Digital Transformation

5 min

Digital-Ready Legislation: The Danish Experience

Agency for Digitisation

Strategic Partners



Denmark has been a pioneer in the adoption of digital-ready legislation, which aims to simplify complex regulations and create a more effective public sector. The Agency of Digitisation, under the Ministry of Finance, plays a critical role in ensuring that Danish legislation is digital-ready. This essay provides an overview of the Danish experience in implementing digital-ready legislation, discussing the reasons for its necessity, the approach taken by the Danish government, and the lessons learned from their experience.


  1. Why is digital-ready legislation necessary?


Digital-ready legislation is essential because it addresses the challenges that arise when complex and imprecise rules make it difficult to implement and administer digital regulation. Such challenges include numerous exceptions, difficult terms in the legislation, manual decisions, and inconsistent use of terms across different pieces of legislation. Earlier implementations of digital solutions often lacked attention at the drafting stage of legislation, leading to difficulties in implementing digital systems and fostering bureaucratic management of rules in public authorities.


  1. The Danish approach to digital-ready legislation


The Danish government reached a political agreement in 2018 requiring all proposed legislation from July 2018 to be digital-ready. The focus was on creating clear and simple legislation that was easy to implement and administrate digitally, with the aim of providing better public service through higher transparency and access to services for citizens and companies. A secretariat was created to collaborate with ministries in the public authorities to provide guidance and support on ensuring new legislation was digital-ready.


Digital-ready legislation must fulfill two criteria: adherence to seven key principles, and an assessment of expected implementation consequences. The seven principles ensure that legislation supports digital solutions and cover various parameters needed for digital-ready legislation, such as clarity in terms, digital communication, objective criteria for decision-making, data reuse, secure data management, use of public infrastructure, and error and fraud prevention.


III. Lessons learned from the Danish experience


Denmark’s experience with digital-ready legislation has yielded several valuable lessons. Small changes in existing legislation can result in significant improvements, enabling digital possibilities and management. Building awareness and compliance around digital-ready legislation takes time, requiring a focus on creating awareness and making digital readiness a priority for various stakeholders.


To keep up with technological advances, Denmark’s government prioritizes reaching out to policy officers, supporting drafters in incorporating digital-ready legislation, and conducting systematic targeted revisions of legacy legislation. Dialogue with the EU and its member-states is also prioritized to make European legislation more digitally fit.


The Danish experience with digital-ready legislation demonstrates the potential for creating more effective public services and improved experiences for citizens and companies. While challenges remain, the lessons learned from Denmark’s approach can serve as a valuable guide for other countries seeking to adopt digital-ready legislation.




In conclusion, Denmark’s journey towards digital-ready legislation serves as a compelling example for other countries looking to modernize their legislative processes and create more effective public services. By focusing on clear and simple legislation that is easy to implement and administrate digitally, the Danish government has made strides in increasing transparency, providing better access to services, and reducing bureaucracy. This has resulted in improved experiences for citizens, companies, and public authorities alike.


The lessons learned from Denmark’s approach emphasize the importance of small changes in existing legislation, building awareness and compliance, and staying abreast of technological advancements. As governments around the world continue to grapple with the challenges of digitization, the Danish experience provides valuable insights into how a committed and well-planned approach can yield significant benefits.


Moreover, Denmark’s emphasis on collaborating with other countries and the European Union highlights the importance of international cooperation in the digital era. By sharing experiences and working together, nations can collectively work towards creating legislation that is more digitally fit, ultimately benefiting citizens and businesses on a global scale.


As we move forward into an increasingly digital world, it is crucial for governments to adapt and embrace digital-ready legislation. The Danish experience serves as both an inspiration and a guide for other nations seeking to achieve similar goals. By learning from Denmark’s successes and challenges, countries can work together to create a more efficient, transparent, and accessible legislative landscape that benefits all.

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