English summaries

Rapportsøk

The implementation of Jeg Vet and Snakkemedbarn.no

In 2015 Bufdir began a process of developing two digital learning resources with the aim to prevent and uncover violence and abuse of children and young persons. The resources are named “Jeg Vet” and “snakkemedbarn.no” and are directed at children and youth in child day care centres all up until upper secondary school level, and at adults working with children and youth in front-line services in the municipalities respectively. Fafo carries out a process evaluation of the two resources. In the first report (Weiss & Strand 2020) we assessed the background of the two learning tools. In this second report we take a closer look at the implementation of the learning resources.

Our findings suggest that the actual use of the two resources is low. An important point of departure for the evaluation of the implementation is to map out what factors that prevent the tools from being used more, and to address why the low use may be linked to the implementation process or to other factors.

In this report we look at different aspects of the implementation process for the period between 2018 and 2021. We look at the implementation plans and the extent to which they have been carried out, we assess the experience of different actors in the implementation process, and we identify difficulties with the implementation process so far. At the end of the report, we outline some suggestions on how to continue the implementation process.

The primary aim of the report is to assess the implementation process of Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no, and a secondary aim is to contribute with knowledge on how Bufdir may further develop their work on supporting complex implementation processes where different actors, operating on different organizational levels and within different disciplines are involved.

In chapter 2 we outline the analytical framework of the report. This builds on scientific literature about governance (“styring og samordning”) in public sector. Violence and abuse of children is a social problem that may be understood as a so called “wicked problem”, where different welfare actors have an ownership to parts of the problem, without anyone owning the whole problem area. The sectorial division of the welfare state, where different disciplines and services are divided into separated “silos” challenges the welfare services directed at children, youth, and their families, especially in the cases where more services are required at the same time.

Network governance (“samstyring”) may be a way to approach difficulties with cross-sectoral collaboration within public services. Network governance entails that different actors, with different problem understandings, through dialogue, negotiations and collaboration seek joint solutions to joint problems. A challenge with network governance is to coordinate different actors, operating with different institutional logics. The “coordination staircase” (“samordningstrappen”) (Difi 2014) is a framework for how cross-sectoral collaboration processers may develop fruitfully through network governance. The staircase also points out which preconditions that must be in place to achieve cross-sectoral collaboration.

We use different data sources and methods in the evaluation of the implementation, as outlined in chapter 3. We have carried out several qualitative data collections: including 29 interviews with different persons involved in the development of the two learning resources; observations of 11 digital meetings, both planning meetings, status meeting and dialogue meetings; as well as observation of 3 information meetings between the county governor and RVTS (Regional resource centre on violence, traumatic stress and suicide prevention) and region Midt and Nord, as well as municipalities within these regions. We have also observed 7 digital course leader courses carried out by RVTS Midt, RVTS Nord and RVTS Øst, with an emphasis on snakkemedbarn.no. In addition, we have had several conversations with the editor and co-workers in Gyldendal publisher that works with the Salaby digital learning platform.

Furthermore, we have gone through existing documents including white papers, official reports (NOUer), different strategy reports, allocation letters (“tildelingsbrev”), budgets as well as the existing implementation plans for the two learning resources. In addition, we have had access to some of the internal communication between Bufdir and some of the actors. We have also reviewed the content of the digital learning platforms Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no.

We have also carried out a survey directed at employees and leaders in child day care centres and schools where we have mapped the actual use of Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no and assessed the effect of the learning tools. In this report we present the survey findings from the use of the tools. The rest of the survey findings will be presented in the next report. In the survey we achieved a response from 1001 persons in child day care centres and schools, where a majority worked in child day care centres (54 percent) and the rest in schools. Very few of the respondents worked in upper secondary school (only 65 persons).

Findings from the survey suggests that the use of the digital learning tools is low (see chapter 4). About 45 percent of respondents knew about snakkemedbarn.no, but only 21 percent had actually used the tool. For Jeg Vet the numbers were even lower, almost a third of the respondents had heard about the tool but merely 7 percent had used Jeg Vet. This suggests that the work that had been carried out with the implementation had not resulted in the tools being used to the extent that Bufdir wished for. Knowledge of the tools were highest amongst staff and leaders in child day care centres, and in primary school. The use of Jeg Vet was very low in secondary school, and hardly non existing in upper secondary school, according to the survey findings.

In the next chapters of the report, we go through plans for implementation, and we look at the extent to which the plans have been carried out. We first do this for Jeg Vet and then for snakkemedbarn.no before we eventually assess the implementation of the two tools together.

Bufdir carried out a thorough mapping exercise before the development of Jeg Vet (see chapter 5). Three conditions for a successful implementation were then identified: cross-sectoral collaboration, anchoring with the right actors, and the development of a high-quality digital learning resource. We find in the evaluation that despite the thorough implementation plan, the work fails in the actual carrying out of the implementation plan. For example, it was deemed decisive for a successful implementation of Jeg Vet to engage Udir and the schools in the work with the implementation. This did not materialise. The collaboration on the implementation is reduced to a limited number of actors, failing to achieve the necessary anchoring with a wide range of actors. Salaby, the digital platform of Gyldendal publisher, is directed at child day care centres and primary schools. The establishment of Jeg Vet on this platform may therefore have prevented the tool from spreading to secondary and upper secondary school levels.

