Go directly to content

Published February 8, 2016

Welfare states in need of major reform

Society cannot be reformed without changing its governance and structures.

Society cannot be reformed without changing its governance and structures. Climate change, the refugee crisis and the transformation of working life are major issues that require co-operation between governments, while strengthening the role played by the welfare state and changing the role of the public sector.

As part of the co-operation activities of the Vision Europe Summit, convened by a consortium of European think tanks and foundations, Senior Lead Eeva Hellström and Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen have joined forces with a European working group to produce Governing the welfare state and beyond – Solutions for a complex world and uncertain future, a paper that describes how to make the transition from a reactive welfare state to a proactive and sustainable well-being society. The report suggests five new governance approaches.

  1. Developing the governance capacities of strategic and agile states
  2. Adopting phenomena-based and human-centric welfare policies
  3. Strengthening the democratic base of the welfare state
  4. Renewing the role of the state in welfare provision
  5. Steering the EU towards a legitimate social agenda.

“Governance has to be understood as a top-priority reform need equal in importance to socio-economic policy reform. This also means that we need new governance capabilities,” says Hellström.

“We need to move from a welfare state towards a well-being society, leaving the silo-based approach behind and engaging administrative branches, the private sector and civil society in the co-creation of customer-oriented, well-being services and well-being,” adds Kosonen.

Governing the welfare state and beyond is a continuation of Sitra’s previous work done under the development programmes for public administration management and central government. It is based on Governments for the Future – Building the Strategic and Agile State, a report that focuses on the administrative problems faced by Western society – and claims they can be solved. The report was published by Sitra in spring 2015. Governments for the Future was co-written by Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen and Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management Yves Doz.

Especially for small countries driven by exports, the ability to renew is nothing less than vital. To be able to cope in the face of intensifying global competition, we have to be more agile than bigger countries. Tackling challenges within sector-specific silos is short-sighted and will not provide long-term solutions to the complex problems affecting all sectors of society.

 

Publication:

Hellström, E. & Kosonen, M. 2016
Governing the welfare state and beyond – Solutions for a complex
world and uncertain future

Sitra Studies 107

ISBN 978-951-563-951-6 (paperback)
ISBN 978-951-563-950-9 (PDF) www.sitra.fi
ISSN 1796-7104 (paperback)
ISSN 1796-7112 (PDF) www.sitra.fi