Government Efficiency Group

Recommendations to enhance the productivity and efficiency of government management

The Government Efficiency Group has handed in its proposals for enhance the productivity and efficiency of government management.

Objectives and priorities

  • The recommendations of the Government Efficiency Group that appear here cover the principal elements of government management and all of the major elements in the government service and administration system. 
  • The objectives of the recommendations are:
    -  To strengthen to government's goal of achieving deficit-free budgets in the coming years 
    -  To give the economy long-term sustainability and this therefore requires a particular focus on current indebtedness and foreseeable increases in expenditure, not least as a result of the altered age composition of the nation's population. 
    -  To enhance the cost-effectiveness and performance of government management to enable it to offer good and efficient services in accordance with the needs of the nation. 
    -  To make government management more effective and increase its productivity. 
  • The Government Efficiency Group has not placed any emphasis on making any direct budget cut proposals, but has instead focused on systemic changes. These are aimed at changing the emphases, procedures and organisation of the system, and can contribute to durable streamlining and better results in the long term.
  • If these recommendations are implemented they could save the nation billions. These savings could mean lower funding as well as increased and better services.  
  • The Government Efficiency Group has based its work on a broad range of sources (see more details at the end of this document): 
    -  Dozens of reports and analyses of the changes that have been proposed over the past years have been examined. 
    -  The members of the group met with ministers and their officials. 
    -  The public was invited to submit proposals and streamlining ideas and close to six hundred suggestions were received. Many of them have been taken on board in the group's recommendations, and when the processing of these suggestions has been completed, more targeted proposals will be sent to specific ministries to be worked on further. 
    -  In addition to this, various individuals, employees and managers within the government, as well as interested parties outside of if, have contacted the Government Efficiency Group and presented a variety of recommendations to the members of the group.
  • The recommendations submitted by the Government Efficiency Group are in many cases similar to proposals submitted before. On the other hand, it is not enough to submit good proposals and ideas; they also have to be implemented. 
  • At the initiative of individual ministers, work is currently being conducted on preparing a variety of changes, which reflect the Government Efficiency Group's recommendations. The proposals that are already being worked on in the ministries are marked with an asterisk (*). It is not certain whether their formulation will be exactly as the group proposes, but the objectives remain the same.

General recommendations and assumptions

  1. The changes that are made to the government's institutional and service system, on the basis of the recommendations of the Government Efficiency Group, shall have clear professional and financial objectives. 
  2. The governing principle shall be that decisions regarding new expenditure shall be limited to what is deemed inevitable, due to changes in the age composition of the national population, the development of unemployment, and capital contributions related to systemic changes in government management or comparable reasons.
  3. No proposal shall be implemented without first demonstrating the operational savings it will entail or how it will profit the community. The initial evaluation of operational savings and profitability shall be the responsibility of individual ministries, but the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs shall be responsible for the final evaluation. The Parliamentary Budget Committee and National Audit Office shall then be responsible for ensuring that these criteria are met. Examples of projects that are being assessed in this manner include the House of Icelandic Studies, the prison in Hólmsheiði, the new National Hospital and the Nature Museum in Perlan.
  4. In collaboration with the Ministerial Committee on State Finances, the ministries shall review all the projects which they and the institutions under them conduct, and reappraise them on the basis of the current fiscal position. This task shall be completed before the submission of the draft budget for 2015.
  5. Existing plans for new expenditure and capital contributions, which have increased in real value since 2008, shall be re-evaluated and budgetary items shall be re-adjusted to their nominal value in 2008, unless it can be demonstrated that there was a pressing need to increase them. 
  6. Efforts shall be made to reduce government guarantees with regard to Landsvirkjun, the Housing Financing Fund and Farice.
  7. In all changes to the government's network of institutions and services, a special focus shall be placed on examining the possibility of distributing government jobs around the country. 
  8. A greater emphasis shall be placed on the long-term objectives of fiscal policy with a special focus on the connections between fiscal and economic policy. 
  9. All employees of the Government Offices of Iceland shall be its employees and not the employees of individual ministries.
  10. Legislation on official supervision of any kind shall be revised with the objective of ensuring that supervision is not being carried out unless it is foreseen that it entails more advantages than costs. The objective of official supervision shall be clear and measurable so that the results of the supervision can be evaluated.