For snakkemedbarn.no a substantial work effort was invested in the development of the actual tool, where less effort was put into developing an implementation plan (see chapter 6). All RVTS offices were given the responsibility of implementation of snakkemedbarn.no in the early phase of the process. The implementation was carried out regionally, with a focus on implementation in single child day care centres and single schools. Later the county governor was also included in the implementation process, and they held dialogue meetings with municipalities. We find that there seem to be diverging ideas around the implementation of snakkemedbarn.no. On the one side RVTS promote a “train the trainers” model, on the other side they promote snakkemedbarn.no as a digital resource that requires no or little pre-knowledge and therefore may be spread more “organically”, without an overarching implementation plan. RVTS were central in the development of snakkemedbarn.no and in the first implementation phase. It appears somewhat undecided what role RVTS should have in the continuation of the implementation process.

In chapter 7 we look at the implementation of the two learning resources jointly. We identify three main strategies for the implementation of Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no. The first two are so-called “top-down” strategies. This entails the RVTS strategy of carrying out course leader courses and the county governor and RVTS collaboration on carrying out dialogue meetings where the knowledge of the resources is anchored in a larger work on preventing and uncovering violence and abuse of children into municipality strategy plans. We also point at a potential third “bottom-up” strategy, where Gyldendal publisher, the owner of the Salaby platform, are given a wider mandate to spread the knowledge bout Jeg Vet to schools and child day care centres. This strategy may potentially be an underexplored resource in the implementation strategy for Jeg Vet.

In the early phase of the implementation process it was assumed that the two resources were going to be implemented jointly. This strategy was not carried out in practice, because it was deemed challenging to convey the content of Jeg Vet when this resource is presented together with snakkemedbarn.no. Vi also find that there are considerable coordination challenges in carrying out joint plans for the implementation of the two resources at the same time.

In the last chapter of the report, we assess some of the challenges related to the implementation of the two learning resources, considering the analytical framework presented in chapter 2. The aim is to shed light on some of the barriers preventing successful implementation, as well as pointing out more general points on how Bufdir may further develop their contribution in supporting complex implementation processes where several actors and different governance levels are involved.

The aim of both tools has been to strengthen the competence on violence and abuse of children and youth, and to strengthen the competence of adults to talk to children and young people about violence and abuse. In a tripartition of the concept of competence (Røsdal mfl 2019) it is pointed out that to strengthen the knowledge on violence and abuse it is necessary to improve the understanding of this phenomenon, to improve competence on responses and referral in the meeting with violence and abuse and to improve the competence on cooperation. We find that the two learning tools improve the competence on the first two areas, it is however little in the two tools themselves that contribute to improve competence on collaboration. A possible strategy to enhance this competence is through a more explicit focus on cross-sectional collaboration in the implementation of the learning resources.

Violence and abuse of children and young may be understood as a “wicked problem”, which has complex causes mutually influencing each other, and where the responsibility for solving the problem lies within several sectors, services, and governance levels within the welfare bureaucracy. The different actors are characterised by different institutional logics, challenging the “silos” of the welfare state. The different institutional logics will interact with (and prefer) different governance models. A directorate typically will have an institutional logic leaning towards a goal- and result steering logic, concentrating its efforts on the tasks the department’s performance is measured against. Furthermore, actors with different institutional logics may also have a different view on research and knowledge. A directorate may have a preference for theoretical or evidence-based knowledge, where the aim is to spread knowledge on “what works” based on a form of evidence-based approach, spreading knowledge of a more general character, that may be distributed “globally” to all forms of contexts. This view on knowledge stands in a contrast to the knowledge of front-line services which to a greater extent are leaning on a more practical view on knowledge, where the knowledge on “what works” are based on experience, dialogue with users, reflection, professional discretion, and local practices. An underlying challenge in the implementation of Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no is therefore that the knowledge on “what works” is not necessarily the same for all actors involved. A form evidence-based knowledge will first come into effect if it is interpreted, understood, and implemented within the framework of actors with a more practical view on knowledge. Our interpretation is that a deeper understanding of the different institutional logics and the associated different views on knowledge among the involved actors has been given little attention in the implementation process. We think however that there are some rudiments to such an approach within the dialogue meetings between the county governor, RVTS and the municipalities.

We refer to Difi (2014) and the collaboration staircase to illustrate how a so-called “wicked problem” may be solved through network governance within public sector. We find tat the implementation of Jeg Vet and snakkemedbarn.no does not follow the steps in the staircase. An essential challenge is that one has not during the implementation process manged to generate joint aims for the implementation for all the actors involved (ref. step 3). To achieve this level of collaboration it is necessary to be conscious of the different institutional logics among the actors within the field one is operating. This applies to the relationship between Bufdir and the municipalities, but also between the different directorates like Bufdir and Udir.

At the end of the report, we come with a few recommendations on how to enhance the implementation process. We point out that it is necessary to make a clarification on the different roles of the actors involved in the implementation work, that it would be useful to think more about collaboration in the implementation process, and that a potentially good strategy to achieve this is through a further development of the dialogue meetings. Collaboration at a cross-directorate level also needs a further clarification. It should also be made more explicit plans for how the implementation should reach the oldest age group, namely youth in secondary and upper secondary schools. Lastly, we recommend a thorough review of the use of Salaby as a digital platform, including an assessment of how this implementation track may be developed further.

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