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Discretion in the “Backyard of Law”: Case Handling of Debt Relief in Sweden

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Bengt Larsson
Bengt Jacobsson
Publicerad i Professions and Professionalism
Volym 3
Nummer/häfte 1
ISSN 1893-1049
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper
Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Centrum för Europaforskning (CERGU)
Språk en
Länkar https://journals.hioa.no/index.php/...
https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/136339
Ämnesord new public management, street-level bureaucracy, welfare profes-sionals, discretion, debt relief
Ämneskategorier Sociologi

Sammanfattning

This article explores discretion in welfare professional work. The aim is to analyse what room for discretionary decision-making that exist in case handling of debt relief at the Swedish Enforcement Authority (SEA). The analysis is guided by a conceptual distinction between structural and epistemic aspects of discretion, as well as between substantive and procedural aspects. The data comprises official and internal SEA documents, interviews with management and staff and field notes from observations. The analysis points to a change in the balance between standards and discretion in relation to the on-going formalization of case handling at the SEA, though not in the simplistic sense that discretion is diminished through formalization. When taking into account the different analytical aspects of discretion, it is concluded that discretion is narrowed only in some respects. There is still space for case officers in selecting and interpreting information and assess-ing the conditions regarding subject matter.

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