The report from 2008 Evidence-based practice in social services – to the benefit of the operator (SOU 2008: 18) states that the knowledge base in the social services in Sweden are undeveloped and that social service is not enough conducted on the basis of knowledge of the effect of different actions, approaches and methods. This report, among other reports and studies, has formed a starting point for a far-reaching effort to develop social work that is now taking place in Sweden. This effort towards a strengthened knowledge development and a so-called “evidence-based practice” (EBP) in Swedish Social Work practice are stated by the Swedish government (Social Ministry) and the organization for Local Authorities and Regions (SKL).
In a study conducted during 2009-2011 this intervention is studied. The study includes interviews and informal discussions with actors at national and regional level, Involvement in and observations of conferences, meetings and seminars as well as text and document analysis.
The study analyzes how the Swedish government (Social Ministry) and the organization for Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) carry out the implementation of “the new” knowledge based practice of Social Work. The study tries to clarify ideas, structures and underlying aims of the implementation. The study also stresses questions about how the Swedish social work will develop.
The research shows that how the Social Ministry would like the development is not always what is happening in the local practice. The local practice has it´s on logic and showes a complexity in the understanding and use of knowledge. The use of knowledge for example always seems to depend on its (discursive) context.
The Swedish social work, both in practice and scientifically, are chancing. This reflects today's changing conditions (both organizational and relational, between the individual and society) for welfare production. This situation can be understood as a social phenomenon and as a social construct created by political, economic and social conditions where different groupings with great power and influence has a significant role. This research gives us knowledge about human services organizations and their internal logic and the connection between knowledge, power and control, and today's society with its liberal overtones (cf. NPM and audit society).
Social Work Social Development 2012: Action and Impact 8-12 July 2012, Stockholm, Sweden