Supervision as control systems: the design of supervision as a regulatory instrument in the social services sector in Sweden

Eva Linnea Hämberg

Abstract


In this article, the prevailing official view of supervision as a regulatory instrument is examined as it applies to the social services sector in Sweden. The study is based on a comparison of the views expressed on the design of supervision as a regulatory instrument by two government commissions, the Supervision Commission and the Commission on Supervision within the Social Services (UTIS), and on the positions taken by the Government regarding the definitions of the concept of supervision proposed by these commissions. The view of supervision as a regulatory instrument expressed in these policy documents is analysed with the help of a systems theoretical framework describing the components, functions and governance characteristics of control systems. The framework is summarized in two types of ideal models of control systems, one disciplinary and one non-disciplinary system. The systems are based on different assumptions about how to achieve effective behavioural impact: a top-down and a bottom-up view. Analysis of the policy documents shows that supervision in the social services sector takes the form of both a disciplinary and a non-disciplinary system, but that supervision also contains a purely normative form of governance regardless the idea of supervision as a control system.

 


Full Text: PDF

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413