• Benjamin Rytter Jensen
  • Asbjørn Lyngdrup Persson
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
Public welfare spendings i Denmark is experiencing a severe pressure. This is due to demographic changes.
Especially in the oldest and youngest parts of the population, which is also the most expensive population
group, for the welfare state. This is seen in a constant rise of national health service expenditures. This rising
in health service expenditures, is not only a pressure point in itself, it also puts pressure onto other welfare
Antop of this problem, there is little to no political will to make cuts in the national health service, as
no politicians want to make themselves unpopular as it is expected from this kind of welfare cuts. Therefore
the entire national welfare system of Denmark, is experiencing pressure due to the problems in the national
health service. Part of a solution to this problem, is described by many Nordic scholars such as Bjarne Ibsen
among others.
They point to the potential of volunteer-public cooperation. They use the term co-production, as a way
to explain a specific kind of cooperation, where volunteer organisations and public institutions work together
to achieve their common goals. Ibsen points to the fact that successful co-production has the potential to
ease the economic burden on the welfare society.
But how can volunteer organisations themselves, improve the possibility of achieving this state of co-production? That is what this thesis focuses on. The problem addressed in this thesis is as followed:
How can non-profit volunteer organisations through local political interest
representation, improve co-production with Aalborg Municipality?
The thesis has chosen to focus on how political interest representation can improve co-production, due to
the fact that the thesis works with a perspective of that these organisations have an unresolved potential, in
Denmark, when it comes to local political interest representation. Furthermore the thesis has chosen to limit
itself to focus on the volunteer-public relationship between volunteer organisations and Aalborg Municipality
in Denmark.
The thesis is based on theories of political interest representation. Here the thesis focuses on lobbying and
public affairs, and how these can be used to improve co-operation and co-creation. Furthermore the thesis
draws on theories explaining volunteer-public relations. The thesis uses organisational theory as well. Among
these are theories on the volunteer organisation, organisational structure, and rationality.
The thesis bases its empirical data on kvalitative interviews. Four key-persons have been interviewed with
the purpose of gaining a greater knowledge of their work and the volunteer-public relations in Aalborg Municipality. Two of the interview persons are two public volunteer coordinators, hired by Aalborg Municipality to
organise the municipalities co-operation with the local volunteer organisations. The third interview person is
the daily leader of Headspace Aalborg, a volunteer organisation who works with the mental health of young
people. The fourth interview person is the daily leader of Social Sundhed, a volunteer organisation that offers
companionship for health appointments to socially vulnerable citizens.
The findings of the thesis is that political interest representation can be used to improve the relationship be-
tween the volunteer organisations and different political actors and officials of Aalborg Municipality.
It is very important for the volunteer organisations to have a high level of trustworthiness and stability in their
organisation and volunteer base. This can be achieved through gaining a large organisational capacity. A
large organisational capacity can be acquired through hired staff, to secure consistency in focus of the organisation. It can be acquired through research on the field of focus and data that proves the impact the work of
the organisation has in the Municipality.
Through a strategic use of political interest representation, volunteer organisations should strive towards
gaining a partnership with the Municipality, through political relations and relations with higher officials. This
is due to the fact that these actors can grant access to key-actors in the Municipality workforce, as well as
economic subsidies.
If done with succes, this can manifest in economic subsidies that can strengthen the basis for the organisational capacity and the necessary contacts, which is needed to engage in successful co-production processes with Aalborg Municipality
Publication date30 May 2022
Number of pages100
ID: 471677959