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Personal assistance in Norway and Sweden: From difference to convergence?

Ole Petter Askheim, Lillehammer University College, Norway


Within the same welfare state model Norway and Sweden have established very different models for personal assistance. Sweden has developed a model with a strong consumerist profile with extensive rights and choices for the users. In Norway public control with the arrangement has been stronger. The users' rights have been weaker and decisions are left to the discretion of the professionals in the welfare services. Recent political signals in both countries indicate that the models might converge in the future. In Sweden the authorities are worried that the users' rights have become too extensive. Efforts have been made to restrict the users' rights and to make the public control stronger. In Norway the target group for the arrangement has been extended and stronger individual rights to obtain personal assistance are proposed. The paper will clarify the tendencies in the two countries and discuss the consequences - for the arrangement and for the users' control over their assistance.

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