The Street-Level Organisation in-between Employer Needs and Client Needs
Creaming Users by Motivation in the Norwegian Employment and Welfare Service (NAV)
- Journal of Social Policy |
Employer engagement is increasingly emphasised in the context of efforts to bring more disadvantaged people into work. A new approach in the Norwegian Employment and Welfare Service (NAV) combines demand-side and supply-side measures in a ‘combined workplace-oriented approach’. Through qualitative interviews with frontline staff – including job coaches following the Supported Employment (SE) method – the paper examines the intermediary role of the street-level organisation (SLO) through the targeted use of SE methods directed at young users and employers. The findings suggest that young users are ‘creamed by motivation’ into the SE programme, which can be explained by the importance the SLO places: on maintaining inter-organisational relationships with employers, on job coaches’ performance goals and the need to uphold an organisational structure in the SLO that seemingly works efficient to shift caseloads of young unemployed into work. Hence, creaming is not specific to outsourcing but can also occur when insourcing employer engagement services into a public SLO. Although relational work directed at both employers and young clients is seen as the benefit of a combined workplace-oriented approach, it appears a rather flimsy foundation for successful ALMPs unless supported by more structural demand-side measures.