Infrastructure and institutions

  1. An appraisal shall be made of the work, procedures and costs of the Althing, as well as the institutions and projects which are connected to it, with the objective of increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Comparisons shall be drawn with the situation abroad with regard to, among other things, key operating factors and overtime ratios. A special focus shall be placed on the procedures applied to decisions regarding the allocation of funds to the Althing and the supervision of its financial affairs.
  2. A feasibility study shall be conducted on whether the Althing and Government Offices can manage joint support services, e.g. in the field of IT and filing etc. (also see proposal for a joint Government Offices service).
  3. The organisation of investigations and activities of investigation committees shall be re-evaluated with regard to results and costs. There shall be a clarification of who bears financial responsibility for the investigation committees and an operating plan shall have to be approved when a decision is made to conduct an investigation. 
  4. In the envisaged revision of the Act on the Althing Ombudsman and the Icelandic National Audit Office, care shall be taken to ensure that there is a clear division between the roles of these offices.
  5. The advantages of transferring regular financial audits to the executive powers shall be examined. On the other hand, the National Audit Office shall focus on the general supervision of the financial management of state entities, as well as appraisals of the cost effectiveness and results of government activities. 
  6. Payments to political parties shall be revised, in accordance with the revision of legislation governing the funding of political parties. 

Prime Minister's Office and Government Offices

  1. The management of the Thingvellir National Park shall be merged with other operations and the developments of other national parks and protected areas (see details in the proposal of the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources to create a single agency in this field). 
  2. Examine whether the issues covered by the Ombudsman for Children can be combined with other issues in the field of civil rights (see proposal under Ministry of the Interior).
  3. Support services within Government Offices, such as for websites, file records, book keeping, procurement, IT, and security issues etc. shall be merged in one place with the objective of streamlining the operations of the main offices of the ministries.* 
  4. The administration of the premises of Government Offices and the Prime Minister's Office shall be undertaken by a new property administrative body (see proposal from Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs).
  5. Certain general functions of the ministries shall be transferred to other bodies, such as district commissioners.
  6. An effort shall be made to merge complaint committees and to increase the cost efficiency of their work. The cost effectiveness of establishing a special administrative court shall be examined.* 

Minister for Foreign Affairs

  1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall estimate expenditure needs in light of changed priorities. A special evaluation of staff number requirements, both domestically and abroad, shall be conducted with the aim of reducing staffing levels and achieving savings.* 
  2. The Minister for Foreign Affairs shall form a future strategy for the organisation and working procedures of the Foreign Service. Focus shall be placed on, among other things, the interaction and division of tasks between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other ministries, the Promote Iceland agency, the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) and consulates. The development of foreign affair services in neighbouring countries shall be examined in an endeavour to find innovative models that can enhance cost effectiveness and performance.
  3. The book keeping and settlement of bills within the ministry shall be reviewed.* 
  4. The Minister for Foreign Affairs shall evaluate the need for consulates, as well as their scope and costs, by taking into consideration aspects such as technological innovation, the development of global trade, security and defence issues, the emphasis on international activities, participation in international institutions, and where the protection of Iceland's interests can best be served. The objective is to reduce the number of consulates and embassies. 
  5. The value of the property of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall be assessed with a view to determining whether it can be sold and cheaper housing solutions can be found.
  6. The scope and activities of the Translation Centre of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall be reviewed.* 
  7. The export assistance offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Promote Iceland agency shall be reviewed in consultation with representatives from the business community. “Promote Iceland” shall also take on the role of commercial counsellor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and should be able to use the facilities of Icelandic embassies.* 
  8. Contributions to development shall be reviewed and recent increases shall be withdrawn.*

