Strengthening social self-administration - making organisation more efficient

The self-administration of social insurance must be strengthened in its autonomy and made more efficient. It ensures that the social insurance institutions are not administered by the state, but by representatives of the insured and employers as contributors, legitimised through social elections. Its basic structures have proved their worth for over 100 years, but are in need of reform.

The autonomy of the social insurance institutions has been increasingly curtailed in recent years by a growing state influence on social insurance. In order for insured persons and employers to be able to responsibly and actively shape the social insurance schemes they finance, this trend must be reversed. This is the only way to ensure the necessary distance from the state. At the same time, a strategy must be developed to improve administrative efficiency.
In 2008, the Federal Ministry of Labour published the expert opinion "History and Modernisation of Social Security Elections", in which some modernisation proposals were already outlined.

Further Information

The BDA has intensively accompanied the legislative initiative for the modernisation of social insurance elections in dialogue with the Federal Ministry of Labour and has submitted its proposals for change.

Further information

Insert control board
In order to strengthen the administrative efficiency of the social insurance institutions, a new cross-agency steering board should be set up, in which the social partners (BDA and DGB), the federal ministries involved (BMAS and BMG) and the managing directors of the umbrella organisations of the individual social insurance branches participate.
In order to identify cost drivers in administration, administrative costs in social insurance should be recorded across all institutions and published in a detailed annual report. Selected tasks should be centralised, if possible, and duplicate structures should be abolished. Management tools such as benchmarking and controlling should be further developed. Digitalisation must be advanced, for which a functioning infrastructure must be created as a first step. The procurement of goods and services could be standardised and bundled.
Extend design rights
The rights of social self-administration to shape policy must be extended where it makes sense to do so. The areas of responsibility of the legislature, ministerial bureaucracy and social self-government must be properly delimited. To this end, the state should confine itself to enacting framework legislation and leave the concrete shaping of this legislation to the self-administration. In future, health and long-term care insurance funds must once again be able to conclude management contracts on their own responsibility. The appointment of full-time managing directors of social insurance funds must be the exclusive responsibility of self-government. Unemployment insurance with self-administration also acts in its own right vis-à-vis ministries and is not a subordinate service authority.
Introduce new board model
The very different organisation of self-government in the individual branches of social insurance should be replaced by a uniform administrative board model. The current dual structure of the board of directors and the representatives' assembly in pension and accident insurance leads to unnecessary multiple referrals to bodies dealing with the same issues. Moreover, sufficient coordination and agreement between the two bodies can hardly be guaranteed. The reform of self-governance in health and unemployment insurance has shown that leaner structures lead to greater efficiency and thus better control.

important dates

Every six years, social elections take place at the statutory health insurance, pension insurance and accident insurance institutions. On 31 May 2017, the members of the self-governing bodies were elected for the twelfth time. Information on the work of the elected persons in the self-governing bodies can be found at

16. July 2023

Social self-government

19. November 2020

Voluntary standardisation