Att fördela bistånd : Om handläggningsprocessen inom äldreomsorgen
Sammanfattning: The aim of this dissertation is to illustrate the manner in which assistance is distributed to the elderly according to the social services law in Sweden. It will focus on the processing officers/"street-level bureaucrats" who have been assigned, based on their profession, the task of assessing and deciding about the distributing of assistance. Central issues include the manner in which process officers go about their assignement and how their actual performance appears in comparision with the prescribed course of action. The dissertation´s starting pionts are in part, the legal regulations in the form of the social service law´s material and procedural rules, and in part the role as street-level bureaucrat and the construction of the client. The data which forms the basis for the conclusions of the dissertation consists of four studies conducted during the period 1995-2001. The first investigation - The Sundsvall study - is explorative and gives a first insight into how the process officers act and document the processing of a case. The process officers study is a national investigation with process officers from 27 municipalities. This second study focuses on the various ways to organise the handling process, and how these may influence the finding for assistance. The documentation study is also a national investigation of 29 municipalities. In this third study the written documentation of the case handling process is primarily exposed. Focus groups comprise the final sorce of data in which a group of processors in tree municipalities discuss their work. The process officers in the focus group describe several usual situations. With support from the various investigations, a picture appears which does not agree with prescribed course of action according to the legislation. What appears instead is a pattern of action which probably already existed before we began this work and which likely continues. This pattern of action has as we have established two faces, one of which constitutes an informal process where the actual construction of the "help-seeker" take place. Whitin the frame for this aspect, the so-called "service catalouge" has a decisive meaning, which in it´s own way is directed towards satisfying primarely physical and medical needs. The other "face" displays the formalised expresson of the informal process. This formal expression does not reveal all that is going on, only chosen elements. The action that we have found are institutionalized as an officially sanctioned institution since the practice is widely accepted and legitimized. The public intstitution is therefore built upon a pattern of action that consists both of formal rule, but primarily standards and routines which in many regards occur outside the formal rules. The consequences of a pattern of action that has been institutionalized and legitimized affects those seeking help who do not receive the individual assessment that they have a right to according to the law.
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