Minister of Education, Science and Culture

  1. The number of universities shall be reduced through mergers and cooperation between universities shall be boosted so that the funds allocated to the university system can be better used. Moreover, a harmonised management form and single funding model shall be developed for all universities. The possibility of linking funding to the quality of the education shall be explored.*
  2. The number of competition funds shall be reduced and they shall be enlarged and strengthened so that the balance between fixed funding for research and competition funds is more even than it is now. Endeavours shall be made to channel 50% of the financing though competition funds (also connected to the Minister of Industry and Innovation). 
  3. The number of research institutions shall be reduced and their organisation and management shall be simplified from their current state with a view to streamlining their operations and enhancing the quality of research and scientific activities. In connection with changes in the organisation of research institutions the possibility of transferring research institutes to universities shall be explored (see detailed proposal for the restructuring of research institutes under the Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture and the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources).
  4. The productivity of the education system shall be increased in view of the recommendations of the OECD and the project managers of the Consultative Forum for Increasing Prosperity:
    a. The number of secondary school agencies shall be reduced, although the possibility remains for a single agency to have more than one location. 
    b. The number of years in pre-university education shall be reduced. Primary and secondary schools levels shall be reviewed with this in mind, and changes shall be explored in consultation with local governors and interested parties. Incentives shall be developed in the system to encourage students to complete their studies within a set period and to ensure flexibility between school levels.* 
  5. A single joint administrative body shall be founded for education by merging, among others,  Education Outcomes Iceland (Námsmatsstofnun) and the National Centre for Educational Materials (Námsgagnastofnun).* 
  6. The senior management of the Icelandic Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Iceland, the Einar Jónsson Art Museum and the Icelandic National Gallery shall be merged.
  7. The senior management of the National Film Archive of Iceland, the Audio book Library of Iceland and the National Archives of Iceland shall be merged. 
  8. The possibility of merging the management of the National Theatre, National Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Dance Company and the Icelandic Opera shall be explored.
  9. The activities of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) shall be reviewed. Its public, cultural and security role shall be defined better than it is now.*
  10. The Icelandic Media Commission shall be abolished and the former legal framework shall be restored. The administrative and supervisory role shall be transferred to the Icelandic Post and Telecom Administration.
  11. The construction of the House of Icelandic Studies shall be suspended for now.*

Minister of the Interior

  1. The rules for determining allocations from the Municipal Equalisation Fund shall be amended to ensure that they do not work against the potential merging of municipalities.*
  2. The number of Police agencies shall be reduced to eight. The management of the police force shall be separate from that of district commissioners and the police force shall be run as a single budgetary item, which will enable it to better adjust police activities to the tasks at hand in each case. Other aspects of law enforcement shall be part of this restructuring. This means, among other things, that the Police Academy shall be merged with the office of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police and the Emergency Line shall be merged with the Communication Centre of the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. *
  3. The activities of the Icelandic Coast Guard shall be examined in the context of organisational changes in law enforcement. In particular, the question of whether the management of state ships should also be transferred to the Icelandic Coast Guard shall be examined. 
  4. The number of district commissioners shall be reduced to eight. There is a need to strengthen their parallel function as state service centres in districts and tasks should be transferred to them without delay.*
  5. The possibility of transferring tasks from the Registers of Iceland and the Directorate of Immigration etc. to the offices of district commissioners shall be explored.
  6. The advantages of forming a common court administrative body to deal with the financial, human resource and management issues of courts shall be examined. Comparable institutions shall be examined in other Nordic countries, such as the Domstolsstyrelsen in Denmark and the Domstoladministrasjonen in Norway.
  7. Campaigns shall be launched to boost Information Technology (IT) to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Icelandic administration. A feasibility study shall be conducted on whether it is possible to merge the administration of the government's primary databases with the Registers of Iceland.
  8. A civil rights body shall be established by merging the Multicultural and Information Centre, the Centre for Gender Equality, the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities office, the Data Protection Authority and the Ombudsman for Children. The question of whether the Information Disciplinary Committee should also form part of this body shall be explored (this function also falls under the Minister of Social Affairs and Housing and the Prime Minister's Office). 
  9. A consumer protection body shall be established by merging the Consumer Spokesman (talsmanns neytenda), the Consumer Agency (Neytendastofa), the consumer protection unit of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) and the tasks of the Debtor's Ombudsman Office (these tasks currently also fall under the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Minister of Social Affairs and Housing). 
  10. The powers and tasks of the Icelandic Post and Telecom Administration and the Competition Authority shall be examined with a view to a possible merging of offices (these tasks also fall under the Minister of Industry and Commerce). 
  11. Arrangements for handling requests from asylum seekers shall be revised with the aim of shortening the processing period on the basis of the Norwegian model.*
  12. Penal law shall be amended with the aim of reducing costs in the execution of sentences. In this context, the costs of mediation procedures shall be examined in particular.*

