Ole Petter Askheim – Department of Health and Social Work, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway Peter Beresford – Department of Health and Human Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, UK; Department of Clinical Sciences, Brunel Cecilia Heule – School of Social Work, Lund University, Lund, Sweden...
Service User organizations in Norway
There are an increasing number of user organizations in Norway. The organizations of disabled people have the longest history. Already in 1950 an umbrella organization of organizations of disabled people was established. Today more than 70 organizations representing more than 330 000 members are collected beneath this “umbrella”.
However, two of the biggest organizations, The Association for Persons with Physical Impairments and The Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities are standing outside the umbrella organization. Later, organizations for persons with mental health problems and drug problems have been established.
Historically the relationship between the user organizations and the state authorities has been characterized by dialogue and a high degree of harmony. Representatives for the organizations have been important actors in public committees and hearings. Such corporative marks are often described in literature as a characteristic with the Nordic welfare states. However, the organization “The Alliance for the welfare State” is recently established with a more distinct opposition against the authorities. Among its members are more than 30 trade unions, user organizations and other organizations.
Its goal is to fight privatization, de-regulation and market liberalism and to keep up a strong public welfare sector.
NORWEGIAN NATIONAL NETWORK
In May 2012 a Norwegian Network to promote user involvement in Social work education was established. The network is a national branch of PowerUs. Participants at the network meeting were representatives for many of the universities and university colleges educating social workers and representatives for the user organisations. A working committee for the network was elected and a web page for the network will be established in the near future where information from different projects will be collected. Contact person for the network is Liv Altmann at Lillehammer University College: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the cooperation with the organizers, established in November last year, the undersigned has focused on guidance and competence raising for the facilitators throughout the spring semester. A sub-goal in the work of the Project Group for co-production / user involvement in the social and health education programs in Sogn og Fjordane will thus be to create a mentor program proposal for the strategy platform. Based on the experience that has been done with the user experience facilitators, a proposal for a mentor program will be prepared from ‘user’ to ‘user’. We want to continue and develop a mentor practice to ensure the strengthening of experience perspectives and to facilitate the safe integration (between the theory and experience perspectives) of competence dissemination. We aim to establish a practice that can be inherited, where inclusion, rooting, competence raising and strengthening of current and future users in HVL is a priority.
Ole Petter Askheim:
«Meeting Face to Face Creates New Insights»: Recruiting Persons with User Experiences as students in an Educational Programme in Social Work. Social Work Education 2012, col. 31, no. 5, pp. 557-569.