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Applying standardisation tools in social work practice from the perspectives of social workers, managers, and politicians: a Swedish case study
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Social Work. Department of Social Work, Linneaus University, Växjö, Sweden.
Department of Social Sciences, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Stockholm, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article reports findings from a case study of the practical application of a standardisation tool in everyday social work practice. The example tool used herein is the Swedish version of the UK-based Integrated Children's System, which in Sweden is known as Children's Needs in Focus (Barns Behov i Centrum; BBIC). The study analyses group and individual interviews with social workers, managers and politicians using concepts from implementation research and the micro-sociological concept of accounts. The findings demonstrate how participants describe and explain their deviations from the BBIC manual and from the more informal intentions of the tool. Such deviations are conditioned by the fact that professionals often employ their own discretion in their work, which is necessarily inherent in human service occupations such as social work. Although the BBIC was initially well received, the professionals describe how that reception eventually turned to scepticism and a more critical stance toward the manual. This can be attributed to both absence of significant necessary implementation conditions and key organisational factors as well as a lack of compatibility between the tool's construction and users' needs and expectations. This article also discusses the general socio-technical and organisational implications of these findings.

Abstract [sv]

Denna artikel rapporterar resultat från en fallstudie av den praktiska tillämpningen av ett standardiseringsverktyg i socialt arbete. Det verktyg som används som exempel är den svenska versionen av det engelska Integrated Children’s System (ICS), i Sverige kallat Barns Behov i Centrum (BBIC). Studien analyserar grupp- och individuella intervjuer med socialarbetare, chefer och politiker utifrån begrepp hämtade från implementeringsforskning och det mikrosociologiska begreppet accounts. Resultatet visar hur deltagarna beskriver och förklarar avvikelser från BBIC-manualen och från de mer informella intentionerna med verktyget. Sådana avvikelser är betingade av det faktum att yrkesverksamma ofta använder sig av sitt diskretionära handlingsutrymme, något som av nödvändighet utgör en del av människobehandlande professioner såsom socialt arbete. Trots att BBIC initialt togs emot positivt i organisationen, beskriver professionella hur de efterhand blev mer skeptiska och fick en mer kritisk hållning till verktyget. Detta kan bero på avsaknaden av viktiga villkor för implementering samt bristfällig kompatibilitet mellan verktygets konstruktion och användarnas behov och förväntningar. I artikeln diskuteras även resultatens socio-tekniska och organisatoriska implikationer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018.
Keywords [en]
Social work; standardisation tools; Integrated Children’s System; discretionary space; domain theory; accounts
Keywords [sv]
Socialt arbete; standardiseringsverktyg; Integrated Children’s System; handlingsutrymme; domänteori; accounts
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41946DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2018.1540409Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85055870374OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-41946DiVA, id: diva2:1259739
Note

Svensk titel: "Användning av standardiseringsverktyg i socialt arbete ur socialarbetares, chefers och politikers perspektiv: En svensk fallstudie"

Available from: 2018-10-30 Created: 2018-10-30 Last updated: 2019-02-06

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