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs

  1. The management of the Government Real Estate Agency, the Government Construction Contracting Agency, the State Farmland Ownership Office of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the property of Government Offices shall be merged into a single property administration body.*
  2. The Bookkeeping Agency for Research Institutes (Skrifstofa rannsóknastofnana atvinnuveganna) shall be abolished and its tasks transferred to State Financial Management (this Agency  now falls under the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture).* 
  3. Work shall be done to increase the integration between the social security system and tax system and to investigate whether government benefits can be increasingly paid through the tax system.
  4. The need to strike a balance in disability benefits between pension funds shall be re-evaluated in light of risk distribution with regard to the frequency of disabilities in relation to the average life span of fund members.
  5. The advantages of merging the activities of the Directorate of Internal Revenue and Directorate of Customs shall be examined. The Danish experience shall be examined in particular in this context. 
  6. The administration of tax issues shall be reviewed, as well as the interaction of tasks conducted by the Directorate of Tax Investigations and the Directorate of Internal Revenue etc.*
  7. The advantages of merging the Central Bank of Iceland and the Financial Supervisory Authority shall be examined.
  8. The principle of selling government holdings in companies shall be implemented on the basis of recommendations from the working group of the Prime Minister's Office, which submitted a report in February 2012. A policy shall also be formulated for the sale of government holdings in companies, buildings and land where the holdings shall be classified under three categories:
    a. Holdings that will not be sold (e.g. because of their social function). 
    b. Holdings it would be inopportune to sell at this time, but which will probably be sold in the future, e.g. under better market conditions. 
    c. Holdings which the government does not intend to hold on to and which are for sale if the right price can be obtained. 
  9. Rules governing the selection of board members shall be re-examined in connection with the government's ownership policy in companies. 
  10. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs shall be given a greater role in the coordination of ministerial procedures in the making of servicing contracts and financial relations with the third sector.
  11. Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) shall be abolished and its tasks shall be transferred to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
  12. The arrangements of the property management of the Central Bank of Iceland shall be reviewed.
  13. A comprehensive assessment shall be made of all of the government's internal services throughout the ministry and clear measures shall be taken to guarantee effective organisation and rationalisation. Among other things, emphasis shall be placed on the following:*
    a. The government shall only process invoices in electronic format.
    b. New arrangements shall be adopted for the management of property and constructions, which shall be based on, among other things, the principle that institutions pay full rent for the buildings they use.
    c. Methods shall be developed to facilitate e-working throughout the country.

