En socialtjänst med kvalitet? Öppna jämförelser som skyltfönster och verktyg
Sammanfattning: Social work with quality? Public Comparisons as show-window and tool Auditing, evaluations, rankings and performance measurements of the public sector are often presented as tools to ensure accountability, improvement, quality and transparancy in publicly funded organizations. One such tool is called "Public Comparisons" (Öppna jämförelser), a Swedish publicly reported measurement of quality in social work. The aim of this study was to examine "Public Comparisons", and what kind of 'knowledge' and 'truth' it conveys. Furthermore, the aim was to examine how professionals in social work perceive and relate to this 'knowledge'. The study was conducted by analyzing official documents in which "Public Comparisons" is described, explained and carried out to the professionals, such as policy documents, questionnaires, manuals and charts. Also, qualitative interviews were conducted with seven professionals working in six different municipalities in southern Sweden. The respondents all had experience of using "Public Comparisons". The empirical data was analyzed with a constructionist approach. The findings of the study suggest that in contrast to a view of quality as vague and elusive, quality in "Public Comparisons" is regarded as a property that can be defined, quantified and objectively measured. Apart from a small number of deviating statements, the documents present "Public Comparisons" as a reliable tool, with which it is possible to measure and thereby trigger improvement of quality in social work. The professionals perceive "Public Comparisons" as a way by which state authorities can express what kind of quality is 'good' or 'right'. Some professionals agree with the documents' definition of quality, while others are more sceptical. Scepticism towards the documents' definition of quality is often based on the impression that the quality indicators target form rather than substance.
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