The National Social Appeals Board was established in 1973 as a government agency under The Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration.
The National Social Appeals Board is an administrative authority with judicial powers. The Board is an independent body, and thus not constrained by instructions or opinions from authorities or other bodies on individual case handling and decision-making.
The main tasks of The National Social Appeals Board are:
- To decide complaints as the supreme administrative complaints authority in cases covering the wide area of legislation on social matters and employment
- To safeguard citizens' legal protection by coordinating practice at the national level, i.e. to ensure that similar cases are decided similarly - irrespective of where in Denmark a citizen lives
- To communicate knowledge on political developments in social matters through e.g. analyses and statistics
The Board handles assignments from several ministerial policy areas under The Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration, The Ministry of Employment, The Danish Ministry of Justice, The Danish Ministry of Taxation, The Ministry of Children and Education, etc.
All decisions are made at meetings in which appointed members participate. Appointed members participate in the decision-making to ensure that, while legal provisions are observed, decisions must also take into account the general population's perception of the matters. Appointed members do not sit as representatives of stakeholders, but as lay people.
Appointed members represent the population widely. Following their nomination by the social partners' central associations, the Danish Council of Organisations of Disabled People as well as local and regional authorities, they are appointed by the Minister for Social Affairs.
Medical consultants holding expert knowledge on case aspects also sit in on meetings, but have no voting rights.
Case handling of complaints by the National Social Appeals Board
National Social Appeals Board cases can be divided into two main groups:
- Cases in which the Board is the complaints body of first instance. These primarily relate to industrial injuries.
- Cases in which the Board is the complaints body of second instance. These are decisions made in accordance with social or employment legislation by regional social boards or cases which in the Board's view are of principle or general importance. These cases fall within the following legal areas: the Social Assistance Act, the Act on Social Services, the Consolidation Act on Legal Protection and Administration in Social Matters, the Act on an Active Social Policy, the Act on an Active Labour Market Policy, the Act on Benefits in the event of Illness or Childbirth, the Act on Integration of Refugees and Immigrants, the Consolidation Act on Child Benefits and Advance Payment of Child Support, the Consolidation Act on Individual Housing Benefits, the Repatriation Act, etc.
Practice coordination and guidelines
In addition to making specific decisions in complaint cases, the National Social Appeals Board is charged with the core task of ensuring that national practices are as similar as possible. The National Social Appeals Board attaches importance to ensuring that, where similar conditions exist, local and regional authorities and social boards make the correct decisions and treat all citizens similarly.
The most important tool to ensure this is the dissemination of the National Social Appeals Board's decisions of principle importance. Decisions of principle are distributed as ´Principafgørelser´ - and are binding sources of law for the authorities making decisions in the legal spheres of social matters and employment.
Every year the National Social Appeals Board distributed around 250 ´Principafgørelser´. This website gives access to the Database of ´Principafgørelser´, comprising more than 2,000 decisions of principle. The Database is managed by The National Social Appeals Board.
As an aspect of practice coordination, the National Social Appeals Board compiles statistics on decisions under the social legislation as well as for other studies and analyses.
The National Social Appeals Board's Department of Analysis conducts studies, analyses and chartings of social policy activities based on data provided by the authorities entrusted with local performance of social tasks.
The aim is to allow the commissioning body constantly and precisely to monitor developments in the field of social policy, including implementation of new legislation in local and regional authorities, and to allow speedy provision of the necessary data for the Government's and the Danish parliament's work. Data is compiled in the Database of Principafgørelser.
Associated appeals boards
The National Social Appeals Board acts as secretariat to several independent appeals boards. They can all be contacted if you need more information about any of the board including how to complain to a board.
The appeals boards work independently of the National Social Appeals Board in deciding individual cases.
The chairmen of the individual boards hold the professional responsibility of the secretariat's processing and decision-making in relation to individual cases in their fields of responsibility.
The Boards publishes its decisions in an anonymized form. Everybody can subscribe freely to publications (in Danish) from the Board.
The appeals boards are:
The National Social Appeals Board´s Employment Committee
The National Social Appeals Board´s Employment Committee considers complaints about decisions made by the Employment Appeal Board of the regional state administrations.
The board considers cases of fundamental or general public importance and can make decisions in cases about:
- cash assistance
- job activation
- flexible working arrangements
- daily cash benefits
The Board of Equal Treatment
The Board deals with complaints related to discrimination based on gender, race, colour, religion or belief, political views, sexual orientation, age, disability or national, social or ethnic origin. Outside the labour market, the Board deals with complaints related to discrimination based on race, ethnic origin or gender.
Any citizen can file a complaint to the Board of Equal Treatment and it is free to file a complaint. If you are a member of a trade union, special conditions may apply. Please contact your trade union or the secretariat of the Board in case of questions.
The Board is composed of three judges and nine members who have a law degree and who have expert knowledge about labour market regulations and discrimination.
Working Environment Appeals Board
The Board hears complaints under the act on occupational health and safety.