  14. The legal framework of  fiscal policy shall be strengthened, cf. draft Fiscal Policy bill:*
    a. A greater emphasis shall be placed on the strategies of fiscal policy, particularly with regard to the connections between fiscal policy and economic policy. Performance targets shall be set for financial policies and financial plans and these can be based on numbered financial rules which remain valid for at least one term of office. Greater emphasis shall be placed on the coordination of financial policy between the government and municipalities.
    b. An independent financial council shall be established to evaluate financial policy and its assumptions. 
    c. The number of budgetary items shall be reduced, as the responsibility of ministries for the execution of budgets is increased and extensive changes in supplementary budgets are prevented.
    d. Revenues that have been earmarked to be used for certain expenditures shall be reduced with the aim of eventually phasing them out completely. 
    e. Preparations of the state's financial statements shall be improved.
    f. Endeavours shall be made to strengthen planning, financial management, performance management and quality control. Endeavours shall be made to strengthen financial supervision, risk management and internal auditing. 
  15. The aim shall be to cut public procurement by 10%:*
    a. The status of the State Trading Centre (Ríkiskaup) in relation to institutions and ministries shall be strengthened and the responsibility of procurement managers shall be better defined. The procurement of state institutions shall be systematically monitored by the State Trading Centre and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. 
    b. The use of framework agreements shall be more systematic with a view to, among other things, reducing inventories and shortening agreement periods. The planning of public procurement shall be improved with an emphasis on coordination and increasing joint procurement. Electronic procurement and tendering procedures shall also be adopted. 
    c. Municipalities' procurement arrangements shall be adjusted to the new state procurement procedures by law.
    d. Ways of reducing travelling costs, through more systematic procurement and a review of regulations in this area, shall be explored. EU regulations shall be examined in this context. 
  16. The organisation and management of state-owned institutions and companies shall be more systematic:
    a. The advantages of establishing a comprehensive legal framework for the government's network of institutions shall be investigated.
    b. Criteria shall be set for the minimum size requirements of institutions with regard to the number of employees, management regulations and financial capacity. Exemptions shall be kept to a minimum and clearly defined.
    c. A campaign shall be launched to boost the senior managerial role of ministries over institutions in accordance with Chapter IV of Act no. 115/2011 on the Government Offices of Iceland.
    d. The ownership role in government-owned companies shall be boosted.
    e. A management policy shall be formulated to, among other things, stipulate the responsibilities of managers and performance evaluations. 
  17. The government's human resource and terms of employment policies shall be reviewed:
    a. The revision of legislation in the field of human resources shall be accelerated, in consultation with the trade unions, with a view to, among other things, boosting human resource management and increasing the flexibility of personnel and managers. 
    b. Differences in the rights and terms of employment in the private and public labour markets shall be balanced. Work on harmonising the pension rights of civil servants and employees in the private sector shall be accelerated.
    c. Efforts shall be made to amend employment agreements to facilitate the necessary systemic changes in public services, and support shall be given to the social partners' endeavours to change the methodology applied to the making of wage agreements. 

Minister of Health

  1. Funding shall be based on a formula, i.e. a calculation model shall be used in the distribution of funds to healthcare and hospital services around the country, which take into account the number of inhabitants, age composition, distribution of inhabited areas etc. and other factors of this kind. Efforts shall be made to ensure the operating units of health institutions are as cost-effective as possible and have the conditions to guarantee good and secure services.*
  2. The chapter of Act no. 112/2008 on health insurance shall be brought into effect and necessary structural changes shall be made to the Ministry of Welfare and its institutions so that it can be implemented. The act places on emphasis on:
    a. Analysing the cost of health services and providing services at the most cost-effective level.
    b. Avail of the possibility of issuing calls for tender with the aim of enhancing management and cost effectiveness in the field of specialised services.
  3. Adopting a form of gate keeping system that provides individuals with financial incentives to seek services at the appropriate level of service. Exploring whether it would be feasible for individuals to register in a gate keeping scheme in exchange for a lower cost contribution from the individual.* 
  4. The public's contributions to health services shall be reviewed with the objective of limiting the costs of people with long-term illnesses and it shall be adjusted to the proposed gate keeping system.*
  5. Conditional participation in the payment of medication shall continue and be applied to more categories of medication. 
  6. Systematic work shall begin on setting up integrated electronic records system for patients.
  7. The management and activities of healthcare (GP- services) in the capital region shall be re-organised with a view to improving its performance. Among other things, mixed funding shall be adopted with incentives to boost productivity.
  8. Action plans in the field of illness prevention and health promotion shall be developed on the basis of the health and welfare policies of the ministry of welfare.
  9. The supervision regime of the health services shall be revised.
  10. There shall be an examination of whether it is possible to work more with other Nordic countries on medication issues, e.g. regarding the procurement of medication and reviewing the management of the Icelandic Medicines Agency.*
  11. The possibilities of promoting cooperation between entities that work in rehabilitation in the health sector shall be explored.

