of the local authorities as to the Danish parliament, the government, the central governmental administration, the EU, interest organisations and the media.
  • Every year, KL negotiates the overall financial frame of the local authorities with the government. Agreeing on such a financial frame is a challenging balancing act that must take into account considerations of economics as welle as possible improvements of the quality of local service delivery.
  • KL is the employers' association and represents the local authorities when negotiating with the unions of municipal employees. Approximately 15 pct. of the labour force in Denmark is employed in the municipalities.
  • KL is an association of members offering assistance and services to alle members, e.g. website, news communication, training courses, consultancy services etc.

The supreme authority of KL is the annual General Assembly. At this assembly local politicians from every municipality in Denmark decides on the major political principles projects that KL must further the coming year. Thus, the assembly outlines a course for the Executive Committee of KL to follow. The Executive Committee consists of 17 local politicians.

Assisting the Executive Committee in furthering KL's policies the organisation has six political committees that cover the following topics: 1) Labour market and business, 2) children and culture, 3) salary and personnel, 4) social affairs and health, 5) technology and environment and 6) international affairs.

KL is partly financed by the municipalities through annual membership fees (the size of the fees depend on the size of the municipality), and partly by income from the delivery of consultancy services, training courses, publications etc. KL has approximately 400 employees.

Vision of KL
The vision of KL is to ensure:

  • The best possible basis for the municipalities' attendance to their tasks
  • That the municipalities have as many options as possible when finding solutions that fit with local conditions
  • That financial responsibilities and the right to make decisions go hand in hand
  • That the state compensates the municipalities economically when assigning new tasks to the municipalities
  • That the legal framework around the municipalities is as easy as possible to administer

 These objects are furthered through political negotiation and administrative cooperation.

KL's Political Organization

The distribution of seats in the political committees of KL – Executive Committee, Chairmanship, Committee of Representatives and Local Government Regional Councils – is based on the result of the municipal elections.

General Assembly

KL's supreme authority is the annual General Assembly. From 2008, the General Assembly has been part of the annual Local Government Summit. Thus, the formal agenda of the General Assembly, subject to the framework and rules of the statutes of KL, is part of the program for the Local Government Summit.

Executive Committee

According to KL's statutes, the distribution of the 17 seats in the Executive Committee of KL is based on the overall result of the latest local government election. The same goes for the distribution of seats in the political committees of KL (Chairmanship, Sub-Committees, Committee of Representatives and Local Government Regional Councils).

On the basis of the votes nation wide at the local government election in November 2017, the distribution of mandates in the Executive Committee of KL 2018-2022 is as follows:

  • The Social Democrats: 7 mandates
  • Venstre - The Liberal Party of Denmark: 5 mandates
  • Danish People's Party: 1 mandate
  • Socialist People's Party: 1 mandate
  • Conservative People's Party: 1 mandate
  • The Red-Green Alliance: 1 mandate
  • Danish Social Liberal Party: 1 mandate

Chairmanship

The Executive Committee appoints a Chairmanship consisting of KL's chairman and vice chairman and three additional members. KL's current chairman is Jacob Bundsgaard (The Social Democrats), who is mayor of Aarhus, while the vice chairman is Martin Damm (Venstre), who is mayor of Kalundborg.   

The Chairmanship advises the Executive Committee. The Chairmanship may make decisions regarding issues entrusted to the Chairmanship by the Executive Committees.

Political Committees

KL has eight sub-committees. The committees assist the Executive Committee within their respective areas of responsibility. There are nine members of each committee. The chairman and the vice chairman is elected by the Executive Committee. The other members of the Sub-Committees are appointed by the Committee of Representatives.

For the electoral period 2018-2022 KL has appointed the following eight committees:

  • The Salary and Personnel Committee
  • The Environment and Utilities Committee
  • The Children and Education Committee
  • The Social Affairs Committee
  • The Health and Elderly Committee
  • The Culture, Business and Planning Committee
  • The Labour Market and Citizen Service Committee
  • The International Committee.

The committee members are elected for the same period as the members of the Executive Committee, and the term of office runs from the initial meeting to the corresponding meeting after a new election to the Executive Committee of KL.

Committee of Representatives

All of the Danish mayors are members of the Committee of Representatives. Furthermore, some of the members of the local councils are elected as representatives by their respective parties for the composition of the Committee of Representatives to reflect the result of the latest local government election.

The Committee of Representatives is an advisory body to the Executive Committee of KL. Meetings in the Committee of Representatives are not open to the public.

Local Government Regional Councils

KL has five Local Government Regional Councils – one in each region.

The Local Government Regional Council includes the mayors from the municipalities in the region and a number of local council members so that the Local Government Regional Council reflects the result of the local government election in the corresponding region.

Each Local Government Regional Council has a Chairmanship consisting of a chairman and a vice chairman. The Local Government Regional Councils furthers the political interests of the municipalities in the region.

The aim of the Local Government Regional Council in each region is to:

  • Promote the municipalities' common interests in the region
  • Strengthen the influence of the local councils on matters of regional development
  • Attend to tasks of common interest to the municipalities in the region

Only local council members from the member municipalities can become members of the political bodies of KL.

KL's History

Danish municipalities have a longstanding tradition of uniting in communities of interest. KL is an interest and member organisation for the Danish municipalities and has existed since 1970.

KL is a result of the local government reform in Denmark in 1970 where 1,336 municipalities were reduced to only 275.

As a result of the reform in 1970, the three local government associations (for different sizes of municipalities), that existed at that time, decided to join forces and founded what is today KL - Local Government Denmark (KL).

Since 2005, all of the Danish municipalities are members for KL.

The 1st of January 2007, a new Local Government Reform came into force, reducing the number of municipalities to 98 and redistributing responsibilities for several welfare task – primarily granting the new and larger 98 municipalities more tasks and responsibilities.