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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 26 March 2024
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


Main public actors

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for policy related to equality and social inclusion. This involves promoting equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and disability. The Ministry of Culture is also responsible for voluntary engagement which is an integral component of almost all policy areas. The following legislation is of importance:

  • Act relating to equality and a prohibition against discrimination, entered into force 1 January 2018.
  • Act relating to the prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression which entered into force on 1 January 2014. This Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and the prohibition applies to all areas of society apart from family life and the private sphere.

The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud is mandated to promote equality and combat discrimination based on, among other things, gender, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, and age. The Ombud gives advice and is a driving force for equality and diversity. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal enforces the statutory prohibitions against discrimination. In June 2019, the Parliament decided to authorise the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to enforce the prohibition against sexual harassment in the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, and to award compensation in cases concerning work-related sexual harassment and certain other instances.

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) is the specialist directorate for equality and non-discrimination under the Ministry of Culture. The directorate develops statistics and indicators, monitors and coordinates national action plans and administers grant schemes for public authorities, municipalities, private actors and voluntary organizations to promote equality and non-discrimination. There are several grants for organisations representing disabled persons and leisure-time initiatives for persons with disabilities. The directorate provides statistics about disabilities in Norway.

The Ministry of Children and Families is responsible for child, youth and family policy, including  measures to ensure that families can feel secure, both financially and socially. The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) is responsible for services relating to children, youth and families on behalf of the Ministry of Children and Families. The directorate develops statistics and indicators on child poverty, a municipal monitoring scheme focused on child poverty, monitors and coordinates national action plans related to children, youth and families, and administers several grant schemes for public authorities, municipalities, private actors and voluntary organizations related to:

  • improving the living conditions of marginalized children and adolescents
  • providing coordinated follow-up services for youth at risk of dropping out of school
  • efforts to counteract and/or mitigate the consequences of poverty among children and adolescents.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion is responsible for welfare policy, including the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, to advance equal opportunities, rights and obligations irrespective of economic or social background. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) administers one third of the national budget through schemes such as unemployment benefits, work assessment allowances, pensions, sickness benefits, child benefits and cash-for-care benefits. The local authorities and central government cooperate through 456 NAV offices in municipalities and city boroughs. Each local authority and NAV agree on what local authority services their office should provide. The services provided by a NAV office will thus vary from local authority to local authority.

The Ministry of Health and Care Services is responsible for providing good and equal health and care services. The ministry directs these services by means of a comprehensive legislation, annual budgetary allocations and through various governmental institutions. One of the goals of the Norwegian Public Health Act is to reduce health inequities. The act mandates the implementation of policies and measures with municipalities and county municipalities to accomplish this goal.  The Directorate of Health is a specialist body both in the areas of public health and living conditions, and health services. The directorate administers grant schemes for public authorities to promote public health among children and young people and to strengthen school health services.

The  Ministry of Education and Research  is responsible for the Governments integration policies and the  Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) is a specialist directorate, an administrative body and the national competence centre responsible for the integration field. It is tasked with strengthening the municipalities, sector authorities, and other collaborative partners’ competence in the field of integration and diversity.

Main non-public actors

Youth organisations contribute to the development of policies in the field of youth social inclusion through their active participation in civil society. They also receive or manage government grants that promote social inclusion among young people. Major organisations include:

Cross-sectoral cooperation

Policymaking for social inclusion is cross-sectoral with emphasis on collaboration and coordination between ministries, local and central authorities, and with the voluntary sector.

The Minister of Culture makes an annual statement to the Parliament on the status of efforts to promote equality and diversity in all sectors. A key equality policy strategy is to integrate the equality perspective into all policy development at central, regional, and local level. Efforts at the central level are additionally influenced by the strategy of sectoral responsibility for equality, which makes each ministry responsible for equality in its field.