Minister of Housing and Social Affairs

  1. The Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund at the Directorate of Labour, the Child Support Collection Centre and the main part of the activities of  Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun) shall be merged into a single payment office.*
  2. Potential ways of changing government funding shall be examined so that the municipalities which place an emphasis on delivering good home services can be rewarded, e.g. by making a comprehensive agreement on payments on the basis of the number and age distribution of the population. 
  3. The contributions to be paid by lodgers in nursing homes shall be reviewed so that lodgers are paid their pensions according to the general rules, but instead pay for the cost of the accommodation, food and general maintenance. Moreover, special housing support shall be offered to lodgers with a limited ability to pay.*
  4. Assistance to those who are inactive on the labour market due to unemployment and disabilities shall be reviewed to enhance its effectiveness:
    a. Vocational rehabilitation schemes shall be reassessed to ensure that the same services are offered to all, irrespective of whether they are in the labour market or not. There shall be a harmonisation of procedures applied by entities dealing with people with prolonged absences from work. Employers shall increase their flexibility and responsibility towards employees who are in danger of vanishing from the labour market.
    b. The compensation and tax systems shall be developed in a manner that makes it worth while to be in the labour market. The possibility of returning to the system of compensation shall be ensured, if an individual attempts to work in the labour market. Support for disabled children within the disability system shall form part of the general support offered to the children of all low-income families, so that there will be a common family insurance system. 
    c. Work capability assessments shall be adopted instead of disability assessments and compensation payment schemes shall be reviewed.*
    d. The financial assistance rules of municipalities shall be made clearer with regard to, for example, minimum payments, relationship status and the active conditions of those receiving financial assistance.*
    e. The length of the payment period of unemployment benefit shall be shortened in light of the experience of neighbouring countries, particularly Sweden.
  5. Previous plans to prolong the maternity/paternity leave period shall be halted.*
  6. The Communication Centre for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the National Hearing and Speech Institute of Iceland, the State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre and the National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deaf blind shall be merged.*
  7. Tasks in the field of technical supervision shall be merged, i.e. tasks which are now being conducted by the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, the Icelandic Construction Authority and possibly also the Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority (these tasks also fall under the Minister of Health and Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources).
  8. The portion of activities of the State Social Security Institute, which deal with rehabilitation and disability assessments, and tasks of the Directorate of Labour other than those of the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund and part of the activities of the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health shall be merged into a single Directorate of Labour.*
  9. A housing financing system without government guarantees and financial support from the government shall be adopted and founded primarily on social and regional considerations. A clear legal framework shall be established for housing loans which facilitate active competition, access to loans and financial stability.* 

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture

  1. The administration of all natural resource issues, such as the issuances of licences and supervision of natural resources, shall be merged into a single body. This entails the merging of the National Energy Authority, the Directorate of Fisheries and Fisheries Management which currently come under the Environment Agency of Iceland. In this context, there shall be an examination of whether agricultural quotas and carbon quotas should be managed by this same body (these tasks currently also fall under the Minister of Industry and Commerce and the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources). 
  2. The effectiveness of agricultural subsidies shall be assessed. A working group shall also be appointed to formulate a government support policy which shall be designed to boost food production at the same time as enhancing productivity and cost effectiveness. 
  3. Payments to the Farmers' Association of Iceland shall cease. The Agricultural Agreement Act shall be amended so that certain activities can continue to be supported, such as the cultivation of corn and the protection of livestock etc.
  4. Price fixing and price mediation for milk shall cease.* 
  5. The cost of implementing of the Animal Protection Act shall be reviewed.

