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FORSA/NOUSA-konferencenFORSA/NOUSA-konferencen

Decisions, Outcome & Change. Nordisk konference om de beslutninger, socialrådgivere og sagsbehandlere træffer og beslutningernes betydning for mennesker med sociale problemer, forvaltningerne og lovgivningen.

FORSA NOUSA konferenceDen nordiske FORSA/NOUSA-konferencen 2016 Decisions, Outcome & Change i socialt arbejde blev afholdt på Institut for Socialt Arbejde, Metropol.

Arrangører:  
Formand: Frank Cloyd Ebsen Metropolitan University College
Formand: Anna Metteri University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, Department of Social Sciences

Helle Ingrid Strauss Metropolitan University College
Helle Rode Johansen Metropolitan University College
Ida Marie Schrøder Metropolitan University College
Jonas Kirkegaard Ørnbøl Metropolitan University College
Bente Vibeke Lauridsen VIA University College
Louise Harkes Metropolitan University College

Conference themes

Social work is a highly dynamic practice that aims to generate positive outcomes for individuals as well as communities and Society. Social workers have to make decisions about what to do when children are maltreated or when unemployed people apply for benefits and seek help to get a job. Social workers often don’t know exactly what will help. They have to make decisions within the possibilities and constraints set by the law and financial conditions in municipalities. 

They have to talk to families, adults, children, some with disabilities, and make decisions within a short space of time. They have to gather information from a variety of sources, put them together, and make an assessment.

This complexity is often viewed as a rational pipeline by the law, in spite of the fact that decisions in practice are often taken by social workers using their intuition which builds on their knowledge and experiences.

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Social workers are embedded in organizations - often a department in a municipality. Organizations frame and translate ideas from the law and other sources about the directions local social work should take. They distribute resources and authority and monitor the actions of their members. This last element is a central focus in New Public Management, though it may be changing due to evaluations pointing at the cost and unintended consequences of such practices. 

Outcomes and impacts are key ingredients when organizations and social workers make decisions. Do the citizens (clients, users) benefit as expected? An important element during the last two decades has been evidence based efforts to know what works? Often followed by ” for whom? and under what circumstances”? A vital aspect of this is how social workers and social work organizations can know whether outcomes in their work and in their organization are better than treatment as usual. 

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Eileen Munro

Frank Ebsen

Minna Kivipelto

Bente Kojan

Jenny Nybom

This also raises the important issue about how to establish an evidence base or knowledge base for local practice. These three tracks will characterize the FORSA/NOUSA conference 2016: How do and how can social workers make decisions which benefit individuals and society? And how do laws and financial conditions impede or contribute to making relevant improvements in clients’ lives? 

How do and how can social work organizations improve decision-making in social work? How can they translate legal and community discourses in an accountable way so they match the aims of social policies? How do social workers and social work organizations gain insights into how theirefforts lead to improvement? 

How can change be measured? And how can experiences with evidence based methods contribute to decision-making practices in social work? The conference aims to attract presentations which discuss the matters in relation to research, practice as well as education. Good examples on how social work education contributes to developing social workers’ competences will be appreciated. 

Decisions are a vital aspect of social work. It is the point in which all information about the individual is concentrated and used. The decision point reflects the social worker’s ability to sort out information, make a judgement and act. The decision is crucial to the individual who is seeking assistance or is referred to the social department for further action. It can be decisions taken according to the law or maltreatment of a child or disabled adult. Decisions can be taken once and for all or they can be taken in small pieces one following the other. What the conference hope to shed light on is how to understand decisions and how different kinds of information and situations influence the way they turn out. A special issue will be to discuss social worker’s competences and ability to make decisions, and how these issues are treated in social worker’s education in the Nordic countries. 

Outcome. Decisions can be seen as an outcome of processes in social work. An interesting point is how they contribute to improvements in the life of citizens as well as to solutions to social problems. How is it possible to gain information of the outcome of social work and how is it or can it be used? A lot of efforts has been put into developing and disseminate evidence based programmes but what do we know of how it has improved the outcomes in local setting and society as a whole? What can be emphasized as important lessons from this strategy and how can it be developed and maybe complemented? 

Change. We have put in the word change in the title of the conference because all kinds of social work aim at change – at the individual level, the local level and in society as a whole. Social work is influenced and affected by changes in society and influence the changes. In these times all Nordic countries are dealing with refugees which will change social work and will be changed by social workers. A lot of decisions has to be taken and social workers ability to develop solutions will be tested. The conference invite to contribute with examples of these or similar changes and if possible hope to put them in the perspective of decisions at all levels.

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