The Swedish Model in the Post-Financial Crisis Era
Edited by Christina Garsten, Jessica Lindvert and Renita Thedvall
Chapter 3: The dual role of the Public Employment Service: to support and control
Unemployment – and society’s responsibility for the unemployed – has been one of most intensely debated issues in recent years. The debate occurs mainly at a general level, with political and ideological arguments juxtaposed. More rarely discussed is the everyday practical work: the methods used by the Public Employment Service for administrating the flow of people from unemployment into new jobs – labour market policy converted into action. For the individual, unemployment not only means a lack of employment, salary, and a social work context, but also taking on a new role as jobseeker. This is a role that requires that the jobseeker acquire the skills, knowledge and routines expected of him or her. The Public Employment Service and its case officers thus have a central role in supporting and teaching unemployed individuals to look for work – to become jobseekers. It also has a controlling function, since it is the case officers of the Public Employment Service who determine who is employable and who qualifies for unemployment insurance. This chapter looks at how the Public Employment Service’s dual function of both supporting and controlling is evinced in the practical work of the case officers. The focus is on the methods used to translate labour market policy into action through three phases of the jobseeker’s contact with the Public Employment Service: registration, drawing up of an action plan, and the job and development programme.
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