Minister of Industry and Commerce

  1. The organisation of support for economic activity and its development shall be changed, i.e. the tasks of Innovation Centre Iceland, the Tourist Board and development projects of the National Energy Authority shall be merged into a single support institution for economic activity. The advantages of transferring Matís (Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D) under the same body shall be explored, as well as other advisory functions, which are deemed necessary to be offered by the government and are not in competition with companies on the market (these tasks currently also fall under the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture).
  2. New Business Venture Fund issues shall be reviewed and the involvement of other investors shall be increased, e.g. pension funds shall be explored.
  3. Employment development funds and the lending activities of the Regional Development Institute, The Agricultural Productivity Fund, the AVS Research Fund and various other smaller funds shall be merged into a single powerful economic activity development fund, which shall control a variety of financial instruments to support companies. An increased emphasis shall be placed on loan guarantees in collaboration with banks and regional interests shall be taken into account with variable guarantee percentages or guarantee fees (these tasks currently fall under the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture).
  4. A green “nature pass” shall be introduced to pay for the development of tourist areas.* 
  5. A comprehensive review of procedures for the issuance of licences and opinions by the government and municipalities shall be conducted with a view to simplifying them. The issuance of licences which are connected to work permits and transactions shall be transferred to a single body.*

Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources

  1. The Vatnajökull National Park, Thingvellir National Park and the portion of the Environment Agency of Iceland which deals with protected areas shall be merged into a single national park agency. The involvement of the relevant municipalities and other interested parties in the management of specific areas shall be ensured.
  2. The activities of the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, the Icelandic Forest Service and regional forestry projects shall be merged under a single body. There shall be an examination into whether the research part of their activities can be transferred to universities and the advisory part can be transferred to the Icelandic Agricultural Advisory Centre. 
  3. The activities of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History shall be reviewed and the possible advantages of integrating them with comparable university and Nature Research Institute activities shall be explored.
  4. The tasks of the Mývatn Nature Research Centre shall be transferred to the university or merge with the local Nature Research Institute. 
  5. The Vilhjálmur Stefánsson Institute shall be transferred to come under the University of Akureyri. 
  6. Endeavours shall be made to merge administrative bodies in the field of environmental affairs, i.e. the Environment Agency of Iceland, Icelandic National Planning Agency and the Icelandic Recycling Fund. Scopes and tasks shall be reviewed and the merged organisation shall be a purely administrative body.
  7. The activities of the Land Survey of Iceland institute shall be reviewed and its combined impact with other bodies shall be explored. 
  8. The Institute of Freshwater Fisheries and Marine Research Institute shall be merged into a single institute (these tasks also fall under the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture).*
  9. Supervisory tasks of the Environment Agency of Iceland, supervisory tasks of the local health authorities and the supervisory tasks of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority shall be simplified. Health monitoring shall be conducted by independent examining bodies or the monitoring shall be transferred to the relevant government institution.
  10. The entry into force of the most recent Nature Conservation Act shall be postponed, due to its cost, and the act shall be reviewed with the aim of reducing costs.*
  11. New building regulations shall be reviewed.* 

