The New Norwegian Work and Welfare Administration. Knowledge sharing and cooperation.
Dep. of Sociology, Social work and Welfare Studies University of Agder, Norway Kristiansand, Norway
The 1st. of July 2006 a new reform was born. The welfare administration in Norway went through a major reformprosess starting with establishment of one office in every county of the country as a pilot office. Workfare, pension and social services were put together into one organization. This reform is supposed to be fulfilled by January 2010. The goal for this reform is to give the user a better and easier way into the jungle of laws and system requirements to help them obtain what their rights.
This is a major reform. 16000 people were employed in the former work and welfare organisation. In addition there were a high number of social workers going to be integrated into the reformed organisation.
When so many people are going to cooperate on basis of their knowledge and experience from different areas of the welfare society, it is important to see and listen to the other professionals and users in order to make a decision.
Decisions are made on the basis of theoretical knowledge, but also on the background of experience made from similar instances. In order to make the right decision, professionals are to use a combination of rules and regulations, laws, judicial assessment and their own discretion. Both the practise of discretion and theoretical knowledge has to be used to obtain the most accurate decision for the person in question.
In this paper the focus is on how to make new knowledge through cooperation. Different professions have different adjustment to different situations. How can they learn from each other in order to make the best decision for the user of the social welfare? In this process tacit knowledge and discretion is important and the question here is;
Can different ways of discretion give benefit to the user and how do we exercise this discretion?