Local Social Services in Nordic countries in Times of Disaster : Report for the Nordic Council of Ministers

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Local Social Services in Nordic countries in Times of Disaster : Report for the Nordic Council of Ministers

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Publication Report
Title Local Social Services in Nordic countries in Times of Disaster : Report for the Nordic Council of Ministers
Author Eydal, Guðný Björk ; Ómarsdóttir, Ingibjörg Lilja ; Cuadra, Carin Björngren ; Dahlberg, Rasmus ; Hvinden, Björn ; Salonen, Tapio ; Rapeli, Merja
Date 2016
English abstract
The project focused on the emergency management systems in the five Nordic countries. It investigated whether local social services have a formal role in the contingency planning of the systems. The project was part of The Nordic Welfare Watch research project during the Icelandic Presidency Program in the Nordic Council of Ministers 2014-2016. The council financed the project. The main findings show that Finland, Norway and Sweden specifically address the role of social services in times of disaster in their legal frameworks on emergency management. Finland and Norway also address the role in the law on social services. In Sweden, the role is more implicit as the social service act applies regardless of circumstances. All countries expect all authorities to make a contingency plan. This means that even if the law in Denmark and Iceland does not address the roles of social services, the services are legally obligated to make contingency plans. Furthermore, Finland, Norway and Sweden have prepared special guidelines on contingency planning for social services. In recent years the Nordic countries have all faced disasters due to natural, technical and man-made hazards. The frequency of such disasters is on the rise according to forecasts. In order to enhance resilience and preparedness of those most vulnerable in disasters, the involvement of local social services in the emergency management system is of vital importance. The literature shows how social services can enhance social and human investment, the citizen’s economic participation and political empowerment. Furthermore, the literature shows that the co-operation between social services and the voluntary sector during the emergency and recovery phases is crucial, and the Red Cross is usually the largest voluntary organization providing social services during disasters in all the countries. The following recommendations build on the results of the project. Their purpose is to make the Nordic Welfare States more resilient and better prepared for future challenges. - There is a need to share knowledge on how to increase the involvement of social services in all phases of emergency management. The guidelines for social services' contingency planning and their plans should be shared across the Nordic countries and among various actors on the state, regional and local levels. This task could also be implemented under the umbrella of the Svalbard Group. - There is a need to make the role of social services known in the emergency management systems, so that the relevant parties can activate the full potential of social services in all phases of the disaster cycle. It is likewise important to inform the social services of emergency management law and organization in order to facilitate effective co-operation in the event of disaster. - It is important to address the role of emergency management in the education of social workers and social carers and enhance disaster research in the social sciences. - It is important to create opportunities for the social services to prepare for future disasters. It is also important to include the social services in emergency management exercises. The exercises might also be extended in scope in order to cover all phases of disasters. Nordic countries could share exercise scenarios involving tasks for the social sector and make use of scenarios already developed. - The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Welfare Center (NVC) should address social sector preparedness issues. Social sector preparedness cooperation should be enhanced under the umbrella of the Nordic Council of Ministers (Svalbard Group) and collaborate closely with the Haga-process. Such high-level co-operation enhances regional and local level co-operation.
Link https://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/velferdarvakt09/Local_Social_Services_in_Times_of_Disaster.pdf .Icon
Publisher Ministry of Welfare, Iceland
ISBN 978-9935-9265-4-8
Pages 187
Language eng (iso)
Subject Social work
Disaster
Emergency management
Nordic counties
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/22061 Permalink to this page
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