The main sources used by the Government Efficiency Group in its research

  • General data on streamlining and enhancing the efficiency of government managemento 
  • Some 570 emails and suggestions from the public.
  • Websites of Icelandic ministries and institutions.
  • Websites of foreign ministries and institutions, particularly in Nordic countries and the UK. 
  • Policy statement from the governing coalition of the Progressive Party and Independence Party.
  • Budgets of past years.
  • Treasury accounts of past years.
  • Data from the National Audit Office and reports on the execution of budgets, human resource issues, the merging of ministries and institutions, assessments of the operations of various institutions and government projects etc.
  • Proposals from the secretariat of the Icelandic Growth Forum (IGF) to the IGF for increasing prosperity in Iceland. Particularly proposals from the secretariats' work stream on increased productivity in the public sector which relate to, among other things, the merging of institutions, public procurement, health services, education, increasing the provision of electronic services and increasing the participation of the disabled in the economy.
  • IMF reports and assessments of Iceland, as well as domestic reports about Iceland etc.
  • OECD reports, such as the Economic Survey of Iceland, Government at a glance, Public governance Reviews of other countries, Education at a glance, Health at a glance etc.
  • Documents from the Althing, such as ministries' answers to questions, parliamentary bills, opinions of committees, acts, parliamentary resolutions etc.
  • Report of the Special Investigation Commission of the Althing into the processes leading to the collapse of the Icelandic banks in 2008.
  • The parliamentary committee's report on the report of the Special Investigation Commission of the Althing and documents related to it, such as the parliamentary resolution on the Parliament's response to the 2010 Report of the Special Investigation Commission of the Althing. 
  • Checklist of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for the evaluation of projects, which the ministry and institutions carry out or plan to undertake. 
  • Charting a Growth Path for Iceland. Report by McKinsey & Company from 2012.
  • Documents related to possible changes in the tasks of specific ministries 
  • A report that was compiled for the Ministry of Culture and Education in 2009 under the title of  “Education, Research and Innovation Policy – A new direction for Iceland.”,%20research%20and%20innovation%20policy.%20Sk%C3%BDrsla%20erlendrar%20s%C3%A9rfr%C3%A6%C3%B0inefndar%20ma%C3%AD%202009_2088871179.pdf
  • New vision. Proposed changes in the scientific and innovation system.
  • Appraisal of changes in the Danish university and research system from 2009.
  • Recommendations for the merging of police agencies
  • Proposed changes in the organisation of district commissioner offices.
  • Committee report on the strengthening of the police force and law enforcement in Iceland.
  • The e-nation, National strategy for an information society
  • Working group's report on the management of government registers
  • Boosting of local government level. and
  • Administrative bodies' appraisals in the field of welfare.
  • Restructuring of hospital services in the south west.
  • Report on restructuring the social security system.
  • Analysis of the 2008 Health Insurance bill. Boston Consulting Group report on healthcare system reforms.
  • Recommendations on the organisation of healthcare services and the allocation of funds.
  • Committee proposals on healthcare in the greater Reykjavik area from 2009. (Not accessible online.)
  • Health policy.
  • Welfare policy.
  • Appraisal of the cost of medication in health insurance,  2012.
  • Fiscal policy draft bill.
  • Report of working group on the government selling of its holdings in companies and government-owned financial undertakings' selling of holdings in companies.
  • The government's general ownership policy in public limited companies and collective partnerships.
  • Working group's recommendations regarding manager's working environment.
  • Results of survey on attitudes of state managers.
  • Report on joined-up government.
  • Report on reshaping the support framework of the economy.
  • Report on changing the organisation of environmental institutions: National parks and protected areas. (Not accessible online) 
  • Report on changing the organisation of environmental institutions: The National Planning Agency and the Environment Agency of Iceland. (Not accessible online)
  • Analysis of the foundation of the Ministry of Industries and Innovation and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources.
  • Analysis from January 2010 evaluating the possibility of further integration in the execution of the tasks of the institutions under the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. (Not accessible online)
  • Ideas for changes in the development of institutions under the Ministry of the Environment from June 2009. (not accessible online).
  • Boston Consulting Group report on the future of Icelandic tourism.